Pasta with Parsley-Walnut Pesto

The Essential EatingWell Cookbook (2004)

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Remaking this classic high-calorie, high-fat pasta sauce was a great success. By adding fresh breadcrumbs to the pesto, we were able to use much less oil. The pesto still coats the pasta nicely and its herbal flavor remains intense and vibrant. Parsley is more than just a garnish—it's a rich source of carotenoids and vitamin C.

"I loved this! I added the sauteed mushrooms as recommended. My sauce was creamy - I used 1/3 cup packaged bread crumbs and added about a 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the sauce, which I blended in my Magic Bullet. I couldn't believe how...
Pasta with Parsley-Walnut Pesto

Makes: 4 servings

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Total Time:


  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 2 slices whole-wheat country bread, crusts trimmed
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat fusilli, or penne
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Toast walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  2. Tear bread into large pieces and pulse in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Add parsley, garlic and the walnuts and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as needed. Add yogurt and oil; process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and place in a warmed large shallow bowl. Toss with pesto until well coated. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.


Per serving: 439 calories; 10 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 75 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 13 g protein; 9 g fiber; 246 mg sodium; 105 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (35% daily value), Fiber (36% dv), Vitamin A (25% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 4 1/2

Exchanges: 5 starch, 2 fat

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