As you guys know, I am a huge fan of the Dole brand, so when they asked me to create a healthy recipe using leeks for their Nutrition Newsletter (sign up) I dove into my kitchen and created this Lemon Leek Pesto Penne Pasta with Peas.
This pasta is packed with flavor! Sassy bright tones from the citrus and sweet warm tones from the basil. Walnuts add depth and texture (and nutrition) to this rustic leek-basil pesto sauce. The sweet and alluring sliced leeks mesh perfectly with the rustic whole wheat pasta. Sweet, protein-rich peas complete this delightful, healthy green dish.
Leeks are low in calories and rich in fiber and manganese – they also contain detoxifying properties. Get my recipe and more nutrition info on leeks from Dole!..
From the Dole Nutrition website – on leeks:
“One medium cooked leek (124g) contains 38 calories and provides a good source of manganese. As part of the allium (garlic and onion) family, leeks contain beneficial organosulfur compounds, including allyl sulfides, which studies show stimulate the body’s natural detoxification systems. This may explain why National Cancer Institute researchers found that leeks and other allium-containing vegetables may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 50%. Leeks also contain inulin, a prebiotic fiber that selectively feeds good bacteria to protect against food-borne viruses, and may also help regulate appetite and increase calcium absorption.”
Dole Nutrition. Want more Dole inspiration? Be sure to check out my past posts..
And if you love nutrition facts and quips like I do (I’m famous for reading nutrition books like Rebecca Woods Whole Foods Encyclopedia from cover to cover) – sign up for Dole’s Nutrition News Newsletter (where this recipe will be featured). You’ll receive a monthly email filled with healthy facts, nutrition findings and the latest nutrition news from top resources. I’ve been a newsletter subscriber for years now. Sign up at Dole’s website.
And since many of you ask me what my fave healthy books are – I love Dole’s Nutrition Handbook. It is filled with facts and photos. Fruits, veggies and more. I love to reference this book when doing blog posts – like for this juice post.
Onto my recipe – which will also be featured in the next Dole Nutrition Newsletter..
Lemon-y Leek Pesto Penne with Peas
vegan, makes about 5 servings
12 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
Lemon-y Leek Pesto
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 garlic cloves
4 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed well – still damp (loosely packed)
1 3/4 cups sliced leeks, cleaned (about 2 small leeks)
1 cup raw walnuts
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 jalapeno, de-seeded (opt’l)
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 leek, cleaned and sliced into rounds
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp fresh black pepper
1. Start making your pesto. Clean and prep all your leeks – make sure to rinse and grit inside the folds. Add all your ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. The excess water from the rinsed basil leaves should keep the pesto ‘loose’ enough – but add ore liquid if the consistency is too thick. The ideal consistency is like a wet, chunky hummus.
2. When your pesto is ready, you can start boiling your pasta. Boil. Drain.
3. Toss the warm pasta in the pesto sauce. Cover and set aside.
4. Next up is a quick saute of the garnish – peas and leeks. Clean and slice your leeks. Turn heat to medium-high and add olive oil to your saute pan. When oil is hot add in the peas and leeks. Saute until the leeks become tender and frozen peas are heated through. Reduce heat to medium and add in the pepper and lemon juice. Toss for a few more minutes and remove from heat.
5. Plate your pasta and add the peas and leeks around the pasta. Serve! You can also make this dish ahead of time – chill in the fridge and reheat in the oven.