Sun-dried Tomato Pasta with Creamy Avocado Pesto
Our garden has been exploding with fresh basil all summer. We're always adding it to recipes, topping salads, pastas, and sandwiches, and, in this case, creating delicious sauces.
I am always looking for light, quick, easy, cheap, and delicious recipes to make at home. As much as we love checking out new restaurants, it's not always the best choice for our bodies or wallets. This creamy avocado pesto is super satisfying, quick (the sauce takes just 3 minutes!) and a delicious addition to any pasta dish.
Start by preparing all the veggies and slicing the chicken sausage. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil - we're going to cook the pasta most of the way before adding the sauce.
To make the sauce, add avocado, oil, lemon juice, salt pepper, fresh basil, baby spinach, and water to a blender. We have a bullet blender which works perfect for this volume. If you have a standard blender or immersion blender, that will work fine too. The avocado makes the sauce very thick and creamy - I recommend adding water a few tablespoons at a time, to get the consistency that you want.
Once the sauce is complete, cut the white and light green portions of the scallions, slice the sun-dried tomatoes into thin strips (re-hydrate them first if using the dry-packed variety), mince the garlic, and thinly slice the chicken sausage into medallions. I used a sun-dried tomato and mozzarella flavor of chicken sausage but any variety of Italian sausage will work for this recipe. I chose chicken sausage for this recipe since it is healthier than an Italian pork sausage but still browns nicely and provides additional sun-dried tomato flavor to the recipe. Of course, you can use a vegan substitute or leave the sausage out entirely to make this meal vegan/vegetarian friendly.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. When hot, add the scallions and chicken sausage, being sure to allow the sausage to sear (avoid stirring too much). After a few minutes, add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Use a bit of pasta water to deglaze the pan as needed.
After the pasta has cooked for 8-10 minutes, it should be very al dente, add it to the sausage/tomato mixture. A slight toughness/bite is good - the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce and my least favorite thing is over-cooked pasta. Add the creamy avocado pesto and stir everything to combine.
Serve immediately with the green portions of the scallions, more fresh basil, parmesan, and cracked black pepper. Want to keep this recipe vegan? Skip the chicken sausage and parmesan cheese. Check out the ingredients list below for amounts and substitutions.
Recipe Details // Ingredients & Steps
Creamy Avocado Pesto
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup baby spinach
1 medium avocado
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp of water + more to adjust sauce consistency as needed
Sun-dried Tomato Pasta
1 lb of pasta (use GF pasta to keep this recipe gluten free)
4 sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips
4 chicken sausage links (Italian flavor or omit entirely)
2 scallions, sliced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, fresh basil, parmesan cheese to top
Cook the pasta to package instructions
Prepare the avocado pesto sauce in a blender. Combine all ingredients in a blender, add water as needed to thin the sauce.
In a sautee pan, heat oil at medium heat. Add white and light green portions of the scallions and sliced chicken sausage to the pan. Sear both sides of the sausage for 5-10 minutes until crispy and golden.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Cook for just a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Deglaze the pan with pasta water as needed to avoid burning.
Once the pasta is a very firm al dente, add it to the sautee pan and add the avocado pesto.
Stir everything to combine and heat through, adding a bit of pasta water as needed.
Serve immediately with green portions of the scallions, more fresh basil, fresh cracked black pepper and parmesan. ENJOY!
Is your garden overflowing with any ingredients this summer? What are your favorite basil-forward recipes? Let us know in the comments below!