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Spaghetti with Pesto and Veggies


Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thin spaghetti
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 pint red cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup heaping mozzarella ~8 ounces
  • 1 cup black olives
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Basil Pesto

  • 2 and 1/2 cups packed basil separated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts walnuts also work
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil separated
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2-2/3 cup Zesty Italian Dressing I use fat-free
  • Optional: fresh lemon

Instructions

  1. Boil the spaghetti until al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile prep the veggies: remove the skin and pit of the avocado and chop into small pieces.
  3. Halve the red and yellow cherry tomatoes.
  4. Cube the mozzarella into small cubes. Slice the black olives.
  5. Drain the spaghetti and rinse in cold water.
  6. Place the spaghetti in a large bowl and toss with the red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  7. Add in all the veggies.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. In a food processor or blender, add 2 cups very tightly packed basil, garlic, and pine nuts or walnuts. Pulse until chopped.
  9. Add 2/3 cup olive oil and pulse until JUST smooth. Don't over mix or it can sometimes become bitter.
  10. Stir in the Parmesan cheese (don't pulse it in) and taste. Season with salt and pepper and a few squeezes of lemon if desired.
  11. Toss the basil pesto with the spaghetti salad. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Ribbon the remaining 1/2 cup basil and toss with salad.
  12. You can definitely leave the salad at this point, but we love to toss the salad with some Zesty Italian dressing (might sound weird but seriously SO good). This is pretty much just to taste or consistency that we like. If you aren't going to add in the dressing you may need a little bit extra olive oil to smooth everything together.
  13. Enjoy with a drizzle of fresh lemon if desired.