This simple arugula pesto basted with blistered tomatoes makes a perfect easy summer dinner or picnic salad.

Simple summer pasta with arugula pesto, crunchy sunflower seeds, and golden roasted tomatoes. Dinner in under 30

Last week on Instagram I asked people if they'd share the type of recipes they'd like to see more of on this space. An overwhelming amount of responders said they wanted to see more meals that were

  1.  whole-food and plant-based main courses
  2.  easy/fast to put together
  3.  and surprisingly enough for me, pasta dishes

When I think summer and pasta, I can't help but think arugula pesto. Bowls full of homegrown basil were puréed summer after summer into pesto that would supply our family all winter long. My mum's version of pesto was always a little too healthy for me (little salt, little oil, and no nuts) but packed with a flavour that can't be beat.

Paired with ripe roasted tomatoes, and a good dose of olive oil, arugula pesto is the essential flavour of summer. This version takes some creative liberty (much like my mums). It swaps the typical (and costly) pine nuts for sunflower seeds, making this dish a nice nut-free option. Pairing the basil with arugula is another way to keep the cost down (as fresh basil can be pricey) and is also a great way to use up any greens you have that might be past their prime.

Simple summer pasta with arugula pesto, crunchy sunflower seeds, and golden roasted tomatoes. Dinner in under 30

What I love most about this dish is how easy and forgiving it is. If you time yourself right, the entire thing can be ready in about 30 minutes, which means you'll have that much more time to spend outside enjoying the fleeting last few weeks of summer.

I tossed in extra arugula to bulk up the veggie factor. But jarred artichokes, chopped roasted or fresh red peppers, or even blanched green beans would all be delicious. It's basically a blank slate for your creativity, and what's in your fridge at that exact moment.

Another reason why I love these kinds of dishes come summer is that it doesn't need to be served hot! Actually, I prefer this type of pasta eaten room temperature as a salad (or even chilled).

Because there isn't anything that will spoil super fast, a dish like this is great to prepare earlier for a potluck, to take to the beach, or to bring along on a picnic.

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Ingredients

  • Pasta (I love this brand)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Arugula
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Lemon
  • Chili flakes
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Dried basil
  • Dried thyme
Simple summer pasta with arugula pesto, crunchy sunflower seeds, and golden roasted tomatoes. Dinner in under 30

Method

Begin by heating the oven to 180° C (350°). Spread out your tomatoes on a parchment lined pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Roast for 25-30 minutes.

Simple summer pasta with arugula pesto, crunchy sunflower seeds, and golden roasted tomatoes. Dinner in under 30

In the meantime, get a pot of water ready for the pasta. Put in on the stove as it will take a while to come to the boil.

Next, add all of the crumble mixture to a food processor or high-speed blender and blitz until it resembles that powdered parma. Add crumble to a bowl and set aside.

Simple summer pasta with arugula pesto, crunchy sunflower seeds, and golden roasted tomatoes. Dinner in under 30

In the same blender or food processor, add all the arugula pesto ingredients (of you're using a blender you'll end up with a more pureed mix, which is still fine) and puree until combined. I like mine with some super small bits of seeds left.

Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta (and hopefully time it so that it's done when the tomatoes will be ready). I used an organic wheat pasta, but gluten-free, or bean-based pasta would be great too.

Simple summer pasta with arugula pesto, crunchy sunflower seeds, and golden roasted tomatoes. Dinner in under 30

By this point, everything should be near ready. Drain your cooked pasta and rinse with a little water so it doesn't stick together. Add the pasta to a bowl and stir in some arugula pesto until you have a nice coating (I used about ¾ of the mixture).

How much you use will all depend on the amount of pasta used and it's shaped, but you want it a little saucy. Stir in the roasted tomatoes followed by the handful of arugula, olives (if using), and extra basil leaves.

Toss together and sprinkle with the crumble mixture. More crumble can be added once it's served.

Recipe

Simple summer pasta with arugula pesto, crunchy sunflower seeds, and golden roasted tomatoes. Dinner in under 30
Print Recipe
4.50 from 6 votes

Arugula Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Parchment paper
  • Large pot
  • Food processor or high speed bender
  • Collender
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 300 grams pasta use a pasta of choice

Tomatoes

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes the smaller the better
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed

Arugula Pesto

  • 2 cups loosely packed basil
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Crumble

  • ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon chili flakes depends if you like spicy
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

To Serve

  • A couple of handfuls of arugula for serving
  • Few basil leaves torn
  • ¼ cup chopped olives optional

Instructions

  • Begin by heating the oven to 180° C (350°F). Spread out your tomatoes on a parchment lined pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Roast for 25-30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, get a large pot of water ready for the pasta. Put in on the stove as it will take a while to come to the boil.
  • Next, add all of the crumble mixture to a food processor or high-speed blender and blitz until it resembles that powdered parma. Add crumble to a bowl and set aside.
  • In the same blender or food processor, add all the pesto ingredients (of you're using a blender you'll end up with a more pureed mix, which is still fine) and puree until combined. I like mine with some super small bits of seeds left.
  • Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta (and hopefully time it so that it's done when the tomatoes will be ready). I used an organic wheat pasta, but gluten-free, or bean-based pasta would be great too.
  • By this point, everything should be near ready. Drain your cooked pasta and rinse with a little water so it doesn't stick together. Add the pasta to a bowl and stir in some pesto until you have a nice coating (I used about ¾ of the mixture). How much you use will all depend on the amount of pasta used and it's shaped, but you want it a little saucy. Stir in the roasted tomatoes followed by the handful of arugula, olives (if using), and extra basil leaves.
  • Toss together and sprinkle with the crumble mixture. More crumble can be added once it's served.

Other Pasta Recipes

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