Green Olive Pesto Pasta with Asparagus

Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 20 min
Servings: 4 Skill Level: easy

Olives make this pesto extra creamy for a vegan main dish that really satisfies.



  • 2 cups basil, lightly packed
  • ¾ cup Pearls Simply Olives Green Ripe Pitted Olives, drained
  • 1/3 cup raw pine nuts
  • 2-3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed (to your taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pasta and asparagus

  • 12 ounces penne or other dry pasta
  • 2 bunches asparagus (1½ – 2 pounds, 6 cups prepped)
  • ¼ cup non-dairy creamer (or heavy cream if not vegan), more as needed
  • ¾ cup Pearls Simply Olives Green Ripe Pitted Olives, drained and halved
  • For serving: chili flakes and basil leaves

Cooking Instructions

  1. Blanch and shock the basil, if desired. This keeps the pesto bright green for up to a week in the refrigerator. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath in a medium bowl. Add the basil to the boiling water and cook until bright green, 15 seconds. Immediately remove basil with a slotted spoon and add to the ice water bath until cool. Squeeze excess water out of the basil and place the basil in a blender or food processor.
  2. In the body of a blender or food processor, combine the blanched basil, ¾ cup olives, pine nuts, garlic, and salt. Blend or process until coarsely combined.
  3. Blend in the olive oil to form a thick sauce. Taste, adding more salt or garlic if you feel the dish needs it. Store, refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Makes about 1½ cups.
  4. Meanwhile, add salt to the water used to blanch the basil, or if you did not blanch the basil, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  5. Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus and cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths. Drop the asparagus in the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 1-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the asparagus and set aside.
  6. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring, until al dente per the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
  7. Return the pasta to the pan and add the asparagus, pesto, halved olives, a splash of pasta water, and enough cream to loosen the sauce. Cook over low heat until warmed through and creamy, adding a splash of pasta water if the pan looks dry. Taste, adding more salt, if needed.
  8. Spoon into bowls and top with your toppings of choice, if using.

with Us