Creamy Avocado Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts

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1st plated avocado pasta

If you like avocados, we think you will love this easy to prepare summer pasta. It is our healthy version of creamy pasta but without the cream and butter! And it takes less than a half hour to prepare.  This rich and satisfying dish has lots of fresh basil with a hint of lemon and garlic. Avocados are so abundant right now and with all their amazing health benefits we are always happy to serve this dish to our family and friends.

ingredients avocado pastaMise en place.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 8.29.00 PMWe cut the avocado into cubes. This makes it easier to blend.

avocado sauce spread on pastaThe consistency of the blended avocado is smooth and creamy.

Creamy Avocado Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts
Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound thin spaghetti
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade-style
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 medium ripe avocados, halved, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and shake the pan occasionally, until they begin to brown and give off a nutty aroma, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the directions on the package. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice, olive oil, basil, garlic and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Process or blend until well incorporated. Add the avocado and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy. If the avocado sticks to the bottom of the blender, just loosen it with a wooden spoon and blend again.

Place the avocado mixture in a large serving bowl. Add the hot pasta and mix thoroughly to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta water, as desired, and mix well again.

Sprinkle with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

2nd plated avocado pasta crop

Mediterranean Cauliflower, Spinach, and Chickpea Patties

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Plated chickpea patties

Our chickpea patties have the added goodness of smashed cauliflower, giving them a wonderful light flavor and texture. Then we pack them with veggies like spinach, red pepper, and scallions, and add tasty Mediterranean herbs and spices, such as cumin, turmeric, and parsley. The end result—a great tasting dish, chock full of legume protein and nutritious vegetables.

chickpea patty prepThis recipe is quick and easy when you pre-prep all your veggies.

chickpea patty chopThe chopped vegetables, herbs, and spices are added to the smashed chickpeas and cauliflower.

uncooked chickpea pattyScoop up handfuls of the mixture and shape into patties, coating lightly with panko.

chickpea patties cookingCook the patties undisturbed until golden brown.

Mediterranean Cauliflower, Spinach, and Chickpea Patties
Serves 4 to 6

3 cups cauliflower florets, approximately 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup tightly packed frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
3/4 cup finely chopped red peppers
4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dressing or sauce of your choice (tahini**, salsa, spiced yogurt, etc.)

Place the cauliflower in a steamer basket and cook over medium-high heat until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and line a large platter, or another baking sheet, with wax paper.

Place the chickpeas into a large mixing bowl and using a potato masher or fork; mash the chickpeas until they are crushed. Add the cauliflower and mash again until the ingredients are well smashed (but not smooth.) Add the spinach, red peppers, scallions, garlic, and parsley and mix well. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and mix. Add the eggs and 1/2 cup of the panko, stirring to combine all the ingredients.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Take a handful of the chickpea mixture and shape into a patty approximately 1/2-inch thick. Coat lightly with the panko. Place the formed patty on the wax paper lined platter or baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chickpea mixture; you will have 8 to 10 patties.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place half the patties in the pan, and cook undisturbed until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the patties and cook until the second side is golden, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the patties to the parchment lined baking sheet. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towel, heat the remaining oil, and cook the remaining patties. Add these to the baking sheet, place it in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Transfer the patties to a platter, season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with the sauce passed separately.

Close up chickpea patty

**Poblano-Tahini Sauce
1/3 cup roughly chopped poblano pepper
1 clove garlic, quartered
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or the bowl of a food processor, and blend until smooth. (Add additional water to attain your desired consistency.) Set aside.

Poblano Tahini

 

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