This easy vegan salad boasts a creamy pea pesto with parsley, mint, pine nuts, and lemon. Perfect for make-ahead lunches and potlucks.
1 (12-ounce) box fusilli pasta (white, whole wheat, or brown rice pasta are all great)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen peas, thawed (about 2-1/2 cups), divided
1 cup fresh parsley, loosely packed
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
2 medium cloves garlic
1 large lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and add to a large bowl. Let cool.
While the pasta is cooking, toast the pine nuts. Place them in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Zest the lemon. Reserve zest for garnish. Set the lemon and zest aside. (You’ll top the finished pasta with the zest and use the juice for the pesto).
Make the pesto. To the pitcher of a blender, add 1/3 cup of the toasted pine nuts, 1-1/2 cups peas, parsley, mint, garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice from the lemon you just zested, salt, and 1/3 cup olive oil. Puree until relatively smooth, adding more olive oil if necessary until the pesto is a saucy consistency. Taste and add additional salt and lemon juice if desired.
Pour the pesto over the pasta that’s already in the bowl. Add the remaining peas. Toss gently until the pasta is coated and the peas are distributed. Garnish with remaining pine nuts, lemon zest, and a few sprigs of parsley and mint if desired. Serve.
Can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 48 hours.