Pesto Trapanese with Whole Grain Penne


1/3 cup (31g) finely chopped almonds
8 ounces uncooked whole grain penne
4 medium cloves garlic
1 ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cups (about 10 ounces) quartered fresh cherry tomatoes, room temperature (see notes)
¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sea salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place almonds in a small ovenproof dish and toast for about 5 minutes, just until brown (see Notes). Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain, return to the pot and cover to keep warm.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the garlic and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process for just a few seconds, until creamy.

Add the basil leaves, tomatoes, and black pepper. Process just until pesto is chopped (5 to 10 seconds). Do not over process; the mixture should be chunky, not completely pureed. Taste and add sea salt, if desired.

Add the pesto to the hot pasta and toss. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve immediately.

Recipe used with permission from

Yield: 6 Servings (serving size: 3/4 cup vegetables)
Nutrition Breakdown: Calories 222, Fat 7g, (1 g saturated fat), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 9mg, Carbohydrate 34g, Fiber 6g, Protein 10g.
Percent Daily Values: 88% Vitamin A, 35% Vitamin C, 17% Calcium, 23% Iron
Diabetes Exchange Values: 2 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 1 Fat

Notes: You may also toast the almonds – stirring constantly—in a skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes. This pesto is fresh and is not heated. Thus it’s important to use room-temperature, not refrigerated ingredients, and to have the pesto ready to go as soon as the pasta is cooked so that the dish does not get cold.