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A plate of pesto pasta on a wooden backdrop with pine nuts sprinkled on the side.

Easy Pesto Pasta

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
This {20 Minute} Easy Pesto Pasta is a simple dish that can be whipped up on a busy weeknight with very little effort! Choose your favorite type of pasta, and mix it in with a cheesy, nutty, herb-filled pesto sauce.


  • Food Processor


  • 8 ounces Orecchiette (or corkscrew) pasta - gluten-free if desired
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups packed baby arugula (or regular arugula)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil - optional
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk or water

Additional Toppings (optional):

  • cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • sliced cherry tomatoes


  • In a large pot, cook the pasta noodles in salted water according to instructions on package, to al dente. Drain completely and set aside in a large bowl.
    A stainless steel bowl filled with orecchiette cooked pasta.
  • In a food processor, add the pine nuts, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Process until blended into very fine pieces.
    2 photos showing a food processor with pine nuts, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and the second shot showing it blended together.
  • Add the arugula, basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and unsweetened almond milk/water. Blend until smooth. You may need to stop blending and scrape down the sides with a spatula and re-blend, to make sure all ingredients are blended thoroughly.
    2 photos in a food processor showing arugula and pesto pasta ingredients added, and another shot showing it blended together.
  • Add pesto to pasta and stir gently to combine. Note: if not serving immediately, you may want to store the sauce and noodles separate until serving. See "Storage Instructions" below.
    2 photos showing a stainless steel bowl filled with pasta and sauce, and the second photo showing it blended together.
  • If desired, top with additional toppings such as fresh cherry tomatoes, cayenne pepper, or additional sea salt, black pepper or nutritional yeast, to taste.

Storage Instructions:

  • It's recommended to serve this pasta immediately. Or, you can store the sauce and pasta noodles separately in the fridge, in airtight containers, for up to a few days.
    If you do combine the sauce and pasta and need to store it for later, it may lose a little flavor as it sits (as the sauce soaks into the noodles). But honestly, it's still good either way!
    And you can easily spruce up your leftovers by adding a dash of sea salt, cayenne, or a bit of lemon juice before serving.



  • This recipe makes 1 cup sauce. Mixed in with 8 ounces of cooked orecchiette, it makes about 3 cups total. The serving size may vary slightly with different pasta noodles. Double the recipe for a crowd. 
  • Orecchiette pasta are the noodles seen in the photos above. If you can't find it, any pasta noodle will do, especially bite-sized noodles like penne, macaroni, cavatappi, or even angel hair. 
  • Use toasted pine nuts for this recipe. You can buy them pre-toasted, or toast them yourself by heating them in a dry sauté pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. They cook quick so as soon as they start to brown, remove them from the pan. If you don't have pine nuts on hand, you can replace with raw cashews, almonds, walnuts or even hazelnuts. It will change the flavor slightly.
  • Fresh basil is always best. This recipe won't work with dried basil so make sure you have fresh.
  • If you are oil-free, feel free to omit the oil. You'll hardly miss it!


Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.3g | Protein: 12.7g | Fat: 16.9g | Sodium: 324mg | Sugar: 3.5g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @veggie__chick or tag #veggiechick