Alison is a registered dietitian, board-certified in oncology nutrition, and a cancer thriver. Her expertise in oncology nutrition and personal experience with her own cancer diagnosis and its treatment provide her with the unique perspective of being able to relate to her clients on an entirely different level. Her content is consistently focused on evidence-based guidelines and seeks to increase the awareness of the power of nutrition to complement traditional cancer therapies.
Lauren is seriously the best at throwing together the best recipes inspired simply by whatever she has in her kitchen. She is the best at creating something delicious out of nothing.
Today’s recipe for Pesto Pasta Stew was created out of that same process. We like to refer to it as “hodgepodge” meals. If you’re a regular here (which we’d love you to be!), you’ll notice we share other hodgepodge recipes, like our Hodgepodge Veggie Wraps.
Here are a few of our favorite kitchen/cooking hacks to help make this easy weeknight meal even easier!
We really aren’t fans of fresh celery, but we do enjoy it in soups, pot pies, etc. Since we don’t use it very often we tend to purchase one head, chop it all at one time, and freeze it in separate 2 stalk containers. It reduces waste while also making it more convenient for you!
Pre-Portioned Tomato Paste
We used to open a can of tomato paste and put the leftovers in a container in the fridge and forget about it until it’s too late. Instead, once we open a jar, we measure the paste in 2 tablespoon portions and lay on a wax or parchment paper lined cookie sheet and place it in the freezer. Once frozen, we add them to a small container and keep them in the freezer until we need it to make a soup like this, or our Hearty Vegetable Chili.
Making Dairy-Free Pesto
Unfortunately, finding dairy-free pesto is pretty hard to find in grocery stores. But we love pesto! So, we decided to make our own. Since this recipe only uses 2 tablespoons (which we believe is the perfect amount to give this stew an explosion of flavor), we use the similar technique as the celery and tomato paste. We freeze them in small containers, each with 2 tablespoons. When we want to make this stew or our Smashed Avocado, Chickpea, Pesto Sandwiches, there is no need to pull out the food processor to make it fresh each time!
If you don’t have these items already stocked, consider it the first time you make this delicious Pesto Pasta Stew so you’re ready to make several of our recipes even easier to make!
Makes: 6 servings
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped*
2 small zucchini (or, 1 if large)
2, 15-ounce cans kidney beans
1, 28-ounce can no salt added crushed tomatoes
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste**
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dairy-free pesto***
Salt, to taste
3 cups, whole grain pasta of choice
*We buy one head of celery and dice all of the stalks ahead of time and freeze in individual portions, about 2 stalks. When we make soup, we have it all ready to go!
**We hate waste and opening a can of tomato paste for the rest to go to waste! After opening a can of tomato paste, portion into 2 tablespoon servings on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Freeze. Once frozen, add to a container so you can pull out 2 tablespoons whenever you need it!
***We do the same thing here after we make our pesto recipe. Freeze in 2 tablespoon servings and use whenever you make this soup or our Smashed Avocado, Chickpea, Pesto Sandwiches!
Heat a large saucepan to medium-high heat. While it is heating, dice your onion. Once the pan is hot, add the onion and season lightly with salt. Sauté until translucent and lightly brown, about 5-7 minutes. If the onion begins to stick, add 1 tablespoon of water or vegetable broth at a time to help prevent sticking.
Dice your other veggies while the onions are cooking.
Once the onions are done, add the celery and peppers until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the zucchini and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add beans, tomatoes, veggie broth, tomato paste, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, black pepper, and pesto. Stir and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the pasta and cook for an additional 9-10 minutes, until pasta is cooked.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve with fresh basil.
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