I love a simple, fresh recipe that only takes a few minutes to prepare. And the more vegetables it has, the better! This recipe for Penne Pasta and Green Beans with Spinach-Walnut Pesto is easy to prepare and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes. The pesto I use here is homemade, featuring walnuts and spinach as flavor enhancers (and nutrient boosters) to the fresh basil.
The spinach-walnut pesto can be made quickly in the food processor while the pasta is boiling. Once the pasta and green beans are done cooking, they get drained and tossed with the prepared pesto while they are still hot. If your pesto comes out too thick, just thin the pasta-pesto mixture with some of the cooking water reserved from boiling the noodles. Any extra spinach-walnut pesto can be frozen to use another time.
Which Pasta to Choose?
Choose any pasta that you like, a penne-type shape works best here because you will cut the green beans to about the same size. My favorite pasta to use is the Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Penne Pasta. Tinkyada makes several brown rice pastas, they are gluten free and organic.
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbs Parmesan cheese
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 pound penne pasta
- 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- For the pesto: place the walnuts, spinach, basil, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the olive oil and pulse until blended and creamy. Stir in the Parmesan and salt & pepper to taste.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When there is 4 minutes left of the cooking time, add the cut green beans to the same pot.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
- Return the pasta and beans to the pot, and toss them with the pesto. If the mixture seems too thick, add the reserved cooking water, a tablespoon at a time, until the pesto sauce coats the pasta and beans.
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