Updated: May 16, 2020
To keep this pesto low in calories, I decided to use vegan pesto. This recipe is inspired by the Minimalist Baker's "Easy Vegan Pesto" and I'll tell you why I made this using vegan pesto. I am not vegan but I wanted to find a low-calorie pesto sauce which still tastes great, so I thought I might as well try a vegan one since they are generally lower in calories than other non-vegan 'skinny pesto' sauces. It was quite shockingly delicious. Don't ever give up taste for calories, I'd rather give up portion / serving sizes. PK even preferred this to store-bought pesto so that's a good sign!
If you ensure that the measurements are the same as mine, one serving with the sausages, pasta and pesto, it all comes down to around 387 calories 😇You can make it vegan as well by using vegan sausages instead and that will usually decrease the calories even more. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Serves: 4 or 5
Difficulty: Level 2
Health factor: ⭐⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
To make the pesto:
75gr fresh basil leaves, thick stems removed (around 2 packs)
30gr pine nuts (you could also 50/50 it with walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds)
2 garlic cloves
1/4tsp sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
15gr nutritional yeast flakes (this is to replace the parmesan, so if you like it cheesy, feel free to add more, but you can also decrease it if you'd like)
30ml extra virgin olive oil
To complete the dish:
450gr wholewheat pasta
16 asparagus spears
340gr Italian Style Chicken Chipolatas, I used this one from Aldi
Chilli flakes (optional)
In a pan over medium heat, toast your pine nuts until golden. Remove from heat.
In a food processor or a blender, add the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic cloves, sea salt, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth.
Scrape down the sides and add olive oil. Blend again. Add water and blend. If the paste is still too thick, add a tablespoon of water until the texture is a pourable sauce. When done, pour into a jar and keep this in the fridge.
Now complete your dish by chopping your asparagus spears into bite-sized chunks, cooking your pasta and grilling your chicken chipolatas.
For the pasta, follow pack instructions and also boil your asparagus in the same pot We need to boil the asparagus for at least 4 mins or until soft / desired texture. At the same time, grill your chicken chipolatas until cooked.
When the chipolatas are cooked, cut them up into bite-sized pieces too if desired.
Once that's done, measure up how much pasta you will be having. If you want it to be ~387 calories, then see the tip below. If not, after draining your pasta, tip the pasta back into the same pot, and add your asparagus, sausages and all the pesto sauce. Mix well and season with black pepper & chilli flakes. You can also top it off with more nutritional yeast flakes or parmesan if you are not vegan / feeling naughty. Enjoy!!
Hot tip: the pesto sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Counting calories: 100gr cooked wholewheat pasta + 2.5 chicken chipolata sausages (grilled in 1/2tbsp olive oil) + 4 asparagus spears, boiled + 1.5tbsp pesto sauce + black pepper and dash of chilli flakes = 387 calories.