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pesto without pine nuts served over whole wheat pasta on a white plate with a fork and knife
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5 from 3 votes

Pesto Without Pine Nuts: Whole Wheat Penne with Walnut Sage Pesto

This healthy pesto without pine nuts is the perfect pasta dish for a quick and easy weeknight meal. The walnut and sage pesto is packed full of earthy flavors and is lower in fat and calories than the store bought.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 240kcal
Author: Anjali Shah


  • 1 10oz bag baby spinach
  • 4 zucchini quartered and sliced
  • 4 cups cooked whole wheat penne (about 3 cups uncooked)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2.5 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 8 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (1 tbsp per serving)


  • Cook penne according to package directions, cool and set aside.
  • Spray a pan with cooking spray, heat over medium heat. Add zucchini and 2 cloves minced garlic and stir fry lightly (for about 5 min max). Add spinach, garlic salt and oregano and cook through until spinach is wilted. Set aside.
  • Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, and next 5 ingredients (through 1 clove garlic) in a food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides.
  • With processor on, slowly pour broth through food chute, processing until well blended.
  • Combine penne and pesto in a pot on low heat until combined and heated through. Add pepper and mix well. Add in vegetables and serve warm, top with 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese per serving.


Top tips to make Whole Wheat Penne with Walnut Sage Pesto
  • Cook the pasta al-dente (with bite).
  • Use whole wheat pasta for added fiber.
  • Use chickpea pasta for added protein and to make it a gluten free dish.
  • Keep leftovers covered in the fridge and gently reheat. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. This dish also freezes well.
  • Add in any veggies you like! I used zucchini and baby spinach, but asparagus, other squashes, or even broccoli would work well in this dish.


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 415mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g