Hearts of Palm Pasta With Pesto
This hearts of palm pasta with pesto is low on carbs, but big on flavour! It’s an easy vegan dinner recipe that comes together in under 30 minutes.
Have you heard of hearts of palm pasta? As someone who lives in tropical Jamaica, it was wild to me that you could actually make pasta out of palm trees. Even wilder? The fact that it’s delicious, as you’ll see with this recipe!
What Is Hearts of Palm Pasta?
Hearts of palm pasta is made with the inner core of palm trees and it contains very few calories and carbohydrates, along with a high amount of fiber, which makes it a great alternative to wheat-based pastas if you’re watching your carb intake or on a gluten-free diet. There are a number of brands available these days, and because of their popularity, most supermarkets now carry them—but you can also buy them online too.
If you liked the idea of zoodles, but felt like zucchini wasn’t really a great stand-in for traditional pasta, hearts of palm pasta might just be for you!
What Do Hearts of Palm Noodles Taste Like?
Hearts of palm pasta has a mild, somewhat nutty flavour that complements all kinds of sauces, from peanut sauce to marinara. Some people compare the taste to artichokes, but in my opinion, hearts of palm pasta is a little bit like tofu in that it’s really all about the flavours you add to it!
In this hearts of palm pesto pasta recipe, we add bright, herbaceous basil pesto, which really shines with the subtle nuttiness of the pasta. Serve this dish as an entree by adding vegetables or a protein, or use it as a low-carb side dish.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Hearts of palm angel hair pasta – Hearts of palm pasta is cut from the palm tree cores, rather than being shaped like traditional pasta. This means it only comes in angel hair, spaghetti, linguine, lasagna sheets, etc.
- Basil – Genovese basil is the traditional choice for pesto.
- Pine nuts
- Vegan Parmesan cheese – Use store-bought or make your own vegan Parmesan.
- Lemon juice or lime juice – This brightens the flavour of your pesto and helps it retain its bright colour.
- Coarse salt
- Olive oil – A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil will really bring out the best in your hearts of palm pesto pasta.
- Black pepper
What Is the Best Substitute for Pine Nuts in Pesto?
The best substitute for pine nuts in pesto is walnuts, but almonds and cashews can be used as well. For a nut-free pesto, try substituting sunflower seeds, pepitas, or even hemp hearts.
How to Make Hearts of Palm Pasta With Pesto
With minimal cooking and only a few minutes of prep, this hearts of palm pesto pasta is perfect for busy weeknights!
- Make the pesto. Combine the basil, pine nuts, vegan parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and 1/3 cup of olive oil to a small blender or food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth.
- Cook the pasta. Warm the remaining olive oil in a non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Add the hearts of palm pasta and toss to coat; continue to toss and stir for a minute or two, or until all of the pasta is heated through.
- Finish. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the pesto. Toss to coat, then serve with additional vegan Parmesan and fresh basil for garnish.
Tips for Success
These simple tips will help you make sure your hearts of palm pesto pasta turns out perfect!
- Adjust the pesto consistency. If you find the pesto too thick, add a few tablespoons of water or oil to thin it out.
- Toast the nuts. For another layer of flavour, toast the pine nuts before making the pesto.
- Use tongs. I’ve found that using tongs is the best way to toss pasta in oil, pesto, and other sauces. They’re also great for serving pasta when you’re ready to plate it!
This recipe can be customized in so many different ways. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Switch the vegan parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast.
- Add lemon zest to the pesto for a brighter, citrus-y flavour.
- Boil the pasta according to the package directions instead of heating it in a skillet.
- Swap out the basil for spinach, parsley, or arugula.
- Add halved cherry tomatoes to the pasta when you toss it with the pesto.
Serve hearts of palm pesto pasta alongside a batch of Balsamic Roasted Vegetables or Air Fryer Green Beans. You can also pair it with a protein like Lemon Pepper Tofu. And, since you’ve saved so many carbs on your main dish, you have room for a piece of crusty Roasted Garlic Bread too!
How to Store
Store leftovers in a food-safe airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat, or in the microwave.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this hearts of palm pasta for up to 3 months. Store it in an airtight container or freezer bag and let it thaw in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
More Vegan Pasta Dinners
- Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta
- Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs
- One Pot Alfredo Penne Pasta
- Green Goddess Pasta
Enjoy friends! If you make this hearts of palm pasta with pesto, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Hearts of Palm Pasta with Pesto
- 1 12 ounce bag Hearts of Palm Angel Hair Pasta, drained (338 grams)
- 2 ½ Cups Basil, stemmed and washed (50 grams)
- ⅓ cup Pine Nuts, or walnuts (47 grams)
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Parmesan Cheese + additional for topping, 10 grams
- 3 Cloves Garlic, 12 grams
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, or lime juice (11 grams)
- ½ Teaspoon Coarse Salt, 4 grams
- ⅓ Cup Olive Oil + 1/2 Teaspoon Olive Oil, separated (76 grams)
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper, 1 gram
- Add the basil, pine nuts, vegan parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and 1⁄3 cup of olive oil to a small blender and blend until smooth.
- Add remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon olive oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat. Once heated, add the hearts of palm pasta and toss. Keep tossing and stirring the pasta until it’s heated up (approximately 1 – 2 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat and add in the pesto. Toss and stir to coat the pasta.
- Serve the pasta warm and top with additional vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil if preferred. Store leftovers in a food-safe airtight container for up to 4 days.
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.