Zucchini / Courgette Cashew Pesto Penne

In the last few days, the summer breezes have started to turn into autumn winds. While the sun is still shining, I'm trying to make the most of time spent outside, either popping on a jumper to enjoy evenings in the garden for a bit longer, or walking through the dene with my dog. At this time of year, I'm often overcome with an anxiety over whether I've made the most of the warm weather and all the season has to offer.

Luckily, there seems to be no let up in the summer bounty around here. We've been absolutely inundated with courgettes from our local farm, as well as greens, tomatoes and other lovely fresh flavours. I decided to go on a bit of a summer flavour kick before the inevitable season of all things pumpkin and cinnamon begins. This dish was my favourite of the resulting experiments.

This recipe is super simple and pretty quick to make. It's bursting with freshness, with a tiny bit of nutty cheesy-nes to balance things out. Whether or not you're a fan of courgettes or kale, you should give this a try!

Zucchini / Courgette Cashew Pesto Penne

Serves 2


200g (about 2 cups) dry whole wheat penne pasta

1 zucchini / courgettes, halved and thinly sliced

2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, in the skin

A large handful of kale, stems removed, chopped

A handful of cashews

½ cup fresh basil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast


  1. Preheat the oven to 220c (430f).

  2. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions.

  3. Once drained, run the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process.

  4. Toss the courgette and garlic with 1 teaspoon of oil.

  5. Roast in a lined dish for 15 minutes.

  6. Remove the dish from the oven and add the kale and cashews on top.

  7. Roast for a further 5 minutes.

  8. Remove around ¼ of the roasted cashews, chop and set aside for topping the pasta.

  9. Remove around ¼ of the roasted courgettes and set aside.

  10. Squeeze out the garlic cloves and add these, the rest of the courgette and cashews, and the kale to a blender with 3 tablespoons of water, the basil, lemon juice, salt and nutritional yeast.

  11. Blend until a paste is formed. You don't want this to be completely smooth - be sure to leave some texture.

  12. Heat a pan over a medium heat. Add the pasta, roasted courgettes, blended sauce and the rest of the olive oil and cook until warmed through.

  13. Serve topped with the roasted cashews.



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