October 7, 2009

Spinach Linguine With Edamame Pesto

by IsaChandra

Serves 4

You may or may not know that I’m working on a low fat cookbook. I was deeply concerned that this meant goodbye to some of my favorite dishes but with a few tricks, a lot of creativity and many hours searching thriftstores for 80s diet cookbooks, I’ve been able to keep myself satisfied and I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing much.

For instance, no one should suffer a life without pesto, but a pesto without pinenuts or walnuts seems lifeless. So what’s a girl to do? Once again, it’s soybeans to the rescue! Edamame has just enough fat and texture to make a lighter healthier pesto work. It also makes the pesto at once bulky and creamy. It’s a miracle, really. Oh, little soybean, what can’t you do?

In this dish I’ve sauteed some mushrooms for meatiness and red onions for a little tinge of sweetness. But you can use edamame pesto as a dip or as a topping for a baked potatoes, or as a filling for lasagna, or anywhere else that pesto would be appropriate. It’s really easy and versatile, too. It may not taste exactly like the super oily pesto we all know and love, but it tastes pretty darn good and it’s got a fraction of the fat so it won’t leave you feeling like you’re about to give birth to a pesto baby. Did I just ruin your appetite forever?

For the edamame pesto:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup packed basil leaves
Handful (1/4 cup or so) fresh cilantro
14 oz package shelled edamame, thawed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
optional: 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

For the pasta:
10 oz spinach linguine or other pasta

1 teaspoon olive oil
Small red onion, in thinly sliced half moons
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
Extra basil for garnish

Cooking spray

Put on a pot of salted water to boil. Then prepare the pesto:

Place garlic and basil in food processor and pulse a few times to get it chopped up. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until relatively smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula to make sure you get everything. Add a little more vegetable broth if it seems too stiff. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat a large pan over medium heat. At this point your pasta water should be ready, so add the linguine.

Saute onion in oil for about 5 minutes. Use a little cooking spray as needed, or a splash of water if you prefer. Mix in mushrooms, garlic, thyme and salt. Cover pot and cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

The pasta should be ready now, so drain it.

When the mushrooms have cooked down, add pasta to the pan, along with the pesto. Use a pasta spoon to stir and coat the linguine. Get everything good and mixed and the pesto heated through, about 3 minutes. The pesto should be relatively thick, but if it’s too thick (not spreading out and coating the pasta) add a few tablespoons of water. Taste for salt.

Serve immediately, garnished with a little fresh chopped basil.

  • October 7, 2009 at 2:28 am: Tara

    Genius! Thanks for the recipe!

  • October 7, 2009 at 2:41 am: k

    This looks amazing and will be great for my two fave vegans and their annoying nut allergy, kidding about the annoying part of course.

  • October 7, 2009 at 7:34 am: Meagan

    Wow, that is so creative! I’ll never had edamame before (gasp), but this makes me want to at least give it a try.

  • October 7, 2009 at 9:27 am: Gina

    This sounds worth trying. Yummy. I do love those little edamames, they’re awesome.

  • October 7, 2009 at 9:33 am: Laura

    I am so excited for your new book! i don’t think i’m alone, either :) this sounds amazing! i still haven’t found anything i can’t do with the almighty soybean!

  • October 7, 2009 at 9:54 am: Mary

    That sounds incredible. I love edamame, and I would eat this even if it had a cup of oil in it. hooray!

  • October 7, 2009 at 10:54 am: Jessie (Vegan-minded)

    This looks amazing! I love the idea of being able to eat pesto without having to limit myself to a tiny amount because I am worried about all the fat. Can’t wait to try it!

  • October 7, 2009 at 11:26 am: Anita

    This looks and sounds great; I will definitely be trying it. I also copied The Mex Snickerdoodle recipe and emailed it to myself so I won’t forget to make them.

    I couple of weeks ago my daughter and I made your chocolate cupcakes and icing, and want to try the cookies and cream version next. We are not vegan, are vegetarian, but trying to edge toward having more vegan meals. Our church has recently started an Ethical Eating group and several of the families are vegan or are doing a several week vegan challenge. My daughter’s birthday falls on the weekend of a church campout and I would like to bring b’day cupcakes that all the kids can eat. Do you think that these cupcakes would be okay unrefrigerated for 8-10 hours before they are eaten?

    Thanks a lot! (I just subscribed to your great blog.)


  • October 7, 2009 at 11:44 am: Michelle

    Ahh this is such a wonderful pesto recipe, it really sounds delicious…no pine nuts in it also makes this a slightly more cost effective sauce! heheheh

    Thank you for sharing the recipe!!

    P.s. I’m hosting a ZenSoy pudding and soy milk giveaway, so hope you stop by if you’re interested! :) Happy hump day!!

  • October 7, 2009 at 12:15 pm: Krys

    One word “YUM!”

  • October 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm: Ashley

    oh my goodness, i want to get all up in that pesto!

