Flavorful pea pesto is a new twist on an Italian classic. Hot pasta is tossed with vibrantly colored pesto and dotted with creamy pillows of ricotta cheese creating a quick to make family-friendly meal.
The addition of peas lends a creaminess that eliminates the need for excess olive oil and fresh basil and mint add tons of flavor. While a food processor makes this untraditional pesto a breeze to whip up, feel free to keep it old school with a mortar and pestle.
1 cup of green peas contains more protein than an egg and more fiber than 2 large apples!
Get your kids involved! You may be surprised by their eagerness to help. Participating in food preparation increases kids’ willingness to try new foods and is a great opportunity for quality time. It is also an excellent way to practice reading and math skills.
- Read the recipe aloud
- Measure the peas
- Peel the garlic
- Pick the basil and mint leaves from the stem
- Juice the lemon
- Mix the ricotta
- Spoon the ricotta onto the pasta
Tip for the cook:
Choose pasta that is whole wheat, high fiber or high protein to keep it even healthier!
Canned peas are a quick and easy substitute for frozen. Be sure to look for cans that say no salt added and drain well.
|1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese|
|1 large lemon|
|2 cups green peas, frozen|
|12oz rotini or fusilli pasta, dry|
|1 packed cup fresh basil leaves|
|½ cup fresh mint leaves|
|2 garlic cloves|
|2 tablespoons olive oil|
|Optional: extra basil leaves for garnish|
- Zest ½ of the lemon and measure 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Reserve the rest of the lemon for the pesto. In a small bowl combine the ricotta, lemon zest and teaspoon of lemon juice. Set aside until pasta is ready to serve or cover and refrigerate if not immediately proceeding.
- Cook peas according to package directions. Immediately rinse cooked peas with cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the peas bright green. Drain well, reserve ½ cup of peas and add the rest to the bowl of a food processor.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Drain pasta and return to the pot.
- While pasta is cooking, make the pesto. Add basil, mint, garlic and olive oil to the peas in the bowl of the food processor. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice from the reserved lemon and add to the other ingredients. Process ingredients until completely smooth, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed.
- Add pesto to the drained hot pasta. Gently stir to combine. If needed, add cooking water to the pasta 1 tablespoon at a time to slightly thin the sauce.
- Stir reserved peas into pasta and season to taste with extra lemon juice, pepper and salt. Pour pasta into a serving bowl, dollop ricotta over the pasta and garnish with extra basil leaves. Serve hot.
|Calories||297||Total Fat||5 g|
|Saturated Fat||1 g||Monounsaturated Fat||3 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||1 g||Trans Fat||0 g|
|Cholesterol||3 mg||Sodium||93 mg|
|Potassium||123 mg||Total Carbohydrate||52 g|
|Dietary Fiber||9 g||Sugars||6 g|