Roasted root vegetable pasta with kale pesto is a hearty and nutritious one-bowl meal. A perfect way to celebrate the flavors of the fall season.
If you love roasted root vegetables raise your hand. My hand is raised, is yours?! I know it is because who doesn’t love roasted root vegetables! In fact I love root vegetables in a variety of ways, but it should come as no surprise that roasting is my favorite.
After all, roasting brings out the sweetness in everything and I have one heck of a sweet tooth. Put me in front of a tray of fresh-from-the-oven crispy, caramelized carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, and any winter squash and they may not make it to the plate, or bowl as is the case in this recipe!
I first posted this roasted root vegetable pasta recipe in the fall of 2011, back when my husband had sent me this NY Times recipe for Quinoa with Roasted Winter Vegetables and Pesto. This was almost a year before my girls were born and we lived in the city and belonged to a CSA.
I had just received a bounty of vegetables including a basket full of sweet potatoes, a bunch of kale, a rutabaga, and a small head of broccoli, so it was the perfect way to put all those nutritious and delicious vegetables to use. I think I was out of quinoa the day I made this, so I used pasta instead.
Now five years later, I decided to revamp the recipe once again (it was in much need of new photos – thanks Kaleigh!), and in doing so have changed up some of the included vegetables.
This roasted root vegetable pasta includes so many veggies you will for sure meet your quota for the day. We’ve got sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnip, cauliflower, and onions all in this one dish.
Oh, and kale too, thanks to the kale pesto that lightly coats both the pasta and roasted veggies. I make this pesto with walnuts (something I learned about on a visit many years ago to the California walnut harvest), but you can just as easily make any version of pesto you’d like. Go the traditional route with basil and pine nuts or switch it up and use spinach or arugula pureed with almonds or pistachios.
Or keep it nut-free as I do for my Mushroom-Onion Truffle Pesto Pizza (also in need of a photo makeover!) – you’ll see that pesto also includes ricotta cheese to save on some calories – see, I told you the possibilities are endless!
The great thing about pesto is that you can save some for another use, whether the pizza I just mentioned or as a topping for soup – I have a recipe for that coming next week, so save some pesto and stay tuned!
This Fall Roasted Root Vegetable Pasta with Kale Pesto is super easy to make and quite fast too – roasting the vegetables takes the most time of anything here, and you can get everything else ready while they’re in the oven.
If you’re looking for some additional protein to round out the meal, diced grilled chicken would be a perfect add-in or serve this roasted root vegetable pasta as a side dish to a piece of beef, chicken, or fish instead.
However you serve it, I hope you enjoy! Mangia!
Fall Roasted Root Vegetable Pasta with Kale Pesto
For the roasted root veggies and pasta:
- 1 small orange sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 small purple sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 medium beets peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 6 rainbow carrots peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large parsnip peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 of a large head of cauliflower cut into florets
- 1/2 of a medium red onion chopped into medium chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt divided
- 1 pound whole wheat pasta
For the Kale Pesto:
- 1 1/2 bunches kale chopped
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese plus more for garnish (if desired)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
For the roasted root veggies and pasta:
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spread sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and parsnips in a single layer on one baking sheet and toss with half the olive oil and half the salt. Spread the cauliflower and onions on the second baking sheet and toss with the rest of the oil and salt.
- Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside. The cauliflower and onion will need less time than the other vegetables, so keep an eye on them.
- While the vegetables are roasting, cook the pasta according to package directions and prepare the pesto. Reserve some pasta water before draining.
For the kale pesto:
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Blanch the kale by adding it to the pot of boiling water and cooking for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from pot and run under cold water to stop cooking. Strain and squeeze out excess liquid.
- In a large food processor, puree blanched kale, walnuts, garlic, cheese, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice until smooth.
- To serve, drain the pasta and gently toss with the roasted root vegetables and pesto. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed to thin out the pesto and coat the pasta and vegetables. Serve hot with extra parmesan cheese, if desired.
So, do you love roasted root vegetables as much as I do?
If so, what’s your favorite way to enjoy them?
Photo credit: Kaleigh McMordie
This post originally appeared on Nutritioulicious in November 2011.