I’m writing this on one of those perfect summer days in NYC that we sometimes get in June, before the weather gets too hot and muggy and the thunderstorms take over. I am, in fact, writing this at a picnic table in a tiny park in the middle of my neighborhood and I’d be remiss not to comment on just how lovely it is to feel the sun warming my skin and be breathing in the fresh air. It never fails to amaze me how just a little bit of outdoor time can completely change my mood—and how it’s still so hard for me to prioritize it, regardless.
Speaking of summer—this might just be the perfect summer pasta, although frankly, it’d be delightful any time of year, mostly because it’s so gosh darn easy to make. We didn’t always make pestos in a food processor (in fact, the term comes from the Italian ‘pestare’, to pound or crush, usually in a mortar and pestle) but the little appliance has opened up a world of possibility and ease. This pesto relies on a jar of sun dried tomatoes, which are rich in lycopene (so good for fighting inflammation in summer skin, especially cooked), some raw garlic (perfect for boosting the immune system) and the secret, protein-packed ingredient: hemp seeds, or hulled hemp hearts.
Meet the secret protein-packed ingredient: hemp hearts
Here, the hemp takes the place of both the cheese (rendering the final results vegan) and the nut, yielding a super creamy result that’s rich in Omega-3s and has a beautiful, toasty flavor and robust texture. Hemp hearts also boast 11 grams of complete protein (meaning it contains all of the amino acids) per 3 tablespoon serving. This is a great way to have your pasta and eat it too, avoiding the blood sugar spike and slump that often accompanies the Italian meal.
In less than 15 minutes, you can have a delicious, protein-packed, anti-inflammatory dinner on the table. Make sure to tag me on Instagram (@lizmoody) if you make it, so I can see and share!Print
- 3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds (I buy this brand online)
- 1 8.5 ounce jar of sun dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil (check to make sure it’s not canola oil, which is high in Omega 6s and really inflammatory)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt + more for pasta water
- 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence (I like this brand)
- 2 servings uncooked pasta of choice (use gluten-free if desired)
- Fresh basil, to garnish
- High quality extra virgin olive oil (I like this brand), to garnish
- In a large pot, bring a generous amount of water to boil. Add a small palmful of fine grain sea salt and the pasta, and cook according to package instructions.
- Cook pasta until just al dente, then fill a liquid measuring cup or mug with about one cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta; do not rinse. Return it to the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the garlic, hemp seeds, tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and herbs de Provence to a food processor. Process until smooth, with a bit of texture.
- Add the sundried tomato pesto to pasta in pan, then, a little bit at at time, add the reserved pasta water, stirring until you have a silky sauce.
- Serve topped with torn fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
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