This artichoke pesto pasta is an elevated version of the classic recipe, with that delightful tang from artichokes. It's quick and easy to make for a vegan weeknight meal and comes together in less than 30 minutes!
Have a peek at my ricotta and pesto pasta for another tasty meal!
You may have noticed that pesto is one of my favorite things to make, and it seems to be with you guys too as my chicken pesto risotto and air fryer pesto chicken thighs are always so popular with readers! It's a tasty sauce that can be used in so many ways and packs a punch with all that fragrant herb and garlic flavor.
This pesto and artichoke pasta is a super simple weeknight dinner that the whole family will love! It uses traditional pesto ingredients of pine nuts, basil, olive oil and garlic but adds in earthy artichokes for added delicious flavor. I think this vegan pasta with artichoke hearts will fast become a family favorite!
⭐ Why this Recipe is so Good
All the pesto flavor. Pesto always adds so much flavor to a dish, and this pesto pasta with artichoke hearts is no exception!
Minimal ingredients. We don't need to many items to make this pasta dish and many are pantry staples.
Quick and easy. This is the easy weeknight meal for pasta night, taking less than 30 minutes to come together!
All the ingredients and their quantities are set out in the recipe card below.
Some notes on a few of them:
- Artichoke hearts - I suggest to use canned artichoke hearts in water, rather than marinated artichokes. Alternatively, you can prepare and then roast or steam fresh artichokes yourself. This post on preparing artichokes by Jamie Oliver should be helpful.
- Basil - be sure to use fresh basil leaves without any bruising, and definitely not dried basil!
- Pine nuts - these give the pesto its substance. You can simply use as they are, but giving them a light dry toast brings out the nutty flavor.
- Spaghetti - while I like to use spaghetti, you can always swap out for penne or fusilli if you prefer!
📖 Swaps and Variations
Swap pine nuts for another nut or seed. There are many options to try, including pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and pistachios to make your pesto! You may like to see my pumpkin seed pesto and my macadamia pesto, or my post on alternatives to pine nuts in pesto for even more ideas!
Swap apple cider vinegar for lemon juice. If citrus works for you, then you can add a squeeze of lemon juice (likely not suitable for those looking for low histamine diet recipes).
Use gluten free pasta or a pasta alternative. There are many options that will work for this artichoke heart pasta recipe, including quinoa and brown rice pasta if wheat isn't for you.
🔪 Step By Step Instructions
Making this artichoke pesto pasta is very simple, and has just a few easy steps.
All the instructions are set out in the recipe card below, but these photos should help guide you.
Step 1: Toast pine nuts
Tip the pine nuts into a dry skillet (without oil) and toast on a low heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they have some light browning (image 1).
Step 2: Cook pasta
Cook your spaghetti or other pasta according to packet instructions in lightly salted water, reserving some pasta water (image 2).
Recipe tip: be sure to reserve some of the pasta water (about half a cup) as we will be using it to thin the pesto sauce.
Step 3: Make the artichoke pesto
Add the artichoke hearts, olive oil, basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and 2 tablespoon of pasta water to a blender. Blend, give it a taste test, and adjust with more basil, garlic or artichokes to taste (image 3).
Step 4: Combine the pesto pasta
Drain your pasta in a colander then tip back into your pan. Spoon in the pesto sauce and stir through the pasta. Heat on low for a few minutes, if required. Add more pasta water a tablespoon at a time to thin the sauce if you prefer (image 4).
💭 Expert Recipe Tips and Notes
- When preparing the pesto, pack the basil leaves into your measuring cup. We want lots of herb flavor! On a previous recipe test I used less, and it didn't have quite as much flavor as I think it needed.
- Toasting the pine nuts is optional, but does give an extra nutty taste.
- Adjust the pesto to preference with more pasta water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
- This recipe makes a generous amount of pesto (we all like different amounts don't we!). You can freeze any extra for another meal!
📋 Frequently Asked Questions
Artichoke hearts are a good option for making pesto, and come pre-prepared in a can of water. They are soft enough to blend easily with the other pesto ingredients.
You can use many types of pasta for pesto pasta, including spaghetti, fusilli and penne.
As it is, this is a vegan artichoke pasta but if you wish you can easily add some torn mozzarella, cooked diced chicken or turkey.
Pesto with basil leaves needs to be used fairly quickly as it can brown or turn a dull green. This is due to oxidation of the basil leaves.
🍽 How to Serve Artichoke Pesto Pasta
- Enjoy this pasta as it is, or with a light salad such as my apple cucumber salad or my fennel cucumber dill salad, which are both good choices for summer.
- Choose a hot vegetable side dish such as my warm romaine lettuce or air fried bok choy.
- Pour yourself a fun mocktail to make your meal feel a little more fancy! My lychee mint mocktail, sparkling passion fruit mocktail and sparkling blueberry mocktail are all tasty options.
📋 Freezing Advice
If you wish to do some meal prep, then this recipe can be helpful for a make ahead dinner (kind-of!). While I don't suggest making the pasta and freezing the entire meal (pasta doesn't reheat too well), the sauce alone freezes very well. Simply thaw and stir into freshly cooked pasta for an easy dinner!
🥘 More Pesto Recipes
If pesto is your thing, then you'll find lots of tasty options here using the bold flavors of herbs, garlic and either nuts or seeds, such as my pesto and broccoli pasta and my sheet pan chicken pesto. Some more ideas:
I'm always in the kitchen, so come join me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to be the first to hear of new recipes! And I love to hear from you - so please do leave a star rating ⭐⭐⭐ and comment if you've tried the recipe!
Artichoke Pesto Pasta
- 4 ounces spaghetti or other pasta
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup basil leaves tightly packed
- 4 artichoke hearts* drained, rinsed
- ⅛ cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper
- 2 artichoke hearts
- basil leaves
- Tip the pine nuts into a dry skillet (without oil) and lightly toast on a low heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly browned.
- Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions in lightly salted water so that it is al dente. Reserve about half a cup of the pasta water.
- Add the artichoke hearts, pine nuts, basil leaves (reserve a few for garnish), olive oil, garlic and apple cider vinegar to a blender, along with 2 tablespoon of the pasta water. Blend to a smooth pesto sauce. If the sauce is thicker than you like, add more pasta water and blend again.
- Optional: heat olive oil in your skillet and warm through halved artichoke hearts to use a topping.
- Drain your pasta in a colander and return to the pan. Stir through the artichoke pesto sauce. You can add a tablespoon more pasta water to thin if you like.
- Use tongs to transfer the pasta to your bowls. Season with salt and black pepper, and artichoke hearts and basil leaves to preference.
- When preparing the pesto, pack the basil leaves into your measuring cup. We want lots of herb flavor!
- Toasting the pine nuts is optional, but does give an extra nutty taste.
- Adjust the pesto to preference with more pasta water.
- This recipe gives a generous amount of pesto. You can freeze any extra for another meal!
- If making ahead, you can make the sauce separately and freeze. When reheating you may need to add a touch of extra pasta water. I don't recommend to make and freeze the complete dish with the pasta.
- Nutritional information is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
- pasta (wheat) which scores 1. You can use alternative or gluten free pasta if you prefer.
- artichokes score 0 but this would be fresh produce. If canned doesn't work for you then prepare from fresh.
- garlic and apple cider vinegar, which score 1.
- black pepper, which scores 2.
- pine nuts aren't rated, but are low histamine on other lists.
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