One of my favourite ever lunch choices used to be a pesto pasta salad from Marks & Spencers. Made with pesto, pine nuts, parmesan, spinach and a TON of olive oil – it wasn’t very healthy but it was damn delicious. So I’ve decided to recreate that deliciousness in vegan, gluten-free and low-fat form!
You can find my recipe for low-fat pesto here. It’s much thicker than ordinary pesto, making it great as a spread for sandwiches but makes it a little more tricky to use as a sauce. To get around this, I mix it with a little bit of boiled water to help thin it out and coat the pasta more evenly. Of course, you can eat this pasta dish straight from the hob for a hot lunch or dinner but it is delicious served cold as a salad too.
This pasta salad is:
- Delicious served both hot and cold – perfect for packed lunches and picnics!
- Very easy to make gluten-free
- Low fat (Only 4g per serving, compared to 21g in the M&S version)
- High in protein – healthy plant-based proteins give this dish 10g per serving
- 150 g uncooked fusilli pasta, use gluten-free pasta, if needed
- 4 tbsp low-fat pesto
- A large bunch of spinach
- Optional extras Assorted cooked green vegetables, pine nuts, black pepper
- Cook the fusilli according to the packet's instructions. When using in a salad, I like to overcook the pasta slightly so that when it's cooled it doesn't become too firm.
- Remove from the heat and add the spinach to the pot, allowing it to wilt for a minute.
- Drain the pasta and reserve a little bit of the hot water. Add the pasta back to the pan and add the pesto with a small amount of the reserved water, adding more if needed until the pesto is easy to mix.
- Add any optional extras such as pine nuts, cooked green veggies and some black pepper.
- Serve straight away or chill in the fridge and serve as a chilled salad. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340 Carbohydrates: 66g Fiber: 4g Protein: 10g