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Pesto pasta made with spaghetti in a speckled ceramic bowl with a fork twirling a bite, topped with pine nuts and grated parmesan.

Easy Pesto Pasta {Gluten Free + Vegetarian + Vegan Option}

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  • Author: Nyssa Tanner
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Easy pesto pasta is the perfect weeknight recipe! It’s ready in less than 30 minutes and full of bold flavors. Option to make it dairy free / vegan, and customize it with whatever protein or veggies you like! Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan option.



For basil pesto

  • 2 packed cups fresh basil, from a 3-ounce box
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or cashews
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese or 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

*See the complete homemade pesto blog post for recipe tips and substitution options.

For pasta

  • 1 cup basil pesto – homemade or store bought
  • 12 ounces gluten free pasta
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • Pasta cooking water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan or dairy free parmesan, extra basil, and pine nuts for serving (optional)


For basil pesto

  1. Add basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. Add olive oil. With the motor running slowly pour in the olive oil until the pesto is smooth and emulsified.
  3. Season and store. Season to taste with more salt if needed and use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For pasta

  1. Cook pasta and reserve pasta water. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Add the frozen peas to the boiling water 30 seconds before the pasta is done cooking. Before draining, scoop out and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. Toss with pesto. With the pot off the stove top, return pasta and peas to the pot along with the pesto and 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Use tongs or two large forks to toss together until evenly coated. Add more pasta water as needed to stretch the sauce and make it cohesive and creamy.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately topped with parmesan cheese, some extra basil, and pine nuts if desired. Enjoy!


Refrigerator: This pesto pasta will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Reheating: To reheat, warm the pasta on low in a skillet, and add water to the sauce a little bit at a time, stirring in between, until desired consistency is reached. Re-season with salt if needed. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.

Freezing: I would not recommend freezing this pasta. I haven’t tried but I think that the texture of the pasta and sauce would not hold up well when thawed. Pesto does freeze well by itself, though!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian