This Pea Pesto Rotini with roasted carrots is a beautiful spring pasta dish that comes together in a flash, making it a perfect veggie-filled weeknight meal!
Today I’m sharing a pasta dish that is packed with so much seasonal springtime goodness (peas, carrots, fresh basil, oh my!), and what I like even better about it is how quickly it comes together.
This Vegan Pea Pesto Pasta Recipe with Roasted Carrots is one of those meals you can make in under 30 minutes.
So it’s the ideal dinner after a long, exhausting day at work when all you want is a big bowl of carbs to Netflix and chill with.
Let me walk you through how incredibly easy this Vegan Pea Pesto Rotini recipe is:
First toss a few large rainbow carrots with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and roast them in the oven.
This easy vegan pasta recipe will only take about 20 minutes, and the rest of the dish comes together in the meantime.
While the carrots are roasting we will make a beautiful vegan pea pesto sauce in a blender or food processor and boil the pasta.
I recommend reserving a bit of the starchy pasta water as this will come in handy when tossing the pasta with the pea pesto.
By this point, your carrots should be done cooking, so they can be added to a pot with the drained pasta along with the pea pesto sauce.
Toss everything together until the sauce coats the pasta. You’re almost done! Wasn’t that a cinch?
The only thing left to do is serve yourself a bowl and top it with whatever you please.
I personally like to add some fresh basil leaves and a few blanched sugar snap peas. Edible flowers are certainly optional but oh so pretty!
Chef’s Tips for making pea pesto:
- When you start blending the pesto, it will look as if it needs more liquid to come together. However, start by scraping down the sides and keep on blending. Only add more liquid if really needed at this point.
- When washing your herbs, use cold water, not warm. Warm water will wilt your basil. Dry your herbs in a salad spinner or between layers of kitchen towel.
- Choose an olive oil that you like the flavor of on its own. This is how I test olive oil: Pour the olive oil onto a plate, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and then dip in some white bread.
- Whichever nut you choose in your vegan pesto recipe, make sure you toast them first. Get out a small heavy bottom pan, add your nuts, put it over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until you can smell them.
Variations on this recipe:
- If desired, substitute the pine nuts for cheaper nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds.
- You can substitute some of the basil with parsley.
- I top my pasta with fresh basil leaves and blanched sugar snap peas. Edible flowers are certainly optional but oh so pretty!
How can I keep my vegan pea pesto from turning brown?
Pour a layer of olive oil on top of your pesto to prevent air from entering and oxidizing it. Alternatively, you can press cling film right onto the top of the pesto jar. Then seal the container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
How shall I store homemade pesto?
You can store your pea pesto in the fridge (see above).
Pesto also freezes beautifully. If you have enough ice cube trays just fill some trays with pesto and freeze.
If you make this simple spring pasta recipe at home I’d love to see! Snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #LePetitEats!
Pea Pesto Rotini with Roasted Carrots
Pea Pesto Rotini with roasted carrots and basil is a fantastic spring pasta dish that comes together in a flash, making it a perfect veggie packed weeknight meal!
For the Pasta:
- 3-4 rainbow carrots
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound rotini pasta egg-free for vegan
For the Pea Pesto:
- 1 cup fresh peas, blanched and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups packed basil
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 medium lemon juiced
- 1 pinch salt plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss carrots with olive oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and boil until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving up to 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water.
Meanwhile, add basil, peas, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and salt to a food processor. Blend to combine. While the machine is running, stream in olive oil through the spout.
Continue blending, scraping down sides as needed, until smooth. Add a bit more olive oil or water if necessary to make blending easier. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Toss cooked pasta with roasted carrots and pea pesto sauce, adding a bit of pasta water if desired to thin out the sauce.
When you start blending the pesto, it will look as if it needs more liquid to come together.
However, start by scraping down the sides and keep on blending. Only add more liquid if really needed at this point.
When washing your herbs, use cold water, not warm. Warm water will wilt them. Dry them well in a salad spinner or between layers of kitchen towel.
Whichever nut you choose in your vegan pesto recipe, make sure you toast them first. Get out a small heavy bottom pan, add your nuts, put it over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until you can smell them.
This post was originally published on May 10, 2016, and last updated on May 11, 2019.