If you're a vegan, you've probably had to answer the question "But where do you get your protein?" at least a hundred times. Even though I'm not vegan (yet), I try my best to avoid animal products. When doing this, it can admittedly be a bit hard to feel full if you aren't consuming enough protein.

Luckily, this important macronutrient is in many vegan foods, namely whole wheat pasta and beans. These two amino-acid powerhouses are in this recipe, which includes one of my all time favorite sauces: pesto. Although pesto traditionally uses cheeses such as Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, I use B-12 rich nutritional yeast in its place. Nutritional yeast may have an unappealing name, but it's chock full of vitamins and lends a great cheesy flavor to anything you put it in. 

This vegan pesto pasta may upset your traditionalist Italian grandma, but it'll certainly please your stomach. It's whole grain, cheesy, flavorful, and hearty. Alright, enough with the talking: let's get cooking.

Vegan Pesto Pasta

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:30 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Easy


  • 2 1/2 tightly packed cups basil
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli
  • 1 can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Brooke Daly
  • Step 1

    In a food processor, blend basil, garlic, and lemon juice until combined.

    Brooke Daly
  • Step 2

    Now, add in spinach, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper until a paste-like consistency has formed.

    Brooke Daly
  • Step 3

    Add pine nuts and half of the olive oil and blend for half a minute. Then, take the lid off the food processor, and add in the remaining olive oil and water. Blend until the pesto is completely smooth. Set mixture aside.

    spinach, tea, green tea, matcha
    Brooke Daly
  • Step 4

    Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and cook the spaghetti for about 8-9 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, add the diced onion to a large pan with some olive oil and sauté on medium heat until the onions are translucent and slightly golden.

    cereal, vegetable, rice, risotto
    Brooke Daly
  • Step 5

    Add in the cannellini beans and cooked broccoli to the onions and stir until everything is warmed through.

    cauliflower, vegetable, broccoli
    Brooke Daly
  • Step 6

    Take the pot of pasta off the heat once the desired texture is reached and drain the pasta. Put the pasta back into the empty pot and stir in the pesto.

    pesto, spaghetti, herb, pasta
    Brooke Daly
  • Step 7

    Combine the onion/broccoli/bean mixture with the pasta, serve, and enjoy.

    sauce, spaghetti, pasta, vegetable
    Brooke Daly