Vegetarianized Recipe: Roasted Garlic Artichoke Pesto With Penne, Asparagus, Peas and Leeks


The ultimate springtime dish using all the season has to offer—artichokes, garlic, lemons, asparagus, leeks and peas. This light dish can be served as a main or first course. Swap out sage for mint or thyme.

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Servings: 8 as a main, 12 as a first course
Time: About 30 minutes active; 1 hour total

1 head garlic
1 pound artichokes, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, divided
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 pound whole wheat penne
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced thin
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 pound snap peas, ends trimmed
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced

1. Preheat oven in 350 degrees. In a small piece of foil, put garlic head, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and sage. Close up tightly.

2. In a large baking dish, place garlic packet and artichokes, cut side down. Pour 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over artichokes and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Bake 30 minutes. Turn off oven and leave garlic packet in oven. Let artichokes cool outside oven.

3. Meanwhile, heat pot of water and cook penne until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain.

4. In a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, asparagus and peas, and sauté 7-9 minutes, retaining crunch. Let cool.

5. When artichokes and garlic are cool enough to handle, trim hearts from artichokes and include any soft inner leaves. Add to food processor bowl. Squeeze roasted garlic out and into food processor. Add cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest. Puree until smooth.

6. To assemble, in a large bowl add pesto, sautéed vegetables and penne. Toss until mixed well, divide among plates and serve warm.

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog,, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.