Artichoke Pesto Pasta is the perfect quick and easy healthy weeknight meal! Dinner in under 20 minutes, this fresh take on pasta is great for entertaining too!
What makes this Artichoke Pesto Pasta so special?
This artichoke pesto pasta combines bright lemony pesto made from artichokes and basil with fresh vegetables and pasta for a super simple meal! Get out of your rut of eating the same old pasta recipe and change it up with this artichoke pesto, you won’t regret it!
This artichoke pesto pasta is perfect for busy weeknights. It’s gluten free, dairy free, vegan, high in protein, and so simple to make!
Why this recipe works:
- The artichoke pesto is bright and fresh and perfect for summer meals
- This recipe is ready in under 20 minutes, perfect for busy nights
- Made with fresh ingredients, this recipe is healthy and gluten free!
- Easily make this low carb and keto friendly!
What is artichoke pesto?
Artichoke pesto is made by combining artichoke hearts, fresh basil, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic and hemp hearts or raw cashews in the food processor.
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The addition of the artichoke hearts makes this pesto thick and creamy and the perfect consistency to serve over pasta, pizza, flat bread or even to use as a dip for fresh or roasted veggies. Once you try this recipe you are going to continue to use it over and over again!
What shape of pasta should you use with pesto
Pesto will easily cling to pasta with twists, like rotini and fusilli, so those two are my top recommendations. However, since this artichoke pesto is much thicker than traditional pesto, other great options include penne, rigatoni, and macaroni.
The Best Gluten Free Pastas
You can now find gluten free pasta in most shapes. I prefer to use either brown rice pasta or pasta made from lentils or chickpeas. I find that gluten free pastas made from these ingredients are less likely to fall apart when boiling and don’t get gummy and stick together as easily as other blends.
Chef’s tip for cooking gluten free pasta:
- Gluten free pasta has a tendency of sticking to together when cooking, so stir it occasionally to keep it from sticking together.
- Gluten free pasta often doesn’t take as much time as required on the box instructions, so the first time you cook the pasta, set a timer for 1 minute under the suggested cooking time and carefully take out one piece of pasta and taste it for the texture and how al dente the pasta is (careful it’s hot). Gluten free pasta can easily over cook and once it does the quality diminishes.
- I find that adding oil to the pasta immediately after draining it helps to keep it from sticking together. Unless you have your sauce ready immediately, I highly recommend that you add some olive oil or avocado oil to your pasta or it will likely become very difficult to stir or serve.
- To do this, return the pasta to the pot that you boiled the pasta in and add 1/2-1 tablespoon of oil and stir well. Keep the pasta off the heat or it will continue to cook.
Low carb option:
How to make this artichoke pesto pasta:
Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.
While the water is coming up to a boil, heat a large pan over medium high heat. Spray the pan with non-stick spray and add the artichoke hearts to the pan and allow them to cook 5-7 minutes until starting to brown.
Turn off the heat and add juice from one lemon and a pinch of salt to the artichokes. Stir well.
Once the water is boiling, add a package of pasta and stir well and often. Cook according to directions, checking the doneness about 1 minute before the timer goes off.
While the pasta is boiling, divide the artichoke hearts. Add ½ of the artichoke hearts to a food processor (affiliate link) and put the other half aside.
To the food processor with the artichoke hearts add the basil, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and hemp hearts (or other nut see below for suggestions).
Blend on high until thick. Add ¼ cup of water to thin out the pesto into a sauce and pulse to incorporate.
Drain the pasta and add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the pasta to keep it from sticking together. Stir well.
Chop the remaining artichoke hearts into bite size pieces. Chop the tomatoes and the extra basil for topping.
Add the pasta, pesto, tomatoes and artichoke hearts in a large bowl or pot.
Stir the pasta and pesto together with the chopped veggies.
Chop the remaining basil and top the with fresh basil (optional).
Substitutions and FAQ’s
This recipe uses frozen artichoke hearts but you can also use canned artichoke hearts in water, drained of water and quickly sautéed with lemon and salt to get the same flavor.
Hemp hearts (affiliate link) are inexpensive and a great source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. However, if you do not have them or prefer not to use them in this recipe, you can substitute out cashews, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or even pumpkin seeds. The flavor of the pesto will change according to the nut or seed you try so this is also a great way to change up the flavor each time you make this dish!
How long will this vegan pesto pasta last in the fridge?
The pesto will last about a week in the fridge in a sealed container, so if you want to make it ahead of time, you can!
The artichoke pesto pasta will last about 3 days in the fridge in a sealed container. You can serve the leftover pasta cold or reheated, making it perfect for lunch the next day!
What other vegetables could you add to this artichoke pesto pasta:
- Fresh spinach or kale
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Roasted bell peppers
- Sundried tomatoes
- Spiralized zucchini
How to add more protein to this pasta recipe:
I used lentil based pasta, which has about 21 grams of protein per serving, so I didn’t find the need to add more protein. However, you could easily add precooked chicken, shrimp, salmon, chickpeas or balsamic tofu to add even more protein to this recipe and make it more filling!
If you love this pesto recipe, you should try:
Artichoke Pesto Pasta
- 1 bag frozen artichokes - or 1 can of Artichoke Hearts in Water, chopped
- 2 lemons juiced - divided
- 1 package basil leaves
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- 1 tsp garlic powder - or 1 clove garlic, grated
- 3 tbs. hemp hearts - or cashews, almond, walnut, sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 box of gluten free pasta - Brown rice or lentil pasta works best
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add water to a large pot for the pasta and bring to a boil.
- While the water is boiling, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add artichoke hearts and cook on medium for 5-7 minutes.
- After the artichokes are fully defrosted and starting to brown, turn off the heat and add the juice of 1 lemon, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir well.
- Once the water has come up to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Check 1 minute before timer goes off
- While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto.
- Add 1/2 of the artichoke hearts to the food processors, put the other half to the side to add to the pasta.
- Add all but a few leaves of basil to food processor with the artichoke hearts. Add the juice of 1 lemon, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp of salt, olive oil and hemp hearts. Blend on high until combined and pesto starts to form. You may need to scrape down the sides.
- Add 1/4 cup of water to the pesto to thin it out. Pulse to incorporate the water.
- Drain the water from the pasta and add it back to the pot. Add 1/2 tbsp of oil to the pasta to make sure it won't stick together.
- Chop the artichokes that were set aside as well as the cherry tomatoes
- In a large bowl or the pot the pasta was cooked in, add the pesto, pasta, chopped artichoke hearts and chopped tomatoes and stir well.
- Chop the rest of the basil and sprinkle it over the pasta.
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Update Notes: This post was originally published in March of 2015 but was republished with, step by step photos, tips and a video in May of 2019.