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5 from 2 votes

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Coconut “Bacon”

Creamy pesto, coconut “bacon,” avocado, garbanzo beans, tomatoes…this pasta dish practically screams summer!  But this quick and easy vegan meal is perfect to enjoy all year long.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 6
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For the pesto:

  • 3 cups basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Vegenaise or mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup cashew pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

For the coconut bacon:

  • 2 1/3 cups coconut chips
  • 3 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Bragg Liquid Aminos, (you can use soy sauce if you don't have aminos, but I highly reccomend getting some Bragg Liquid Aminos!)
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Everything else:

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Additional olive oil
  • Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Instructions

Make the coconut bacon

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Put the coconut chips, maple syrup, aminos, liquid smoke, and olive oil on a standard-sized baking sheet. Toss everything together, then spread the coconut chips out in one, thin layer.
  • Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the baking sheet from the oven, and flip the coconut bacon over so that a different side of each piece (just do your best!) is face down on the baking sheet.
  • Put the baking sheet back in the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Coconut bacon is done!

Make the pasta

  • Before you make the creamy pesto, start boiling the water for the pasta, and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  • By the time the pasta is finished cooking, the pesto will be ready.

Make the creamy pesto

  • Add the basil, garlic clove, salt, and cashews to the food processor. Pulse a few times to get things going, then process until the basil and cashews are finely ground.
  • Now add the Vegenaise/mayonnaise and olive oil. Process again until everything is incorporated and mostly smooth. Creamy pesto is done!

Optional: blanche the basil leaves

  • Note: if you would like to blanche the basil before making the pesto—which will help the pesto stay brilliant green on the pasta longer—here’s what you do:
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then carefully lower the basil leaves in. Let them boil for 15 seconds, then drain the basil and submerge in very cold water to stop the leaves from cooking.
  • Once the leaves are completely cool, take the basil out of the cold water, pat dry, and they’re ready to add to the food processor with the other pesto ingredients.

Bring it all together

  • Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and put it back in the pot. Add the tomatoes, avocado, and garbanzo beans. Drizzle a little olive oil and fleur de sel over everything, and gently toss.
  • Now add in the creamy pesto and some coconut bacon. Start with about half of the creamy pesto and about a third of the coconut bacon. Gently toss until the creamy pesto coats all the pasta.
  • Note: you can add the creamy pesto to the pasta while the pasta is still warm, or wait until the pasta is room temperature. In my experience, the pesto will stay green longer if it is tossed into room temperature pasta. Be sure to rinse the pasta in cold water if you don’t add the pesto right away. This will prevent the pasta from all sticking together as it cools.
  • Taste, and add additional fleur de sel and creamy pesto, if desired.

Serve and enjoy!

  • Sprinkle additional coconut bacon on top of each individual serving, and enjoy this pasta salad warm, room temperature, or cold.

Notes

This recipe is vegan and vegetarian!
This recipe is gluten free if made with gluten free pasta.