Pesto Penne Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Spinach (with oil)

Recipe by Vegan Recipes and Vibes (@veganrecipesandvibes)

Pesto Penne Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Spinach (with oil)

Yield: 6 servings | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes


Pesto penne pasta, vegan style! This is a classic pesto recipe, minus the dairy and expensive pine nuts. I found that walnuts are a great substitution since they're soft, nutty, and add some earthiness to the pesto. The trick for this recipe is to use really good olive oil, since that gives the pesto a lot of flavor. This vegan pesto penne can be enjoyed warm or cold. Make some extra pesto to save for other recipes!


  • 1 box (16oz) penne pasta (I used whole wheat)

  • 1 container (10oz) of cherry tomatoes

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 4-5 large handfuls of fresh spinach

  • Salt & pepper to taste

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 3 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/3 cup walnuts

  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

  • Meanwhile, chop your tomatoes and garlic.

  • Add the tomatoes to a frying pan over medium heat. Add a splash of water so they don't stick to the pan.

  • Cook the tomatoes for 3-4 minutes, then add in your garlic. Cook for another 2-3 min.

  • Add all your spinach to the pan and cook until wilted.

  • Set aside until needed.

  • While the veggies cook, make your pesto.

  • Add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor or mini NutriBullet and blend until everything is chopped and combined. ○ If your pesto is looking a little too thick, you can add more olive oil or even a tiny splash of water.

  • By now your pasta should be done boiling. Drain and place back into the pot.

  • Add the tomatoes, spinach, and pesto to your pasta.

  • Mix gently until the pasta is coated evenly.

  • Serve immediately with a little bit of vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast on top!


Tips and Tricks:

  • You can enjoy this dish hot or cold.

  • This is a very customizable dish -- add vegan chicken or sausage, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, or any other veggies you think would go well in here.

  • You can also make this recipe with my oil-free pesto recipe!

Nutrition & Servings: (calculated by MyFitnessPal)

Whole Wheat Barilla Penne:

  • Servings: 6

  • Calories: 439

  • Total Fat: 23.5g

  • Carbs: 51.1g

  • Protein: 10.5g

White Barilla Penne:

  • Servings: 6

  • Calories: 473

  • Total Fat: 23g

  • Carbs: 59.3g

  • Protein: 11.6g

^ Nutrition facts do not include additional toppings. Nutrition facts may change slightly if additional ingredients are added.

Tag me on Instagram @veganrecipsandvibes


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