Last weekend I attended yet another potluck dinner. Something about the summer just screams “potluck,” I guess. For this one, I threw together not one but two pesto pasta salads: a regular one made with semolina pasta and olive oil, to share with the crowd, and a fat-free, healthier version made with whole wheat pasta for myself.
I’m going to be honest with you. I tasted both, and the white pasta/olive oil version was better. Part of the blame for that goes to the whole wheat pasta I used in the oil-free version. The quality of whole wheat pasta varies widely from brand to brand, and the brand I used this time tasted like tough, damp cardboard. The pesto sauce itself was good. I used canned artichokes to replace the olive oil and omitted the nuts I normally use, and though I think blending a quarter cup of nuts into the sauce would have made it richer and more flavorful, it was still pretty tasty for such a light pesto. But, for an oil-free pesto that’s really outstanding, I have to recommend either the Asparagus Pesto Pasta Salad that I blogged about last month or my creamy Pesto Pasta Salad that’s based on silken tofu.
Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 cup basil, packed
- 1 can quartered artichoke hearts (packed in water)
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp. vegetable broth
- 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
- salt, to taste
- 8 ounces whole wheat pasta, cooked
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
- Place the basil and 3 artichoke hearts (12 quarters) in a food processor, and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, and lemon juice, and process until it becomes a thick paste. Add salt to taste.
- In a serving bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the pesto and blend well. Add the remaining artichoke hearts, the tomato, and the pine nuts and toss. Serve at room temperature.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Per serving (with pinenuts): Calories (kcal); 6 g Total Fat; (13% calories from fat); 19 g Protein; 70 g Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 116 mg Sodium; 19 g Fiber.
Without pinenuts: 318 Calories (kcal); 2 g Total Fat; (4% calories from fat); 17 g Protein; 69 g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 116 mg Sodium; 19 g Fiber.