Spinach Linguine with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes

This is the dinner I chose to make for my family when I went home to visit last week. I didn't want to scare them away with tofu or seitan or nutritional yeast or anything crazy like that so I stuck with something EVERYONE loves. You'd have to be nuts to think that pesto is anything less than divine. However, this is a basil-cilantro pesto which I know may not be agreeable to everyone but I promise, it's awesome. I had never made it before and was nervous that the cilantro could easily take over but it really didn't. It was delicious and everyone loved it. Oh, and I got this recipe from one of my absolute favorites, Veganomicon.

Serves 4 (I doubled it because I was cooking for 7 people)

1/2 pound spinach linguine
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium-size red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. white cooking wine, vegetable broth, or water (I used white wine)
1/2 tsp. salt
Several pinches of ground black pepper
1 recipe Basil-Cilantro pesto... See below
1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced in half (don't use the jarred kind in oil, it's too oily for this! Get the kind that comes in brine)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While your water is boiling, make the pesto. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Once you've added the pasta, proceed with the rest of the recipe.

2. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat (I used a wok-style skillet and found that it worked really well). Saute the onion in olive oil until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more. Add the white wine, salt, and pepper, and cook for another minute or two. Lower the heat to low. At this point, the linguine should be done.

3. When the linguine is done, don't drain it. Use a pasta spoon to transfer it to the pan in batches. This is so you can use the pasta water to thin the pesto out a bit and make sure everything gets coated. After each spoonful of pasta, add a bit of the pesto, and using the pasta spoon, saute to coat. If at the end it seems dry, just add a little more pasta water.

4. Add the artichoke hearts and toss to coat. Cook gently over low heat just until the artichokes are heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately!

Basil-Cilantro Pesto
(It's a good idea to make this while the water for your pasta is boiling)


Of course it would have been much easier to make the pesto in a food processor but it wasn't available to me so I spent ten hours trying to make it in a blender. It came out a little chunky, but it really didn't matter.

makes about 1 cup (Again, I doubled this)

2 cups of loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (I used non-fresh...)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients but olive oil in the food processor or blender and blend until pasty, scraping down the sides occasionally. With the food processor on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Or, if you're using a blender, just add it at the end. Blend until smooth and do your best to get rid of the chunks.

I served this with steamed broccoli and roma tomatoes (to give my dish a little more color!)
I just steamed the broccoli in a large pot, then when it was bright green I strained the water and set the broccoli aside. I then heat up some olive oil and garlic and when the garlic became fragrant I added the broccoli. Then I tossed that around with some salt and pepper, threw in the tomatoes, and that was it!

This meal got all thumbs up from vegans, omnivores, and vegetarians alike!