Walnut and Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe


Pasta and I have an interesting love affair.

It’s a pleasure to devour many of its forms when they come my way. However, feeling bloated or not being able to fit in a favorite pair of skinny jeans afterwards isn’t too great. So this recipe works it all out!

Made with fresh ingredients, this Walnut and Basil Pesto Pasta with Butternut Squash and Roasted Tomatoes is great for those looking for a lighter and healthier pasta dish! The combo of squishy, roasted veggies with the crunch of walnuts give this plate a fun texture.

The recipe’s beneficial ingredients include basil and garlic. Basil has phytochemical nutrients – orientin and vicenin – that act like antioxidants. The two neutralize damaging free radicals that destroy normally healthy cells, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Garlic helps lower cholesterol levels and slows the development of arteries hardening.

As there is no oil in the pesto sauce for this recipe, it doesn’t store well. The basil turns brown – not the sexiest thing to chow down on. So, this is more of a eat-as-soon-as-made dish!


Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • Garlic Cloves (2, minced)
  • Basil Leaves (2 1/2 cups)
  • Olive Oil spray (2 grams)
  • Walnuts (5 teaspoons, chopped)
  • Butternut Squash (5 ounces, peeled/seeded, cut into small pieces)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (1/2 cup)
  • Lemon (1) OR Lemon Juice (4 teaspoons)
  • Parmesan (1 oz.)
  • Whole-wheat Spaghetti (5 oz.)


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. (If you’ve made the noodles from scratch, kudos!) Drain spaghetti, return to pot.
  2. While spaghetti cooks, preheat oven to 350°F. 
  3. Cut tomatoes and squash into bite-sized pieces. Put them on a nonstick baking sheet. Spray lightly with oil. Toss to coat. Roast until squash is tender (around 20 minutes).
  4. Blend basil, walnuts and garlic in a food processor or blender. Add lemon juice and parmesan. Blend sauce again till fairly smooth.
  5. Add pesto, squash and tomatoes to spaghetti. Toss!
  6. Sprinkle rest of parmesan on top.

Let’s Dish

  • What’s your favorite pasta sauce?
  • How do you test spaghetti to know it is fully cooked?
  • There are more than 600 pasta shapes. Which do you like the most?
  • When do you think you’ll try this recipe?


Sharareh Drury is an award-winning journalist in Chicago. She's a foodie and traveller, loves to tell stories, and is always hungry for adventure and a flavorful dish to go with it.

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