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penne with pesto

Whole Wheat Penne with Avocado Pesto and Peas

  • Author: Kate Kasbee
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


This 15-minute pasta dish is brimming with brain food and plenty of plant-based protein to curb cravings and build lean muscle. Finish it off with a sprinkle of hemp seeds for an extra boost of protein, healthy fat, and fiber.


  • 2 cups whole wheat penne 
  • 1/2 cup avocado pesto (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed and warmed
  • 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds, for garnish (optional)
Avocado Pesto
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 .75-oz. package fresh basil leaves 
  • 2/3 cup salted sunflower seed kernels
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced 
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • A few twists of black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the penne and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain, rinse, and return the pasta to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the avocado, basil, sunflower seed kernels, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor. As it runs, slowly stream in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides and continue to blend until all ingredients are combined. Adjust lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the avocado pesto and warmed peas to the cooked penne and stir to coat. Divide the pasta between two bowls and sprinkle with hemp seeds, if using. Serve warm.


Leftover pesto will keep in the fridge for two to three days. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto to prevent browning.


  • Calories: 457
  • Fat: 17
  • Carbohydrates: 67
  • Protein: 18