Friday, March 16, 2012

Hazelnut Pesto with Vegan Chicken, Broccoli and Orecchiette Pasta

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St.Patrick's Day is almost upon us and so last night I decided I should wrap up this week with something green. Like many willful people, I got a certain idea in my head and then focused on making it happen as soon as possible. I wanted to make something with fresh spinach and fragrant basil and lots of  emerald colored flavor. In my Mediterranean heart that instantly meant pesto. 

See I'm still quite new to this whole Irish thing and the Sicilian half of my DNA has decided it won't give up that easily. 

It wasn't till I sat down to eat that it hit me that besides the color - there really was not much that "Irish" per se about this dinner. It's still a great recipe though that I'm happy to share. Fast and easy and everything you need for a weekday dinner or a quick dinner before a night on the town of green beer and wooo-hoooing* if that's your thing.  

Either way - Start your food processors! Let's pesto! 

Hazelnut Pesto with Vegan Chicken, Broccoli and Orecchiette  
  • 1 package of Orecchiette Pasta
  • 2 Cups Your Favorite Vegan Chicken (defrosted)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Broccoli Florets
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach 
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Hazelnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice 
  • 3 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Peel
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoon Crushed Black Peppercorns or Lemon Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
  • Crushed Pink Himalayan Salt to taste
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Heat oven to 375. 

Spray your glass baking dish with Olive Oil Cooking Spray and arrange your Vegan Chicken so that they aren't touching. Put your dish into your oven to brown. You'll want to pull them them out once they have a crispy crust and golden brown edges. 

Make your Pasta per instructions on the package . 

Now we recommend steaming your Broccoli but if you don't have a steamer, you can toss them in with your pasta while cooks. You'll want to wait till your Pasta is tender on the outside but still has a hard center. Then toss in the Broccoli and cover your pot to let them boil with your Pasta until your Pasta and Broccoli are tender. Then drain them together. 

Right before your Pasta is ready, toss your Spinach, Basil, Parsley and Hazelnuts in your amazing food processor and puree until it makes a paste. 

In your largest mixing bowl, toss your Vegan Chicken, Pasta, Broccoli, Spinach Blend and the remaining ingredients until completely blended. Then you're done! 

Buon appetito!

*I've never been cool (is that the right word?) enough to be a woo girl really but I can imagine they desire quick, easy and non-fatting meals that will give them more time to hit the town in bebe shirts and spray tans and to enjoy El Nino Margaritas

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