Hey there healthy people, how are you?! Wonderfully, beautiful I hope! Today I decided to post something a bit different, and hopefully it will be the first post of many like its kind. As you know, I’m making the effort to transition into a healthier lifestyle and with that I will be cooking more of my meals. Today, we’ll be making spinach pesto pasta, with a side of baked salmon.
Pasta and fish are a familiar pairing for me–as it was something quick, easy and healthy to prepare when I was a student. I would either bake some tilapia, or bake or sear some salmon– I haven’t really ventured into other types of fish. Usually, I just go for basic, minimal ingredients. I never really looked up a recipe, I just asked my older sister for the least amount of ingredients needed to make salmon taste good. Over time, I’ve added a couple of things to make it taste a little less fishy.
Salmon: What You’ll Need:
- Fresh or prepackaged salmon of your choosing (mine came with 4 fillets)
- Ground Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Soy Sauce
- Olive Oil
- Baking pan
- Foil paper
Firstly, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 425 degrees and thaw your salmon packages if they are frozen. (If you put some hot water in a bowl and place the packages into the water, it will speed up the process.) While you wait, you can line your pan with enough foil to fold over and cover the fish.
Then, pour a bit of olive oil onto a plate–it doesn’t have to be much, this is just being used to lightly coat both sides of the fish before seasoning. Next, sprinkle some salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper on both sides. Notice I didn’t give you guys any measurements because I don’t use any, I just wing it! Honestly, though, you only need a little. Place each piece of salmon in the pan as you go along.
Next, take a bit of soy sauce and pour it into the bottle cap. Slowly pour the sauce into the empty spaces of the pan, and a tiny bit on each of the pieces of fish. You’re really just trying to enhance the flavor of the fish, not drown it in sauce. Just having the sauce in the pan will help with that.
After you’ve added the soy sauce, fold the foil paper over so that it’s covering the fish. Place the pan in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. After this, the fish is technically finished, but I usually open the foil paper and place the fish back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Some may say that this it too long, but the folks around here don’t seem to like fish that tastes like fish, Ha! So, I like to cook it a little longer. Next, is the pesto and pasta!
For this particular pesto pasta dish, I have combined two recipes that I found here and here; one is a dairy-free basil cashew pasta and the other, spinach pesto fusilli. I will say that I do like the pesto sauce better when it’s made with pine nuts, as shown in the first link, but I used cashews to try something different and because it’s all I had!
Pesto Pasta: What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup of spinach
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 3/4 cups of cashews
- 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 medium lemon (for 1 tsp. zest and 1 tbsp. juice)
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil
- Pasta (I never measure this properly)
- Medium sized pot
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Food processor or Blender
After gathering your ingredients, you’ll need to combine the spinach, nuts, salt, pepper, and garlic in the blender. I’m using the amazing nutribullet!
Once those ingredients are ground together, you can add the cheese, olive oil, and lemon zest and juice. Your pesto should look like a beautiful, green, creamy sauce– sorry I don’t have a pic!
Lastly, take the pasta of your choosing and boil it according to the package. Personally, I’m terrible at measuring pasta because the suggested amount never seems to pair accordingly. I say, just go with the flow and do what feels right. When it’s done, pour out the water–keeping about a cup– and add the pasta and the sauce. You can use some of the water from the pot to change the consistency of your sauce.
And just like that, you have spinach pesto pasta and baked salmon. This meal only takes about 30 minutes, so it’s a great choice for college students, newbies, and moms who are making meals after school. If any of you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out! Make sure to take a picture and send it to me on twitter or mention me on instagram!
*Just as a note: these pictures are of decent quality, but the angles aren’t the best. I took them with my new phone, since I have yet to locate–or even look for–my camera.