Asparagus Pesto Pasta [with Minty Sugar Snap Peas]

May 6, 2022

Asparagus Pesto Pasta [with Minty Sugar Snap Peas]

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Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas is a super easy, nutritious vegetarian weeknight dinner that’s ready in thirty minutes or less! This dish is perfect for Springtime when asparagus, sugar snap peas, scallions, and mint are abundant and at their peak freshness. 🌿

The asparagus pesto is creamy and delicious, and the minty sugar snap peas (plus scallions, fresh garlic, and seasonings) add texture and tons of flavor to the dish. I like to use Barilla Protein+ Pasta. You can also add chicken for even more protein!

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Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas

I’m always looking for healthy excuses to eat pasta. Filled with lots of vegetables and nutrients but also delicious is what I aim for, and this Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas checks those boxes!

You may also like my Pasta with Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce recipe.

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas Ingredients in a wicker basket on a wooden surface - Mint, Basil, Peas, Pine Nuts, Parmesan Cheese, Lemon, Scallions, Asparagus, Fresh Garlic

This dish begins with al dente pasta, cooked to perfection. Meanwhile, asparagus spears are boiled until just fork-tender, then blended with the classic components of pesto: fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. The result is a vibrant green pesto sauce infused with the subtle sweetness and earthy flavor of asparagus!

Keep reading for a breakdown of each step.

Cook the Asparagus

Asparagus on a wooden cutting board with the woody ends cut and displayed

Take a large pot of salted water to boil. Chop or snap the woody/tough ends of the asparagus. Discard or save them for homemade vegetable or chicken broth!

Once the water is boiling, add your asparagus and boil for seven to eight minutes, or until the asparagus is soft but not mushy. Drain the asparagus, reserving two tablespoons of water for the pesto, and set aside to cool.

Minty Sugar Snap Peas

These are so simple and delicious! I could eat them in a big bowl all by themselves.

Remove any stringy ends from the sugar snap peas and slice them about a half-inch thick. I like to slice my garlic thinly; finding those little slivers of garlic while eating Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas is one of my favorite parts!

Sauté the sliced sugar snap peas, garlic, and scallions in heated extra virgin olive oil and butter. Sprinkle in the salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. Continue cooking over medium to high heat for five to seven minutes. The peas should still have a crunchy bite to them.

Sauté the sliced sugar snap peas, garlic, and scallions in heated extra virgin olive oil and butter. Sprinkle in the salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. Continue cooking over medium to high heat for five to seven minutes. The peas should still have a crunchy bite to them.

Splash in a tablespoon or two of the reserved pasta water and stir (this will release any bits that are stuck to the pan). Chiffonade the fresh mint and toss it with the peas. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

You can begin boiling salted water for the pasta now and drop that when it’s ready! Reserve half a cup of the pasta water before straining.

Blend the Asparagus Pesto

overhead shot of smooth and creamy asparagus pesto in a large food processor on a brown wooden surface

The asparagus pesto is made up of mostly asparagus, yet it’s still so lusciously creamy!

Now that your asparagus is cooled, pulse it several times in a large food processor with basil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, reserved asparagus water, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slowly stream in the extra virgin olive oil while the large food processor is running.

Blend until silky smooth!

Finishing the Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas in a matte speckled stone bowl on a brown wooden surface

In a large pot, gently toss your pasta with the asparagus pesto and the remaining reserved pasta water until all the pasta is coated. Fold in the minty sugar snap peas (you can save a little for garnish but that’s optional).

To complete the dish, I like to garnish the pasta with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese, chopped fresh mint, basil, pine nuts, and a lemon wedge. 🍋🌿

Pesto is best with pasta, particularly classics like spaghetti or linguine. It also pairs well with other dishes like grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, sandwiches, or as a topping for pizza. Additionally, it can be used as a dip or spread for bread or crackers.

Basil, a key ingredient in pesto, contains compounds like eugenol, which may have potential benefits for cardiovascular health, including potentially lowering blood pressure. Additionally, olive oil, another common ingredient in pesto, is associated with various health benefits, including improving heart health and potentially lowering blood pressure.

