Malunggay Pesto Pasta Recipe

Healthy Filipino | Main Dishes | Recipes
January 5th, 2020
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This Malunggay Pesto is made with fresh malunggay leaves, spinach, cashews, and vegan Parmesan.  It’s one of the easier pasta sauces to make when you are in a hurry to get dinner on the table.

Malunggay Pesto

Pesto is one of the easier sauces to make especially if you have a food processor or blender.  There is zero cooking involved and the key here is fresh is best.  In this recipe I used fresh malunggay leaves as I am lucky enough to be able to buy it from my local farmers market, Seafood City or 99 Ranch.  However you can make this with malunggay powder.  Keep reading and I’ll give you some easy modifications.

I’ve been wanting to make this pesto sauce for a while since my IG friend The Rice Bowl Diaries posted about it a few months ago.  The time has finally come!

What you need to make Malunggay Pesto Sauce

I swear it’s this easy.  Just put everything in a food processor and blender.  Then blitz away until it’s all nice and super smooth and creamy.

To serve

Simply make some pasta noodles, any will do.  Don’t forget to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  This helps loosen up the pasta when adding the sauce.  I’ve used this Malunggay Pesto sauce on spaghetti, macaroni and farfalle.  It all works.

Mix in as much or as little pesto as you wish.  I like lots.

There is something mentally satisfying when eating green food.  With all the vitamins, iron, magnesium and yes even protein in Malunggay, this is hands down one of the most nutritious pastas you can have.

Toppings

With Malunggay being a super earthy, it’s good to pair it with something briny.  I found some gourmet Tuyo via my friend Betty while viewing her Instagram stories.  Tuyo is a salted dried fish, but Lovely brine’s them in olive oil, bay leaf and pepper corns.  It’s such a nice addition to the pasta.

Anchovies are also a good replacement to the tuyo or even capers.

The roasted cashews already adds a touch of creaminess to the pasta, but if you wanted a little bit more.  Add some burrata.  It’s a nice finishing touch.

You will make more pesto than you need for this pasta so put the leftovers in a jar and save it for another pasta dish, or even spread it on some nice crusty bread.  It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

For more  Filipino inspired goodness in your life follow along on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.  Or subscribe to get these recipes in your inbox.  And if you make this Malunggay Pesto Pasta f I would love to see it.  Tag your Instagram snaps with @rezelkealoha and #rezelkealohaeats.
Malunggay Pesto Pasta
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Malunggay Pesto Pasta

This Malunggay Pesto is made with fresh malunggay leaves, spinach, cashews, and vegan Parmesan. It’s one of the easier pasta sauces to make when you are in a hurry to get dinner on the table.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino, Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Author Rezel Kealoha

Ingredients

For The Pesto

  • 1 Cup Fresh Malunggay Leaves
  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Roasted Cashews
  • 1/2 Cup Green Onions Chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves Chopped
  • 1 Cup Vegan Parmesean
  • 1 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper

Pasta

  • 16 Oz Spaghetti

Toppings

  • 1/4 Cup Tuyo or Capers
  • 8 Oz Burrata Cheese

Equipment

  • Food Processor or Blender

Instructions

Pesto

  1. Put all the pesto ingredients in the food processor or blender.  Blitz for 1-2 minutes until it's all nice and smooth, scraping down the sides when nessesary.  Transfer the pesto into a clean jar.

Pasta

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining. 

  2. Add in up to 1 cup of pesto into the pasta and the reserved pasta water.  Mix well.  Transfer to a large serving platter.  Top with burrata cheese and tuyo or capers.

Recipe Notes

If you do not have access to fresh Malunggay leaves replace with 2 Tablespoons Malunggay (Moringa Powder).

AND add an extra cup and a half of spinach.

You can also replace the Tuyo with capers or omit from the recipe all together.

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