Fresh Spinach Pasta with Roasted Carrot Almond Pesto

January 13, 2014

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It’s 13 days into the new year – are you still kicking strong with your new years resolutions? So far 2014 has not just been about being conscious of what I am eating but why I am eating it. Why is it so important to get that green smoothie in every morning? How is my body benefiting from consuming greens, carrots, greek yogurt, and honey? I recently picked up The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murry and can’t seem to put it down. It’s a hefty thing ranking in at a whopping 900 pages (Hey… it does warn you with the word ‘Encyclopedia’ in the title and is often times used as a textbook in holistic nutrition courses) but is brimming with wonderful food insight on every page. The bulk of the book is split up by specific foods and tells you the history, health benefits, research conducted on that food, and potential harmful effects of pretty much any whole food you can think of (spices, fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, etc).

 

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All this new found knowledge has gotten me really excited about eating whole foods. After a breakfast of avocado toast and blueberry oatmeal, I notice myself immediately running to the book to find out the benefits of avocados, oats, blueberries, maple syrup, and almonds (from the homemade almond milk). And then again after lunch. And after my afternoon snack. And so on.

 

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So, as you probably expected, I can’t wait to share all the wonderful benefits of this veggie-centric dish with you (but please remember, I am not a certified health expert of any sorts and all insight shared here is to merely share a few of the engaging health benefits outlined in Healing Foods).

Although pasta is not on the top of the list of healthy foods, making it from scratch eliminates any preservatives and additives that you would find in the store bought kind. I also tried to add a slightly healthier twist by throwing in some spinach which is chocked full of  lutein (promotes healthy eye sight), vitamin K, vitamin C, and iron (which is linked to improving the quality of our blood and restoring energy).

And then I topped the pasta with a garlicy carrot pesto and some roasted tomatoes. The benefits of garlic are absolutely obscene – it has far more pages dedicated to it than any other food I’ve read about so far. Not only is garlic packed with all sorts of vitamins (B6, vitamin C, potassium) but it has been linked to helping our bodies fight off infection (whether that be a cold or stomach virus or perhaps even more serious ailments like cancer). Carrot’s benefits are pretty well known with their very high sources of vitamin A and K along with fiber. And lastly, almonds are an excellent source of healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils), potassium, calcium, iron, and many other important nutrients.

Who knew eating so healthy could taste so delicious?!

 

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Fresh Spinach Pasta with Roasted Carrot Almond Pesto

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed and dried
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (you can substitue 3/4 of this for semolina flour, if you have it on hand, for a more authentic pasta)
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons of water (if needed)

 

  • 5 large carrots, washed and green parts removed (if still attached)
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 large (or 4 small) garlic cloves
  • ~ 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan (+more for serving)
  • tomatoes, for serving (optional)

 

In a food processor, pulse the spinach into a liquid. Add the egg and olive oil and pulse one more time. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour and salt. On a clean surface, make a mound with 1 1/2 cups of the flour mixture. Next, create a well in center of the mixture and pour the egg mixture into it. Use a fork and slowly combine the dry ingredients with wet by whisking the egg mixture and slowly bringing flour into it until the dough is no longer too sticky to touch (if the dough ends up too dry, then add a little water). Make sure the surface is still well floured and knead for eight to ten minutes.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap (or wax paper) and let rest for 20 minutes. Then follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your pasta make (or, alternatively, roll the dough out as thin as you can and use a pizza cutter to cut strips. Boil the pasta until al dante).

 

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To make the pesto: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat the carrots, garlic cloves (still whole), and tomatoes (if using) with 1 tablespoons olive oil and a little salt / pepper. Transfer your veggies to prepared baking sheet and cook for 15 to 25 minutes (depending on how large your veggies are) or until you are able to pierce the carrot easily with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Pulse together the carrots, garlic (peel before throwing in), lemon juice, almonds, parmesan, and a little salt / pepper until a thick pesto has formed. If too dry, add another tablespoon or so of olive oil.

Lather over fresh cooked pasta and serve alongside roasted tomatoes or a spinach salad.

 

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Side note: I usually double my pasta recipe when making it so that I can dry half of it for later (to dry: hang pasta (before you boil it) on a drying rack or over a chair overnight and then transfer to an airtight container. It will keep for up to 1 month). This time around, I dried the extra batch to send through the mail to a friend for her birthday (oh, how I wish I could have mailed her a cake! Ah well, this pasta will have to do for the time being).

 

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17 Comments

  • Reply molly yeh January 13, 2014 at 10:51 am

    ermygosh we are channeling the same foods right now… i just made a pesto that is almost identical to this one except instead of carrots, it has roasted peppers! almond + pesto = love. that is good to know about garlic!! i have a massive bag of cloves in my freezer (like MASSIVE) and i add it to evvvvverything.

    also also that red pot of yours is adorbs.

    • Reply Shellywest January 13, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      Yay thank you! I am so in love with my enamel red pot. I got it for Christmas and have used it at least once a day since!

  • Reply Sarah | The Sugar Hit January 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    LOVE hearing about all the benefits of different foods! I might have to track that book down, it sounds awesome. And this looks damn delicious, as always! Roasted carrots for the win.

    • Reply Shellywest January 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      DO IT! It’s such an inspiring read – has made me want to eat healthy way more than any diet fad ever has.

  • Reply Gabby @ the veggie nook January 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Wow, you never cease to amaze me! Fresh made pasta and a gorgeous, unique pesto. I am definitely trying that!

    I have a similar book called World’s Healthiest Foods. You can bet I do THE SAME THING. I’m totally looking into your book, because I can never have too many nutrition books!

  • Reply Maria | pink patisserie January 14, 2014 at 8:58 am

    What a gorgeous dish. Vibrant colors and amazing flavors! I’m so intrigued by the idea of a carrot pesto! Right up my alley. I’m so glad to hear that garlic is so amazingly good for you. I almost always add double the amount required in a recipe. I cannot get enough of it!

  • Reply Susan January 14, 2014 at 9:02 am

    How many portions does this make???

    • Reply Shellywest January 14, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      This serves 4 but feel free to double the recipe if you are interested in leftovers.

  • Reply Grace January 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Beautiful dish, styling, photos, everything! Love! I added that book to my amazon wish list – sounds deliciously informative. And hooray for garlic, I put that sh*t on everything.

    • Reply Shellywest January 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      As do I! 90% of savory dishes I make start with an onion and garlic.

  • Reply alixx January 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    beautiful beautiful!

  • Reply Linda January 14, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Lucky friend of yours! I would be delighted to receive homemade spinach pasta. I love the color yours turned out too – it’s so healthy looking! And the carrot pesto looks delicious.

    I think your mindfulness is so refreshing Shelly! It seems that January’s the time when everyone gets manic about weight loss, so it’s so cool to see that you’re thinking beyond calorie reduction and focusing on nutrition. I think that’s a way more sustainable philosophy than endless green smoothies. :)

  • Reply Stephanie January 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to try it out.

    Here is my latest adventure in cooking: Crostini with caramelized onions, gorgonzola, thyme and homemade fig jam.

    http://districtandmore.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/crostini/

  • Reply Nadine Joy Kurland January 21, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Pinterest button?

  • Reply Tracy Ross April 22, 2014 at 12:41 am

    I can’t wait to try this. It looks delicious. And you probably mean “al dente”

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