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Forkful of twirled spaghetti with asparagus pesto
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Easy Asparagus Pesto

This easy asparagus pesto tossed with angel hair pasta has amazing flavor. Everyone thinks  "basil "  when they hear the word "pesto," but fresh asparagus gives it a new spin. Although great on pasta, the pesto is also delicious as a sauce for salmon or chicken, or a sandwich spread. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: pasta
Cuisine: Italian-American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 602kcal


  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • ¼ cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 to 3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt more to taste
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan 2 oz.
  • 12 oz. pasta such as angle hair or thin spaghetti
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  • Add the asparagus and cook until tender but not mushy, about 7 minutes. Scoop out the asparagus using a large slotted spoon or perforated ladle, transfer to a colander and rinse under cold running water. Pat the asparagus dry and reserve a few tips for garnish. Return the water in the pot to a boil. 
  • In a food processor, combine the asparagus, pine nuts, garlic, spinach, olive oil, and salt and process until very finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
  • If necessary, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to the pesto, stirring to combine for desired consistency. Add the pasta to the bowl with the pesto and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, garish with the reserved asparagus tips.


This pesto can also be made with broccoli following the same instructions.
Try these other amazing pasta recipes:
Lasagne Bolognese
Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Pasta


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 602kcal | Carbohydrates: 74.3g | Protein: 19.7g | Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 7.2mg | Sodium: 509.7mg | Sugar: 5.3g