Deconstructed pesto pasta

Deconstructed pesto pasta

I know the whole ‘deconstructed’ thing can sometimes be used as an excuse to be pretentious (however you try to convince me, a slice of apple and a biscuit on a plate is not a ‘deconstructed apple pie’), but in this case it’s really just a way of saving on washing up – so basically the least high-class thing ever. This deconstructed pesto pasta has all the usual elements of pesto – pine nuts, basil, olive oil, parmesan – but rather than having to use a food processor, they’re just stirred through the pasta as is. All the flavour, but none of the fuss.

Deconstructed pesto pasta

I also added some chickpeas to my pasta for an extra hit of protein, and to bulk out the pasta with something a bit more nutritionally dense. White pasta isn’t the most healthy thing to be eating, but I can’t quite bring myself to make the switch to whole wheat (for some reason I prefer brown rice to white, but I find brown pasta somewhat reminiscent of cardboard), so I try to compensate for this indulgence in other ways. I also topped the dish with some juicy roasted tomatoes – perfect to add some colour and an incredible sweetness. I am yet to find any vegetable that isn’t drastically improved by roasting. Answers on a postcard please.

Deconstructed pesto pasta

I usually eat pesto pasta hot, but it also makes a great pasta salad if eaten cold. It would be perfect for lunch boxes – just stick it in a tub and off you go. Much cheaper than those premade pesto pasta salads you can buy in the shops – 2 quid for a tiny portion! For just fifteen minutes of effort the night before, you can make your own.

Deconstructed pesto pasta

Deconstructed pesto pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main meal
Yield: 2
  • ~10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 150g pasta (I used penne)
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3tbsp pine nuts
  • 150g tinned chickpeas (drained)
  • 6tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 20g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, shaved
  1. Heat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F). Scatter the halved tomatoes in a baking dish, and season with salt and black pepper (I didn't use any oil, but if your dish tends to stick then you might need a little). Roast for around 25 minutes.
  2. About ten minutes after putting the tomatoes in the oven, begin the rest of the dish. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and add the garlic and pine nuts. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until fragrant but not coloured. Add the chickpeas, and cook for a further 5 minutes to warm through.
  4. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan with the chickpeas. Add the fresh basil, and mix well to coat the pasta with the oil.
  5. Serve warm or cold, topped with the roasted tomatoes and a few shavings of parmesan.


  1. Miri says

    Pretty certain cucumber wouldn’t roast particularly well… ;-) Of course, that is technically a fruit. ;-)

    Btw, I think there may be a correlation between the fact that this page is making my mouth water even though I’ve already had supper and I’m not hungry, and the fact that your food blog’s the only one I follow (or spend happy hours browsing through). The fact that I quite often direct other people to your blog (vegetarians; people who eat meat but who appreciate veggie food (these tend to be people who’ll have fish/meat 1-3 times a week but largely eat veggie); people who eat meat and who mention in my hearing that they get a little nervous when they need to cater for veggies; anybody silly enough to try to say veggie food is boring/lacks flavour/variety… Many people get told to come here!) may also correlate with these statements.

    • says

      Ahhh Miri you’re too kind! Thank you so much for sending people my way!! :)

      And I think you might be right about the cucumber ;) maybe that should be my next challenge?

  2. says

    I like your deconstructed pesto idea, especially with the addition of the roasted tomatoes! I often add chickpeas to my recipes, too, for extra protein. I use a gluten-free pasta for me, quinoa-based pasta being my current favorite, and a whole wheat or white pasta for the rest of my family. The younger ones do complain from time about the whole grain pasta but I still serve it.
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