Creamy Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad
Creamy Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad- chilled pasta salad tossed with creamy basil hemp pesto, sundried tomatoes, and arugula. Packed with protein and omega-6 fatty acids thanks to hulled hemp seeds. Vegan, nut-free, oil-free and gluten-free.
Can we take a moment to stop and appreciate how amazing hemp seeds are?
I know the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people when they hear hemp is marijuana but don’t worry, they have nothing to do with that. Well at least in the sense that they won’t cause side effects like paranoia, munchies and forgetfulness. Hemp seeds are completely safe and legal, and they are packed full of nutrition.
So what makes these little seeds so amazing? Let’s take a look:
- They’re considered a complete protein as they contain all 20 amino acids, plus 9 essential amino acids that are bodies are unable to produce on their own
- 2 tablespoons offers up a whopping 5 grams of protein
- They’re a significant source of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
- Naturally low in carbohydrates
- Rich in minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron
I try eat at least a few tablespoons every day, whether it be sprinkled on my toast or blended in a smoothie. The flavor is slightly nutty yet mild enough that they blend well with pretty much anything.
In spirit of the warmer weather approaching us, I wanted to make a chilled pasta salad that was light and full of flavor. Hemp seeds make a perfect base for the pesto because they have a naturally creamy texture that eliminates the need for nuts or oil.
The pesto is slightly tangy thanks to lemon juice with a touch of white vinegar and the sundried tomatoes offer a little hint of sweetness along with the fresh arugula for texture.
Served with whole grain (or gluten-free) pasta, it makes for a healthful lunch or a side item to bring to a spring or summer picnic. Cheers to warmer weather, friends!
Creamy Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad
Yield: 8 servings (approx. 8 cups)
Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 15
Total Time: 25
- 1 and 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Seed Hearts
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup packed basil leaves (approx. 20 leaves)
- 1-2 garlic cloves*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sundried tomatoes**
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta of choice (gluten-free or whole-grain)
- 2 cups arugula
In a large pot, cook pasta as directed on package.
Meanwhile make the pesto by combining 1 and 1/2 cups hemp seed hearts, juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 1-2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a blender or a food processor then blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides in between blending.
Strain the cooked pasta then rinse with cold water. Shake the excess water off then add it back to the pot along with the pesto and stir until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Add the sundried tomatoes and the arugula to the pot and toss everything together. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
*If you are sensitive to the flavor of fresh garlic, only use one clove.
**I prefer to use sundried tomatoes that are not marinated in oil for this recipe, such as Trader Joe’s brand.
Did you try this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment below or sharing a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #makingthymeforhealth. I love hearing your feedback!
This post was created in partnership with a brand that I have used and loved for years, Bob’s Red Mill. As always, all opinions and text are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make it possible for me to bring you quality content. For more delicious recipes and a coupon for $1.00 off any product, please visit Bob’sRedMill.com.
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This hemp pesto is gorgeous! I love hemp seeds, but since I rarely use them as anything but topping, I’ve just been focusing on working my way through my bags of chia and flaxseed- now that I have a new way to use hemp, I’ll be finally buying some for sure! Pinning :)
They are so versatile! You can use them to make milk too. All you have to do is add water. :)
All of the protein, none of the paranoia? Sign me up! ;) This is definitely my ideal pasta salad – pesto + sun-dried tomatoes are life! Loving the fact that you added hemp seeds to the pesto sauce for a super nutrient infusion! :D
I LOVE that you added hemp seeds to the sauce. They’re my favorite little nuts. This is genius!
Yummm! I love making hemp pesto. I just made some hemp kale pesto that’s in my fridge. I need to pick up some arugula and make this pasta, mmmm!
Hemp kale pesto sounds delicious!
I’ve never used hemp hearts and you’ve got me convinced that I need to, Sarah! That pesto looks so insanely creamy and pesto pasta is one of my major weaknesses. This looks like the perfect summer side!
This looks so perfect! Hemp seeds (and all the omegas that come with them) have really been a saviour for me as far as my eczema goes, but I’ve mostly been tossing them into my oats or smoothies. I love the idea of putting them in a savoury pasta dish… and you’re basically a genius with the sauces!
I didn’t even think about the fact that they could help with eczema. That’s awesome!
I love hemp seeds but usually just put them in my morning smoothie! This is a much more creative way to put them to use! And it sounds fantastic!
LOVE hemp seeds but I’ve never thought to make hemp pesto. THIS LOOKS SO GOOD. Also, your photos are looking extra crisp and pretty lately. I mean, they’re always pretty, but EXTRA pretty :)
Aw, thanks lady! <3
YAY for hemp seeds, I just posted a recipe with them today as well! I love the sound of this pasta salad. Pinning it now, and will definitely be trying it soon!
Oh, I love this pasta salad!! I’ve been eating tons of hemp seeds lately too and they are so great to throw into pretty much everything! And that green pesto sauce on the pasta is just gorgeous! I’m all about the cold food these days too :)
I feel you- it was close to 90 degrees today! All I want is something cold. :)
Hemp pesto sounds amazing!! Your dishes are always so good, I wish you’d come cook for me ;)
This just screams summer to me! I love how hemp seeds get so creamy – this pesto looks awesome!
This looks phenomenal! I have been loving hemp hearts sprinkled on everything lately. Would it work to make this whole batch, then freeze it in ice cube trays? Thanks!
Hi Meg! I haven’t tried freezing it myself so I can’t say for sure if it will work but it’s definitely worth a shot. Please let me know if you give it a try!
So very delicious and creamy! And, it only got better since it has basil and sun dried tomatoes. Yum, yum, yum. We did add extra basil and some fresh cherry tomatoes since we had both in the garden. This was a such quick lunch.
Yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Jon. Thanks for the feedback! :)
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