  • October 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm: Josiane

    I’ve made homemade pesto for the first time a few days ago, and loved it. I’d be curious to try it with edamame: it sounds fabulous! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  • October 7, 2009 at 3:38 pm: Ashley

    Yay pesto! I’d love to test for a low fat vegan cookbook!!!

  • October 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm: Christina

    So excited about a low-fat vegan cookbook!! Are you going to put nutritional information for all the recipes included? It’d be rad if you did!

  • October 7, 2009 at 5:13 pm: Bianca- Vegan Crunk

    That is such a beautiful green! I’m so excited about the book and this recipe.

  • October 7, 2009 at 7:07 pm: KT

    You must be some kind of ingenious sorceress… I would have *never* thought of making pesto out of edamame, but it makes so much sense! :D

  • October 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm: Mo

    Oh yeah!

  • October 7, 2009 at 9:04 pm: erin

    This sounds incredible! Straight into my Google Notebook you go.

  • October 8, 2009 at 2:27 am: annakarenina

    Sweet! I am really looking forward to your book.

  • October 8, 2009 at 3:48 am: Jess.

    I made this for dinner for my non-vegan family tonight and everyone loved it!
    I doubled the mushrooms though, only because I’m a mushroom fiend!
    Great recipe, will make again, thank you!!

  • October 8, 2009 at 11:23 am: RedRedRed

    Thanks so much for working on a low-fat book! I hate to have to eat low-fat, but my finicky stomach usually demands it. I love your recipes, and when the new book comes out, it’ll have a home on my shelf. :)

    And when the new cookie book comes out, it’s mine too — sometimes my stomach just has to deal. ;)

  • October 8, 2009 at 7:18 pm: Anthony

    Wow that looks really great. I am really excited for all your cookbooks and I’m sure the low-fat cookbook won’t disappoint. Your awesome!

  • October 9, 2009 at 2:50 am: The Voracious Vegan

    Soybeans really are amazing, aren’t they? I never would have thought to make a pesto with them, though. This looks AMAZING! Such a beautiful picture.

  • October 9, 2009 at 6:42 pm: Jenn Erickson/Rook No. 17

    A while back I whirred some edamame into my pesto in an attempt to get more green into my kids. It was delicious, but it still didn’t solve the high fat issue. Thank you for your wonderful recipe. I am going to try it on the family this week. It sounds positively fantastic.

    Jenn @ rookno17.blogspot.com

  • October 12, 2009 at 6:46 am: jojo

    Edamame pesto? That’s an awesome idea! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • October 13, 2009 at 9:51 am: Roxanne

    This sounds so good. I am not keen on pasta but I bet I could substitute the pasta for zucchini peels and it would be equally as good. I would also increase the mushrooms because I am a fiend like Jess.

  • October 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm: diet-meal-recipes

    Hello, good and explanatory article. I want to add a few points out. If you have tight cholesterol, then you may inquire, will a low fat diet lower cholesterol? This is a vital question, because it is a best known fact that the most capable way to lower cholesterol is straightforward diet. Certainly one factor of a diet for lowering cholesterol will include being low in fat. Only this is only part of the report. It is primary to realize that it is the saturated fats that you want to reject it from the foods you take.

  • October 14, 2009 at 10:43 am: maya938

    edamame, cilantro and nooch? and is that a mushroom i see? sign me up!!! i want, i want, i want

  • October 17, 2009 at 4:45 pm: Bea

    Just finished a plate hepaed high with this and it was AMAZING! Thanks so much for the recipe, it’s going to be repeated often.. and my husband’s verdict: ‘one of the best things i’ve eaten this year’.

  • October 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm: Cher

    OMG! I made this pesto tonight for my family and it was a HUGE hit! Pesto is one of my favorite things to eat, but I stay away from it because of all the fat. If the rest of the recipes are as good as this one, PLEASE hurry and finish the cookbook! BTW- nooch is NEVER optional!

  • November 9, 2009 at 9:25 pm: latifah

    That sounds incredible thanks for the recipe

  • November 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm: beat making software

    Wow, that is so creative

  • November 20, 2009 at 11:34 am: E.

    Seconding the nutritional information request! The only reason I didn’t buy the cookie book is that my clothes don’t fit anymore, so a low-fat cookbook with your stamp on it = heaven.

    Especially if there is a dessert section…

  • November 21, 2009 at 2:17 am: Angela

    This sounds great – definitely worth a try. Thanks for the recipe

  • December 5, 2009 at 11:43 pm: Paige Newman

    Looks great, and I admire your creativity!

  • January 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm: Katy

    Isa~I just wanted to let you know that I made this recipe last night and it was fantastic. It was amazing because something in it (maybe the edamame) mimicked the little bit of crunchiness that comes from the pine nuts in the pesto. I loved this recipe and had it again as leftovers for lunch today. Thanks! Can’t wait for the low fat cookbook.

  • April 17, 2010 at 10:21 pm: Trish

    This recipe is SO delicious! But you know that already. Just thought I’d give you more props, though. I just bought the edamame and basil to make another batch, and I can’t wait!

