Pesto pasta with peas is an easy, delicious, quick, and healthy pasta dish you can prepare in about 20 mins. A perfect dish to use fresh spring peas from the garden (or frozen ones).
Making easy pasta dishes like garlic kale pasta, Mediterranean pasta, etc., during weekdays makes my life so easy. Healthy yet delicious, and a filling dinner or lunch, which is why I always go for them.
And my recent favorite is making pea pesto pasta. I even took it to a potluck gathering with our friends, and it was a huge hit. The kids really enjoyed it.
What is special about this dish
- Super easy to prepare
- You will need 20-25 mins to prepare
- Toasted green peas make this pasta so tempting and hard to resist
- Healthy yet tasty with loads of nutrients from green peas and pesto
- Pasta – use your choice of pasta. I mostly use gluten-free pasta made from brown rice or quinoa, and occasionally the regular variety to make my pasta dishes.
- Green Peas – either fresh or frozen peas will work in this recipe.
- Pesto – use good quality pesto to flavor the pasta and peas. Make it at home whenever possible using fresh basil.
- Tomato – This is optional. I add diced seeded tomatoes to get some color contrast in the green pasta dish.
- Garlic – always use fresh garlic to get nice flavors in the recipe. Avoid using preserved garlic as it lacks flavors.
- Oil – I always use olive oil for sauteing and grilling in my kitchen.
See the recipe card for quantities and more details.
Here, I am listing some variations that you can try with the recipe.
- Make it gluten-free – Use pasta prepared using gluten-free flour such as brown rice, quinoa, etc.
- Add some red chili flakes to bring some heat to the pasta.
- Use sundried tomatoes instead of fresh ones to get added deliciousness and color to the dish.
- You can also add one or more veggies such as diced bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, etc., to make the pasta more nutritious.
- Add shrimp or chicken cut into bite-size pieces to make this dish rich in protein. Just cook them in some oil before roasting the peas. Keep them aside and add them to the pasta while mixing the pesto. Alternatively, you can add cooked chicken meatballs to the dish.
- Sprinkle some parmesan cheese at the end, and your family will love every bit of it.
Kind of pasta to use
Any kind of pasta with any shape and size, such as penne, elbow, shell, or spaghetti, to name a few, will work in this pesto pasta and peas recipe. Make sure to cook the pasta to your liking as per the package instructions.
How to make healthy pasta with peas?
This pea pesto pasta recipe involves three main steps– cooking the pasta, roasting the green peas with garlic, and mixing cooked pasta and peas with pesto sauce.
Step 1 – Cooking pasta
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add raw pasta and some salt. Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and keep it aside. Also, reserve about ½ cup of pasta water before draining to use it later.
Step 2 – Preparing green peas
In a large pan, heat some cooking oil. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add the green peas and roast them for a few minutes.
Add diced tomato and seasonings like salt, black pepper, and red chili flakes; cook until the tomato softens.
Step 3 – Adding back the cooked pasta
Add cooked pasta, basil pesto, and some pasta water. Mix well to coat the pesto on the pasta evenly.
Chef’s Secret – What makes this Peas Pasta delicious
The toasted taste of peas with garlic makes this pasta delicious. So, saute the green peas on medium heat until they develop a roasted color. These toasted peas are so tempting to eat that you can even serve them as a side dish.
Also, season your pasta dish generously with black pepper to add more flavor to the dish.
- Serve this bowl of pea pea pesto pasta for a light lunch/dinner.
- You can pair it with chicken in tomato sauce or garlic tomato salmon or 15 min shrimp in tomato sauce for a wholesome meal.
- Prepare detox broccoli soup with homemade focaccia or whole wheat dinner rolls to serve with this pasta dish. This will be a perfect menu for family gatherings or get-togethers.
- Cooking pasta – cooking times may vary for different pasta varieties having different sizes and shapes. Therefore, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Also, add some salt to the boiling water to flavor the pasta while cooking.
- Reserve pasta water – After cooking the pasta, save some pasta water before draining it for later use. Add a few tablespoons of this water while mixing pesto in the pasta. This will help to coat the pesto evenly.
- How to save time? – Prepare peas in a frying pan simultaneously while cooking pasta. This will save some time, and your dish will be ready in about 15 minutes or so. However, your dishwasher will not be happy as it will need to work on one more pan.
- Do not overcook the pasta after adding the basil pesto. Basil tends to lose its flavor during prolonged heating on high heat.
Yes. You can use fresh peas in this recipe. And if these are from your garden, even better.
This pasta and peas with pesto taste better when it is fresh. However, leftovers still taste great, and you can store them in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Sprinkle some water and microwave the pasta before serving.
Also, you can prepare sauteed garlic peas ahead of time and cook the pasta fresh. In this case, you simply have to mix the peas and pasta with pesto before serving.
I will recommend not freezing the cooked pasta dish. You will not get the same texture and taste upon thawing the pasta.
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments if you REALLY like this recipe. Thank You!
20 Min Healthy Pesto Pasta With Peas
- Large Pan
- 3 cup raw pasta
- 1 ½ cup green peas use fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup basil pesto
- 1 tomato seeded and diced
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon back pepper
- ¼ cup pasta water
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese (or more)
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook as per the package instructions. Drain the water and keep it aside. Reserve some pasta water to use it later.
- Heat cooking oil in a large pan. Add chopped garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Add green peas and stir-fry them for about 5-7 min or until a light roasted color starts to develop.
- Then add diced tomato, black pepper, salt, and chili flakes, and cook for another 2-3 min.
- Add back the cooked pasta, basil pesto, and saved pasta water; mix well to distribute the pesto evenly. Turn off the heat and serve warm.
- Cooking pasta – Do not overcook the pasta while boiling it in water. Preferably, cook it to an al dente texture.
- Taste test and add some more pesto and seasonings, if necessary.
- Save some water before draining the pasta after cooking. Adding a few tablespoons of this water while mixing pasta and pesto to help distribute the pesto evenly.
- Do not overcook the dish after mixing pasta and pesto. Turn off the heat just after mixing everything. Cooking basil pesto on high heat for longer times may lose its flavor and can also result in overcooked pasta.
- Optional – Add some parmesan cheese at the end for more deliciousness. You can skip using fresh tomatoes in this recipe. I usually add them to get some color in the dish. You can also use sundried tomatoes instead.