The recipe and photography for this post was provided by Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.
‘Tis the season for asparagus! This is one of my favorite spring vegetables because it’s quick to prep, quick to cook and full of nutrients. We often enjoy it as a simple roasted side dish, but I love it incorporated into pasta, especially when paired with fresh herbs. If you don’t have asparagus, green beans or broccoli are easy swaps and just as delicious.
To keep things light and fresh, this pasta dish gets tossed in a homemade pesto featuring parsley, one of my favorite fresh herbs to highlight in the spring. I chose walnuts for this version, but you can also sub in pine nuts or almonds.
We’ve become fast fans of Banza, a pasta made from chickpeas! It’s a good source of fiber and high in protein (each serving contains 13 grams of protein, about twice the amount of traditional pasta). Heinen’s carries a variety of Banza products (look for them near the other dried pasta products), but this recipe works just as well with any pasta you have on hand.
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For the Pasta
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
- 1 lb. thin chicken cutlets (about ½-inch thick)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 8 oz. Banza cavatappi pasta
For the Pesto
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
- Toss asparagus with ½ Tbsp. olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Line in a single layer on half of the sheet pan. Place the chicken cutlets on the other half of the sheet pan and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, then slice asparagus and chicken into bite-size pieces.
- To make the pesto, combine parsley, salt, walnuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add additional salt to taste and set aside.
- Cook the pasta to al dente (about 6-7 minutes), being sure not to overcook. Drain well and toss with pesto, asparagus and chicken.