Artichoke Pesto & Pasta, The Perfect Picnic Companions
Us musicians have an ongoing joke. As long as we’re sporting a guitar, “You’ll never have to go hungry, but you’ll have to work for your dinner.” Well that’s all fine if it gives me an excuse to jam out some Joplin for a bit, but when it comes to too much time in the kitchen that’s a hard pass! This artichoke pesto piled onto chilled pasta understands my lack of enthusiasm for too much time spent slaving at a stove on a hot day!
When it comes to picnic prep, let’s keep this simple! Here’s a few ground rules:
- If it’s got more than 10 ingredients- it starts to feel more like labor than love.
- Plants are power. Remember when Mario in super Mario brothers got his power from eating the mushrooms? It’s kinda like that (Except we unfortunately don’t have trendy red and green Italian hats). Get ready to get pumped for your daily adventure.
- Plants are easy. These ones don’t even have to be cooked (returns to jam session with all my newly acquired spare time)!
- Whole grains win. Maybe this didn’t save you any time specifically, but somewhere in food land it wasn’t required that energy be used to strip the bran and germ from the grain! Toss some in your artichoke pesto pasta salad. Immediately feel better about your life decisions!
Artichoke, A Labor of Love
Every plant has their own personality, and i’m not one to judge. But have you ever noticed how damn defiant an artichoke can be!
A labor of love that give such little quantity in return! Too often I find myself digging at the choke thinking aggressively “just get in the pot already!”
Artichoke connoisseurs, you get my drift! For this artichoke pesto we are cheating. No shame in a can on occasion. Unless of course you’re a rock star. In that case start chopping that artichoke right up!
Tell Me More About Canned Artichoke Hearts
First off, canned artichoke hearts are delicious and nutritious. They make the perfect addition to this pesto pasta salad.
While savory cooked artichoke hearts will always be my first love, canned are an easy, nutritious alternative.
Artichoke Hearts have some amazing superpowers including:
- High in fiber for digestive health, especially inulin.
- High in polyphenals which repair damaged cells, boost digestion and immune funcrion.
- High in folate which can aid in inflammation reduction.
- It’s got protein! and veggies with protein are super rad and filling.
- Low in calories
Did I mention they are SOOO SAVORY! I can’t imagine any better combination that an artichoke pesto sauce to smother your favorite pasta.
Count The Colors In Your Dish For Optimal Nutrition
I usually recommend folks consume at least 4 different colors of produce in a day for micronutrient variety. This pasta salad is a one stop shop.
Bold colors mean bold flavors AND a handful of micronutrients.
In this artichoke pesto pasta salad you’ll find a smorgasbord of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin A, quercetin (reducing heart disease risk and certain cancers) and capsanthin (A powerful antioxidant in red bell peppers).
The cool thing about most of the produce in this salad is they are freshly plucked from the grown, washed and tossed in the mixing bowl.
Fresh produce in many instances will retain more of its nutrients raw than
Pine Nuts Give a Creamy Kick to Your Pesto
I’ll be the first to admit , I’ve always been a little adverse of pine nuts. These tiny mortals of yummy with a high price tag always leave me wondering if I can’t make do with something else!
Pro tip here for this artichoke pesto- Another nut just won’t make do. The flavor and nutritional value well make up for its pine nuts high price line!
Plus did you know that pine nuts are actually the seeds of pine trees! They’re not really a “nut” at all!
I Love pine nuts because they are an excellent source of polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are sometimes challenging to find in plants, and are an excellent way to boost your immune system and fuel your brain!
The Power of Basil In Your Sauce
The best way to harvest your basil is to grow a beautiful flourishing plant in a pot or your own back yard.
Unfortunately for this pot of yummy, I happen to be a certifiable plant killer. Thus back to the drawing board (and grocery) it is for me!
Any tips for not murdering basil? Drop them in a line below! But for now, let’s get back to the facts!
- Low and behold, basil is yet another excellent source of plant Omega-3! This dish really has your brain cells covered!
- Vitamin A anyone? basil is packed with is! Healthy vision, immune function, and organ function.
- Source of calcium for bones and healthy organ function.
Tossing basil on just about anything will power up the flavor and the antioxidants!
A favorite treat of mine from pizzas to pestos.
Other Ways to Use Artichoke Pesto Sauce
This artichoke pesto sauce is definitely one of my new favorite kitchen friends! I’m seeing all the versatility emerge as I pull the mix together.
Other great ways I envision using artichoke pesto sauce:
- In a hot pasta (which of course I might toss in some sriracha because I love some spice!
- In an omelette
- As a pizza sauce
- On a Bagel
- Top on Grilled eggplant
- On your favorite vegan sammie
- On a quasadilla
The sky is really the limit when it comes to using this savory sauce. Don’t limit yourself to one dish!
This pasta also keeps awesome in the fridge for several days!
Summer Salad Combos
When the days are longer and packed with adventure its the perfect time to remember to nourish a bit more frequently.
What are your favorite summer goodies? Are there any fun ways you make them nutrient packed? Can we vary dressing options to include more plants or less fat?
Can we toss in a whole grained in place of a refined one? There are so many opportunities to optimize our nutrition by getting creative with our plates.
Drop a line below with your favorite nutrient packed dishes or variation of classic favorites.
Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
- medium pot
- mixing bowl
- 4 cups pasta
- 1 cup cherry tomato
- 1 can medium olives
- 3 whole bell peppers assorted colors
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 whole Avocado
pesto pasta sauce
- 2 cups basil
- 1.5 cups olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 can artichokes rinsed
- Cook Pasta. Chop veggies. Add ingredients in large dish.
- Blend all sauce ingredients in a high powered blender.
- Add artichoke pesto pasta sauce to pasta and veggies.