Penne with Basil Cashew pesto, Asparagus and Red Bell pepper!(Vegan)

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Pictured above with broccoli and tomatoes. Pictured below with red bell pepper, asparagus and tomatoes.

I got a bunch of organic basil the other day and was thinking of ways to use it up.. Well, whats better than some fresh basil pesto sauce in pasta!

The pesto is Vegan with cashews. Pesto usually has parmesan cheese in it, but try this vegan one and you will not miss the cheese!. I used asparagus and red bell pepper as the vegetable additions. You can try some other veggies as well.

Below pic, some fresh hot pasta on hubbs home office desk!

  • 1 cup penne cooked according to instructions
  • 7-8 asparagus spears halved.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper sliced into rings
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • chopped tomatoes for garnish.
  • For the basil cashew pesto
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew
  • olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 green chili or dried red chili pepper ( we like a bit of spice.)
  • salt to taste
  1. For the pesto, wash the basil and add to blender and blend for a minute
  2. In a small pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Keep at low heat and add garlic cloves and green chili. Let cook for a minute.
  3. Add in the cashews and let cook for another minute or 2.
  4. Add this mixture to the blender and blend. Keep adding olive oil to get a smooth paste. My blender always gets me a coarse paste, so I added a little water as well, since I was going to use up the pesto within the week, or freeze it in ice cubes! Adjust chilis, garlic and basil by taste. This pesto is very forgiving, so play with it!. For basil mint pesto, I use about half cup mint.
  5. In a large pan, add regular oil and the halved/sliced asparagus(for quicker cooking) and saute for 5-8 minutes on medium low heat.
  6. Add in the garlic and red bell pepper rings and olive oil and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add in the cooked penne or any pasta of choice and pesto and mix well.
  8. Adjust for salt and pepper. We needed just a teeny bit of salt.
  9. Let cook for a minute.
  10. Serve hot topped with fresh chopped tomatoes!

Yumm Yumm!


  1. just curious - what is written on the paper below the plate that has a fork ?

    Btw thanks for the super recipe - have tweeted it in my twitter account and Saurabh is all set to buy the ingredients :)


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Hi! I am Richa. I love to whip up plant-based meals which make me and hubbs swoon and not miss any animal or animal products in them. Find out more About Me here.

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