Whole-Wheat Pasta with Pumpkin-Seed and Spinach Pesto


This dish is a great start to a healthier, flexitarian (more veggies, less meat) style of eating.


  • 1 pound dried whole-wheat fusilli pasta

  • 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted

  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh chives

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1 ¾ teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 2 ½ ounces baby spinach, packed (2 ½ cups)

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • ¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese, for serving

  • Tomatoes, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

  2. Meanwhile, combine toasted pumpkin seeds, parsley, chives, oil, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, the lemon zest, and 1 cup baby spinach in a food processor. Season with pepper, and pulse until well combined.

  3. Toss pasta with pesto mixture. Add reserved cooking liquid, and mix until pasta is well coated. Fold in remaining 1 1/2 cups baby spinach. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Divide among 6 bowls. Top each with a dollop of ricotta, and season with pepper. Serve with tomato wedges if desired.

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