I’m all about healthy 30 minute meals like this Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato and Almond Pesto that come together from the pantry without a trip to the store. It’s frugal eating at its most delicious!
Think outside the box for a healthy Mediterranean inspired pasta dinner.
Jars of oil packed sun dried tomatoes are a staple in my cupboard,, and I always have good almonds on hand. I’ve gotten to the point where I just grab fresh parsley every time I pass through the store, even though that might mean I sometimes have more than I need. It’s cheap and adds so much to so many dishes. I keep it in a mason jar on my counter, just like cut flowers, and I use a heavy hand with it —no insipid flecks on top of my food— I chop masses of it for its fresh green flavor.
Fresh breadcrumbs are a must here, and they’re so easy to grind from any sort of leftover bread. I had some leftover brown bread which turned out to be an inspired choice. I like the rustic feel it gave to the finished pasta. A small food processor is the perfect tool for grinding them up. Just pulse until you get your desired consistency, it takes only seconds.
Check out my post on How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs for more details and options.
Marcona almonds are rich and crunchy.
They’re a Spanish variety and well worth picking up, Trader Joe’s sells them. Mine were still in their skins, and roasted and salted. If you can’t find them, toast regular almonds before using them, it will develop the flavor and crunch. 15 minutes on a dry pan in a 350F oven will do the trick. They crunch up as they cool.
Don’t let anything go to waste!
You can use the reserved oil from the drained tomatoes in place of some of the olive oil, it’s got tons of flavor. In general they aren’t packed in top quality oil, though, so I still like to use some olive oil for extra flavor.
Whole grain pasta is an easy way to boost the nutritional value of this meal
There are lots of choices in the pasta aisle these days, and I like to use whole grain spaghetti for this dish. The whole grain adds another layer to the complex flavors of the deceptively simple pasta.
Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato and Almond Pesto
- 1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (I reserved and used the oil, it's got good flavor)
- 1/3 cup salted roasted almonds I used Marcona almonds, skin on
- 1 large garlic clove sliced
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 12 ounces spaghetti I used whole grain
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley plus more for garnish
- In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes, almonds, and garlic. Add 1/4 cup of the oil and puree. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a skillet, toast the bread crumbs in 2 tablespoons of the oil, stirring, until golden. Transfer the crumbs to a plate; season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. In the pot, toss the pasta with the pesto, parsley, some of the reserved cooking water and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until the sauce clings to the pasta. Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, a little more parsley and drizzle with olive oil.
notes and variations
- You can make a double or triple batch of the pesto and store it in a jar in the fridge for super quick meals.
More quick pastas from the archives: