Easy Baked Pesto Pasta (Vegetarian)
This Easy Baked Pesto Pasta is a delicious and cozy weeknight dinner. Penne pasta is tossed with broccoli, mushrooms, and homemade hemp seed pesto, then topped with freshly grated parmesan and baked till the cheese gets browned and crisp. A delicious vegetarian option that can be made gluten-free or vegan!
If you’re searching for the coziest weeknight dinner, you’ve come to the right place. This Baked Pesto Pasta mixes penne with broccoli, mushrooms, and a whole lot of homemade hemp seed pesto. The ingredients are tossed together, then topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and an extra sprinkle of hemp seeds before getting placed under the broiler. The parmesan and hemp seeds get baked and crispy, which is what truly elevates a baked pasta from a regular one
Despite being the ultimate comfort food, this weeknight dish is also packed with nutrition! It’s filled with veggies (broccoli + mushrooms), and the hemp seed pesto is made with plenty of fresh basil, nutritional yeast, heart-healthy olive oil, and protein-rich hemp seeds.
While I made this recipe with parmesan cheese and regular pasta, you could also modify the recipe to make it vegan and/or gluten-free. As well, leftovers of this recipe can easily be reheated and enjoyed as part of your weekly meal prep!
How To Make Baked Pesto Pasta
Like all of my recipes, this baked pesto pasta is a simple one to make! You’ll want to start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta and by prepping your ingredients.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, being sure not to overcook (al dente is preferable for baked pasta). While the pasta cooks, you can also sauté the broccoli and mushrooms in a large pan over medium heat.
While both the pasta and veggies are cooking, preheat your oven to a broil and make the pesto. Simply add all pesto ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until a sauce forms.
Once all the ingredients are cooked, drain the pasta and remove veggies from heat. Add cooked pasta and veggies to a large baking or casserole dish. Stir in pesto, making sure to combine all ingredients well.
Sprinkle the top of the pasta with freshly grated parmesan (I like using parmigiano reggiano) and additional hemp seeds. Place the casserole dish under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes, or until the top of the pasta is lightly browned.
Remove from oven and enjoy!
Vegan or Gluten-Free Option
For a gluten-free option of this recipe, simply swap regular pasta for a gluten-free version. I used penne, but feel free to use a similarly sized shape, like rigatoni or farfalle.
For a vegan option, omit the parmesan cheese on top and swap with nutritional yeast instead. The hemp seed pesto is already vegan!
How To Store & Reheat
Leftovers of this recipe can be stored for about 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
My best recommendation for reheating is to do so in the oven (350F x 10 mins). This will maintain the crispness of the top baked layer. If you’re in a pinch though, you can use a microwave!
Feel free to enjoy this recipe as part of your weekly meal prep. Enjoy on it’s own, or pair alongside your favourite protein!
Recipe Nutrition Notes
Many of the ingredients in this Baked Pesto Pasta are packed with health and nutrition benefits! Check out these impressive nutrition stats below:
Hemp Seed Pesto. This healthy homemade pesto is packed with tons of nutritious ingredients! It’s rich in heart-healthy fats, including monounsaturated fatty acids (from olive oil) and omega-3s (from the hemp seeds). Hemp seeds also provide protein, with just 3 Tbsps providing 10 grams. Nutritional yeast packs in additional protein and also B-vitamins. Fresh basil is a source of antioxidants and micronutrients like vitamin C, A, K, B6, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Broccoli Nutrition. This cruciferous veggie is a great source of micronutrients like vitamin C, K, A, folate, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. It’s also high in fibre, with 1 cup providing 2.3 grams (9% of your daily needs).
Mushroom Nutrition. I love the “meaty” flavour that mushrooms provide to this dish, as well as their nutrition benefits. Mushrooms are a great source of different B vitamins (like niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid) as well as other micronutrients, including selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. In fact, mushrooms are one of the few non-fortified food sources of vitamin D!
More Ways To Use Pesto
- Pesto Quinoa Bowl With Broccoli & Sweet Potato
- 25-Minute Baked Salmon With Pistachio Pesto
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Hemp Seed Pesto
- Basil Walnut Pesto Linguine With Shrimp
- Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pizza
Get the Recipe: Easy Baked Pesto Pasta
- 2 heaping cups penne pasta, or similar shape
- 1 large crown broccoli
- Approx. 6-8 large cremini mushrooms
- Olive oil, to cook
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- 3 cups fresh basil (3 ounces or 84 grams)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Splash of water, if needed
- 1.5 cups freshly grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Chop broccoli into small florets and slice mushrooms thinly. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions, being sure not to overcook (al dente is preferable for baked pasta).
- While the pasta cooks, heat up a large pan over medium with a bit of olive oil. Sauté the broccoli and mushrooms with salt + pepper, for about 7-10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to a broil.
- While both the pasta and veggies are cooking, make the pesto. Simply add all pesto ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until a sauce forms. If needed, you can add a splash of water until pesto reaches your desired consistency.
- Once all the ingredients are cooked, drain the pasta and remove veggies from heat. Add cooked pasta and veggies to a large baking or casserole dish. Stir in pesto, making sure to combine all ingredients well. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Sprinkle the top of the pasta with freshly grated parmesan (I like using parmigiano reggiano) and additional hemp seeds. Place the casserole dish under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes, or until the top of the pasta is lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and enjoy immediately!
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