The pasta is made from red lentils. The fresh pesto is accented with lemon, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika in lieu of parmesan cheese. And the tomatoes add pops of vibrant color and bursts of juiciness. Altogether, this simple Mediterranean-style pasta dish is a complete meal in a bowl. Hint: It’s a scrumptious pick for a Meatless Monday!

Red Lentil Pasta With Basil-Pistachio Pesto [Vegan, Gluten-Free]







To Make the Pesto:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachios
  • 2 to 3 large chopped garlic cloves
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon each crushed red pepper flakes and smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To Make the Pasta:

  • 2 1/2-ounces red lentil pasta or gluten-free pasta of choice
  • 1 cup heirloom cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh vegan basil-pistachio pesto
  • Pinch of sea salt


To Make the Pesto:

  1. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients except olive oil until finely chopped. Then drizzle in olive oil and puree until desired consistency. Makes 1 cup.

To Make the Pasta:

  1. In a medium saucepan, boil pasta according to package directions, about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the avocado oil until lightly coated. Add the tomatoes to the hot skillet and cook while shaking the pan a couple times until tomatoes are blistered and browned, about 2 minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta, toss with desired amount of pesto (hint: try 3 tablespoons), and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the tomatoes a sprinkle of salt and serve.


Kick up taste in vegan pesto by way of lemon (zest and juice!), crushed red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika—and punch up protein and greenness by choosing pistachios as the nut of choice. Chill leftover pesto sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Nutritional Information

Per Serving Calories: 600 | Carbs: 59 g | Fat: 31 g | Protein: 27 g | Sodium: 480 mg | Sugar: 6 g Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.