When Clean Eating reached out to discuss collaborating, my heart smiled. I’ve been contributing to CE for many years now and I’ve always enjoyed the authentic content, fresh recipes and positive outlook the mag delivers. Each day, I work to perfect my craft with recipes, food styling, beautiful food imagery and developing hundreds of clean recipes for my cookbooks and television shows. A few years ago, I made a conscious choice to dedicate my landscape of work to eating clean. What a great feeling! I am truly living the life that I am gratefully able to share with you on these pages. There isn’t a recipe out there I created that I didn’t test myself – or on my friends, family and boyfriend.
To me, food is about pleasure, nourishment and integrity and I am so proud to eat clean. I feel good about what we are doing for others, our health, the planet and our future. I am so excited to contribute some of my Clean Green Eats to all of you each month, right here on these pages. So let’s get right to it! In light of our annual Budget Issue, I decided to share a filling, simple pasta with a light almond pesto.
Read Candice Kumai's 5 Tips to Save Money While Eating Clean.
Making homemade pesto pasta is a soulful ritual in my Clean Green Kitchen, and I want you to feel that same love and nourishment in yours. Once you see how simple and delicious it is to whip up fresh, clean meals at home (like this almond pesto pasta), you’ll never go back to the oily, jarred, oxidized store-bought stuff again. This clean and nutritious pesto is full of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E. I still use all the traditional ingredients – garlic, olive oil, salt, basil and raw almonds – for a creamy, nutty and protein-packed sauce. A little of this potent pesto goes a long way, so use sparingly! I hope you enjoy this fresh, filling meal made with love.
Candice Kumai: Chef, healthy lifestyle expert and best-selling author of five cookbooks including Clean Green Eats (Harper Wave, 2015). Kumai has appeared as a judge on Iron Chef America and is a regular contributor on The Dr. Oz Show and E! News.
- 3/4 cup whole raw almonds
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (measure with minimal oil)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups penne or bow-tie pasta (whole-wheat or gluten-free)
- 1 to 2 tbsp thinly shaved Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, optional
- To a food processor, add almonds and pulse until ground. Add basil, garlic, tomatoes and salt; pulse again to combine. Once ingredients are somewhat mealy, gradually add oil and ¼ cup water and process until the mixture is finely chopped yet still has texture, about 1 minute. Pulse in lemon juice.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. When it’s al dente (firm to the tooth), strain and cool slightly. Transfer warm pasta to a large bowl and toss with 1/3 cup pesto until coated. Add sautéed kale, if desired. Top with fresh basil and cheese (if using), and enjoy!