Easiest Pesto Pasta

When we first starting exploring the yard at our new house, I noticed a few sad looking basil plants along the potato patch. Side note: I’ve learned that chickens kind of eat everything—like my chives, baby Swiss chard, baby lettuce—but only when they feel like it. So they miraculously left my plants alone for weeks until one day when one of them (probably Dolly Part-hen) decided they were a worthy snack. And once they’ve started, it doesn’t take long until there’s not much left!

Now while all of the outdoor plants I brought to the house got eaten (thank God the garden is fenced in) they ended up leaving the basil alone for a while and the plants grew back quite well!

But this weekend we started fencing in the potato patch so the chickens don’t have full run of the yard 24/7 (it would be nice to have grass, the absence of chicken poop everywhere, and no chicken sized holes to fall into all over the place) which meant we had to pick that basil. And fresh basil meant pesto pasta for dinner!

Recipe notes:

  • I used a mini kitchen aid food processor but any regular food processor works too
  • If you have a ton of basil to use up, you can store the pesto in the freezer in mini jars, Tupperware containers, or in ice cube trays (just transfer to a Tupperware once frozen—when we moved we tossed some terrifying looking pesto that I neglected to do this with)
  • The pesto will taste salty by itself but it’s perfect once mixed with pasta!
  • For a little extra protein (see below for specifics) you can add chicken, chicken sausage (my new fav), mozzarella cheese, or anything else you are fancying

Fueling notes:

  • Per cup of pasta this recipe packs 40 g of carbs, 7 g of protein, 7 g of fat
  • Pre-workout: pair with veggies 2 to 4 hours before your session.
    • If you decide to add protein (like chicken or chicken sausage), have closer to 3-4 hours before your sessions so you have time to digest
  • Post-workout: for a 3-4:1 ratio of carbs:protein, pair with a small to moderate amount of protein (chicken breast, mozzarella cheese, chicken sausage, etc) plus some color 1 to 2 hours after climbing
    • Example: for 2 cups of pasta, adding 6-13g of protein would get you to 20-27g overall (with the 14 from the pasta) for 80g of carbs
    • Note: I do NOT recommend calculating 100% of what you eat 100% of the time, but I just wanted to give you and idea of what this looks like when you do the math!

The Stuff

  • 1 lb pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packed cups of fresh basil
  • 1 small head/bulb of garlic
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The Steps

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding 1 tsp of salt to the water
  2. While the water is boiling, whip up that pesto! Stick the basil, garlic, oil, Parmesan cheese, and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth
  3. Once the pasta is ready, drain it and return it to the pan. Add in the pesto and mix.
  4. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy!

Did you make it? I’d love to see how it turned out! Tag @climbingdietitian on instagram.

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Published by Chiara

I’m a rock climber and registered dietitian teaching fellow climbers to become the strongest and happiest versions of themselves with evidence-based fueling strategies and by making peace with food.

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