Easy Edamame Pesto

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December 11, 2012 by Meg G.

While I was away, my better half planned out our menu for this week. (She’s the best!) We started this routine about three years ago, when we realized that we were wasting food. It’s a common thing that many of us do – we go to the store and pick out what looks good or what’s on sale, with little thought of a recipe or meal. This works well for some folks, particularly those who are highly creative. But for us, it meant that sometimes we didn’t get to the food before it spoiled, because we didn’t have a plan for it.

Menu planning isn’t difficult, but it does require a bit of time and intentionality. We usually sit down together on Saturday or Sunday and think through what the week looks like, choose 2-3 recipes, and then make a grocery list organized by area of the supermarket (nerd alert!). This week, Heather picked out three winning meals: edamame pesto over mini shells, eggplant and chickpea stew, and black bean burgers. But first up, the pesto, taken from Robin Robertson’s Quick Fix Vegetarian. Here goes!


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen shelled edamame       (we used frozen)
  • 1 pound pasta (they recommend linguine; we chose whole wheat mini shells)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Put the pasta water on to boil.
  2. Cook the edamame in a small saucepan of salted boiling water until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. When the pasta water comes to a boil, salt it and add the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. (Shells cooked for about 8 minutes)
  4. While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto. In a food processor, process the garlic and salt until finely minced. Add the cilantro and puree to a paste. Add the edamame and the lime juice and process until blended.
  5. With the machine running, add the oil and process until blended. Add up to 1/2 cup of the pasta water to make a smooth paste. (Heather added pretty much all of the pasta water.) Toss pasta with sauce.



Pouring Pesto

Obviously this is a non-traditional pesto and because of the beans, it is super creamy. The other added bonus from the beans is a good dose of protein. The pesto is super flavorful, but the cilantro isn’t overpowering. There’s no cheese and, surprisingly enough, I didn’t miss it! So this recipe, as it stands, is vegan.


We did decide to cook up some Quorn “chicken” cutlets for an additional protein boost. Unfortunately, Quorn products are made with egg, so they are not vegan.


This was a really quick and yummy weeknight dinner and makes a great lunch. Nice work, Heather! : )



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