Meals in minutes: white bean pesto pasta

White Bean Pesto Pasta
Serves 6


8 ounces whole wheat penne, uncooked
1/4 cup basic basil pesto (Recipe below)
1 (15 ounce) can cannelloni or white northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons parmesan, shredded


Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts, and toast 3 to 4 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to plate, and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and return to pan.
Mix in pesto, tomatoes, and beans. Serve with a tablespoon of walnuts and 1/2 tablespoon of parmesan per serving.

Basic Basil Pesto


1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, (1-2 bunches)
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts, toasted (See tip below)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 large clove garlic, quartered
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Place basil, spinach, toasted pine nuts or walnuts, parmesan, oil, water, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse a few times, then process until fairly smooth, or to the desired consistency, scraping down the sides occasionally. Serve with cooked whole wheat pasta.

To toast nuts on the stovetop, heat a large dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the nuts and stir often. When they are fragrant with a light-brown color, remove from the heat. This should only take a few minutes. Let nuts cool on a plate or paper towels before using.