Meatless Monday--Pasta with Spinach-Cilantro Pesto

One added bonus (as if it needed an added bonus) of summer break is not having to pack my lunches five days a week.  It's not that it's really that big of deal, it just that it's one more thing to do each night.  When not having to pack a lunch is combined with not having to wear makeup every day and not having to get up at five in the morning, life is pretty good.  You feelin' me?

Just because it's summer doesn't mean I'm not storing up lunch ideas for next year.  I'm always looking for recipes that will keep well for a couple of days and give me one or two lunches for the week.  That's where this pasta comes in.  It's super simple to make, it's healthy, and it's bursting with bright, fresh flavors.  You'll love it freshly made and, as long as you add avocado just before eating, you'll love it just as much as leftovers.  

This one is definitely going on my list of lunch options for the coming school year.

Pasta with Spinach-Cilantro Pesto
adapted from Hodgson Mill

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. dried short shape pasta
1 c. fresh spinach (packed)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/4 c. red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. chickpeas, rinsed
1 avocado, chopped

Directions:
1.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil over high heat and cook pasta according to package directions.  Strain, return to pot, and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, place spinach, cilantro, onion, garlic, oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper in a food processor and purée until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

3.  When pasta is ready, toss with pesto.  Add tomatoes and chickpeas and stir to combine.  Just before serving, add avocado.

Yields: 2-3 servings

Kelsey

http://kelseysappleaday.blogspot.com

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