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  • November 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm: Andrea

    This is so delicious! Made it last night with pasta, and am eating it today as a pesto dip with pita chips. YUM! It has a freshness and lightness that is more appealing than regular pesto…and I am a pesto lover! Thank you!

  • February 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm: Soybean Mama

    This by far the best recipe I’ve ever tried. I want to rub the pesto on my body–that GOOD! LOL. Thanks for the awesome recipe. I have all of your books except for the Appetite for Reduction. Going to but it right now… THANKS!

  • April 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm: Whim97

    This was SO yummy!!! And I can’t wait to try the pesto in different recipes – thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • May 3, 2011 at 9:25 am: Danny

    Was I suppouse to use the edmame bean alone? without the outer layer… I don’t know what it’s called … the edmame with its outer layer ? It ended up splintoring in the pesto sauce and poking my mouth and throat… I think I made it wrong :(

    • May 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm: IsaChandra

      Yes, it should be just the bean inside. The outer shell is not edible. Sorry!

  • May 7, 2011 at 8:28 am: camille

    Made this tonight and used frozen broad beans instead of edamame because they’re tricky to find here (no Trader Joes). It was delicious! Thanks for the recipe

  • May 21, 2011 at 2:27 am: Erin

    Made this tonight and it was super delicious!! YUM!

  • June 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm: Amanda

    I made the whole recipe a few weeks ago and had some of just the pesto leftover so I froze it. I just reheated it for a side dish with my lunch – yummy!

  • July 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm: NinaV

    This is my absolute favorite! Love it. To make it even lower calorie I make pasta out of zucchini using a julienne peeler. So easy and quick to cook the zucchini in the microwave and then put the pesto on top with some nutritional yeast.

  • August 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm: Melissa N

    I have made this recipe twice. Its SO DELICIOUS! Edamame as pesto is brilliant! The second time I omitted the whole mushroom part of the recipe and I don’t think the pesto missed it. I didn’t have any mushrooms, anyways! You ROCK! Also, I used while wheat linguine.

  • September 14, 2011 at 2:03 am: Susan C

    This sounds amazing! I am allergic to cilantro – do you have suggestions for a replacement? Thanks!

  • September 14, 2011 at 4:11 am: Addis

    Sorry this may be a stupid question. I’d like to use fresh soybeans, do I have to boil them first, or do they just go raw into the processor? (Can’t tell whether the frozen pack would be cooked or no.)

  • December 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm: R Dickson

    Was my christmas meal for 2011. Tasty and very filling.

  • March 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm: K

    This was terrific! I’m amazed at how little oil is used. The only thing I’d say is taste before adding salt–the veggie broth I used had plenty and so the end product was a little saltier than I would have liked. But I’ll watch for that next time!

  • February 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm: Jill

    This was so good! I made it last night and ate waaaaay too much (when you wake up still with a food baby in tact, you know it was a good night :P) !

    Great recipe!

  • February 26, 2013 at 3:33 am: Livin_is_easy

    Just made this tonight and it was ridiculously delicious. I didn’t use all of the pesto and froze some in ice cube trays for later. Thank you so much!

  • March 2, 2013 at 6:03 am: Roxie Bate

    Just made it Yum YUm Yum, first time I ahev every used edamame, always a bit nervous trying new items. I have been a vegetarian for 24 years and a vegan for 3 weeks! chose vegan fro health reasons I am so fed up vegan /vegetarianism trying to imitate meat dishes I hate the taste of meat.now I have found your site I am in haven.
    QUESTION how long do you think I can keep the pesto in the fridge for or should I freeze it in portions?
    Also cant wait for you low fat cook book as i got a tone of weight to lose. need some fresh ideas, as getting a bit tiered of Rose Elliot yum foods

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  • August 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm: Sam H

    Made this last night! It was AMAZING (even though my blender was fussy and left some pretty hefty chunks of edamame.) It’s incredible how the edamame seemed to replicate cheese in a weird way. I do have a question. I’d love to make this for my boyfriend but he’s allergic to cilantro (I know, it’s horrible). Would you just replace the cilantro with more basil or what?

  • August 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm: susann

    I plan on making this today, but do I need to just let the frozen edamame thaw, or follow the microwave/stove top cooking directions on the package?

    • August 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm: IsaChandra

      You can microwave.

  • April 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm: Maryann

    I will make this recipe…..I just hope it turns out since I’m new at this…..trying my best to go vegan!!!!!

  • May 1, 2014 at 10:02 pm: Hannah Siegmund

    Oh my gosh this was so fantastically delicious. This is the best vegan pesto I’ve had, and it’s even healthy! Thank you Isa!

  • July 12, 2015 at 11:42 pm: Sunny

    Yum! Didn’t have the cilantro, but I used luscious basil I grew in my garden and because we didn’t have mushrooms, I chopped some oil free sundried tomatoes that I’d soaked and added at the end with the sautéed onion and garlic. Wonderful!