How on Earth is it September already? It really feels like everything has been back to front and upside down this year, hasn’t it? I think I have mentioned that I am having a bit of a thing for green beans and as the season is coming to an end shortly I thought I would squeeze in one more recipe featuring these vibrantly green pods.
It’s super simple and perfect for when you are busy as it comes together really quickly. You can use shop-bought vegan pesto, but I much more prefer to make it from scratch. I tend to freeze it in a dedicated ice-cube tray and thaw individual pesto cubes as and when needed. It’s a good system that minimises waste and allows you to whip up a quick and nutritious meal at the drop of a hat.
For the pesto itself, I used basil as it grows well on my windowsill (as opposed to the mature one I planted in my herb garden as it got decimated by slugs within days so that only the bare, sad looking stalks remained 🙁 ) but you can use pretty much any leafy herb or green leafy vegetable you want. Both spinach and kale work well, as well as mint, coriander and parsley.
In an effort to make this dish as simple as possible, I cook the beans and pasta together at the same time. It saves on washing up and renders a really good result. As the cooking time of the pasta and beans obviously differs, I add the chopped up beans for the last 2-3 minutes of the pasta cooking time and then drain and stir a good spoonful or two of pesto through and voila!
- 60 g / ½ cup pumpkin seeds (or any nuts or seeds)
- 100 g / 3½ oz basil (or 50% spinach and 50% basil)
- 2 garlic cloves
- zest 1 unwaxed lemon*, + juice to taste
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- approx. 120 ml / ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 large courgette, sliced thickly
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 100 g / 3½ oz green beans
- 200 g / 7 oz pasta (GF if necessary) or boiled potatoes
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 2 tbsp toasted coarse breadcrumbs (optional)
- Dry-roast your pumpkin seeds. You can either do it on a hot, dry pan making sure you shake it regularly so that they do not burn. They are done when lightly golden and cracked in places and fragrant. Alternatively, you can roast them in a 180° C / 355° F oven but be aware that this works better for larger quantities or else they burn rather quickly. I tend to roast at least 2 cups of seeds at a time for about 8-10 minutes. Allow them to cool down completely before blending in the pesto.
- Grind the pumpkin seeds first, then add all the remaining ingredients apart from olive oil and salt and blitz well. I used 4 tbsp / ¼ cup of lemon juice in my pesto, as I like a bit of lemon flavour but please adjust the amount to your taste. Once everything is minced well, start adding olive oil. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (I used approximately 1 tsp in total).
- You can transfer your pesto to a clean jar, cover with a generous amount of oil and store in the fridge for about 1-2 weeks. Alternatively store the pesto in an ice cube tray in the freezer and defrost individual cubes as and when needed.
- Heat up a griddle pan. Brush your zucchini / courgette slices with a little bit of olive oil, season and arrange on the preheated pan. Allow them to char on one side before flipping the slices to the other side. Take off the pan, allow to cool down and slice into smaller pieces.
- While the zucchini / courgette slices are charring, top and tail your beans and cut them into smaller, bite-size pieces.
- Boil a medium pot of water, once the water has boiled cook your pasta until 3 minutes until pasta cooking time is up, at which point add the green beans. Give everything a good stir and continue cooking for another 3 minutes (I like the beans to retain a bit of bite). Drain.
- While pasta is cooking, you may want to toast some pine nuts and / or breadcrumbs on a dry frying pan. If toasting both, do them separately as they toast at different rates.
- Coat the pasta and beans in a few tablespoons of pesto. Divide between two plates, top with charred zucchini / courgette slices and toasted pine nuts and breadcrumbs (if using).