This warm pasta & pesto salad is amazing – especially when it’s eaten with fresh hummus. Use the fussili wholewheat pasta for best results, although you can always add in a little of the shell style pasta too. Penne is the wrong shape in my opinion. Generally I think the cooking times on pasta packets are a little conservative. But on this occasion, it said 8 to 10 minutes. I gave it 10, which was still a little al dente, but that was just what the salad needed.
It’s best to do the pesto, the day before or certainly before you start the main salad. This is because trying to do too many things at once can make things go awry. Also, the pesto benefits a little from sitting in the fridge and cooling down after the food processing. One batch of the pesto, seems just about right but use more or less according to your tastes.
I find batch cooking things in the actifry to be the easiest solution. Also, as the peppers, chillies and sausages need around 14 minutes, cooking them all in together saves time. The tomatoes need to be done separately or they will get mangled by the sausages. 10 minutes seems right for them, but that’s a matter of judgement.
If you cook the last lot of veggies while you’re doing the pasta, the whole thing will be warm, rather then piping hot. This is good, because you don’t want to overheat the pesto and spoil the lovely fresh flavour of the home-made basil pesto. My friend Linda tried to turn me onto pesto years ago, but I never twigged until recently why she loved it so much!
Warm Pasta & Pesto Salad
- 3 whole Red, yellow or orange peppers one of each is good
- 4 whole red chillies
- 300 g baby plum tomatoes a supermarket box
- 1 batch of vegan green pesto recipe on this site link in the main post
- 200 g wholewheat fussili pasta
- 50 g extra virgin olive oil approx
- 6 whole Linda McCartney vegan sausages - frozen or similar
- 50 g lightly toasted pine nuts optional ingredient
- 60 g green olives cut in half
- Before starting prepare one batch of my special vegan green pesto and put in the fridge.
- Chop the peppers into reasonably small pieces - around 2cm, the chillies much smaller.
- put the peppers & chillies in the actifry for 14 minutes with a little olive oil along with the frozen sausages
- cut the baby plum tomatoes in half lengthways and give them 10 minutes in the actifry
- Meanwhile bring 3 litres of water to the boil
- When boiling add in the fusilli and cook for 10 minutes - it want's to be very slightly al dente
- Cut the sausages in half, then into around 6 half-round pieces
- Add all the vegies to the bowl
- add in the cooked pasta and sausages to the veggies
- If the pasta, sausages, peppers and tomatoes have all just finished cooking, when you add the chillled pesto, you will end up with a delicious warm salad.
- Mix the pesto and pasta well together to distribute the pesto evenly.
- Tastes great with fresh hummus.