However, while pesto may contribute to overall heart health when consumed as part of a balanced diet, it’s not a standalone solution for managing blood pressure. It’s essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle overall, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and managing stress levels, to support heart health and manage blood pressure effectively.

Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice regarding blood pressure management!

Traditionally, pesto is added to cooked pasta just before serving. This allows the flavors of the pesto to meld with the hot pasta. However, some people also enjoy mixing pesto into the pasta while it’s still warm after cooking. It ultimately depends on your preference.

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas with a lemon wedge in a matte speckled stone bowl on a brown wooden surface

I’d love to hear from you! About your experience with this dish, any alterations you may have made and loved (or didn’t love), or just life and cooking in general. Please leave a question, comment, and/or review below, or get in touch via email.

Follow me on social media to stay connected and keep up with the fun! I sometimes post different recipes my husband and I make that I don’t share here on the blog, other cooking, and lifestyle tips, and more.

🌻PS: It’s Mother’s Day and my mom is going to be the first person to read this recipe post (as always). So, I wanted to say HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!! I love you and thank you for being the best Mommy in the world. 💛

I hope you enjoy the Asparagus Pesto Pasta!! – Jenna G.

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Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas in a matte speckled stone bowl on a brown wooden surface with a fork on the side

Asparagus Pesto Pasta [with Minty Sugar Snap Peas]


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5 from 10 reviews

  • Author: Jenna
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Creamy asparagus pesto and minty sugar snap peas are tossed with pasta for a quick and nutritious weeknight meal!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Pasta:

  • 8 ounces pasta (I use Barilla protein+ pasta – any pasta type works)
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water

Asparagus Pesto:

  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends discarded
  • 10 large basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon reserved asparagus water
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Minty Sugar Snap Peas:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2pound (about 2 cups) sugar snap peas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup spring onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chiffonade cut

Garnish (optional):

  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Chopped Mint + Basil
  • Pine Nuts
  • Lemon Wedge

Instructions

  1. COOK THE ASPARAGUS. Get a large pot of salted water boiling. Chop the woody/tough ends of the asparagus and discard. Once the water is boiling, add your asparagus and boil for seven to eight minutes, or until the asparagus is soft but not mushy. Drain the asparagus, reserving two tablespoons of water for the pesto, and set aside to cool.

    Asparagus on a wooden cutting board with the woody ends cut and displayed

  2. PREPARE THE MINTY SUGAR SNAP PEAS. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat; melt the butter with oil. Remove any stringy ends from the sugar snap peas and slice those and the scallions about a half-inch thick. Thinly slice the garlic cloves. Sauté the sugar snap peas, scallions, and garlic in heated extra virgin olive oil and butter. Sprinkle in the salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. Continue cooking over medium to high heat for five to seven minutes. Splash in two tablespoons of reserved pasta water and stir, removing any brown bits (aka flavor!) from the bottom of the pan. Fold in the mint, remove from heat and set aside. The peas should still have a crunchy bite to them!

    Sugar snap peas, thinly sliced garlic, scallions, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a sauté pan

  3. COOK THE PASTA. Bring a generously salted pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions (I like it Al dente). *Reserve a half cup of pasta water before straining!
  4. BLEND THE ASPARAGUS PESTO. Now that your asparagus is cooled, pulse it several times in a large food processor along with the basil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, reserved asparagus water, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Now that it’s chopped up a bit, slowly stream in the extra virgin olive oil while the large food processor is running. Blend until silky smooth.

    overhead shot of smooth and creamy asparagus pesto in a large food processor on a brown wooden surface

     

  5. FINISHING THE ASPARAGUS PESTO PASTA WITH SUGAR SNAP PEAS. In a large pot, gently toss your pasta with the asparagus pesto and the remaining reserved pasta water until all the pasta is coated. Fold in the minty sugar snap peas (you can save a little to garnish the dish but that’s optional). To complete the dish, I like to garnish the pasta with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese, chopped fresh mint and basil, and a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

    Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Minty Sugar Snap Peas in a matte speckled stone bowl on a brown wooden surface

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seasonal Spring
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