If You Love Creamy Pasta, You'll Go Crazy for This Super-Clean Recipe

Updated 11/09/17
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Katie at the Kitchen Door

If there is one thing I’m certain of, it’s that my palate’s love of creamy pasta is at odds with my stomach’s distaste for both dairy and gluten. Give me a plate of spaghetti boscaiola and I will bloat to button-popping proportions faster than you can say, “where’s the garlic bread?” It’s this sad reality (plus a penchant for finding healthy substitutes for my favourite foods) that encouraged me to spend hours in the kitchen concocting a super-clean alternative to pesto pasta—a beloved indulgence.

A traditional pesto pasta was once high on my naughty list, but several kitchen experiments (and Pinterest deep dives) led me to discover what I believe is the perfect healthy alternative. It has all the flavour and none of the guilt or bloat. “How is that even possible?” I can almost hear you asking. Well, the secret lies in the addition of a couple of surprising ingredients. By subbing out cream for avocado and a head of broccoli, and replacing gluten-packed pasta with spiralised zucchini, I’ve come up with a delicious mid-week dinner that doesn’t cost a week’s rent in exotic ingredients. Better yet, the addition of vegetables both bulks up the nutritional content of your pasta and adds all-important flavour.

Keep scrolling for your new staple weeknight dinner.

Creamy Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Creamy Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Katie at the Kitchen Door


One large head of broccoli

One bunch of basil

Juice of half a lemon

Small handful of pine nuts

One large (or two small) avocados

One tbps. extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic (or more, to taste)

¼ cup grated parmesan (omit for a dairy-free sauce)

Extra parmesan, to serve

Sea salt and cracked pepper, to season

Pasta of choice (I use zucchini noodles, but gluten-free pasta works, too)

  1. Chop and steam broccoli until really soft.
  2. Let broccoli cool for 5 minutes, then add to food processor with all other ingredients, except pasta.
  3. Pulse until smooth and creamy. (Or less, if you’d prefer a chunky sauce.) Add a drizzle of water or oil to help it blend smoothly, if necessary.
  4. Boil your pasta as per packet instructions, or, if using zoodles, saute lightly in a frying pan.
  5. Add your pasta to sauce, and stir through. Return to stovetop to heat through, if needed.
  6. Serve with salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of extra parmesan.

Next up: Looking for more zoodle recipes? We love this delicious green tea version from Katie at the Kitchen Door. 

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