Thai pesto pasta

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Thai pesto pasta with veggies, in a white bowl shot from above

Pesto pasta is my go-to quick dinner – it can be on the table in about 15 minutes. Sometimes I’ll be lazy and use shop-bought pesto, other times I’ll take the opportunity to use up any fresh herbs or spinach lingering in the fridge, and make my own. I’ll usually throw a handful of frozen peas or edamame in with the pasta while it’s boiling… but that’s about as fancy as it usually gets. This time I thought I’d upgrade my old favourite, with an extra special homemade pesto and plenty of veggies – Thai pesto pasta!

Thai pesto pasta with lots of vegetables in a white bowl

This Thai pesto pasta contains all the same elements you’d expect to find in a pesto, but with a Thai-inspired twist. I swapped the usual pine nuts for cashew nuts, and used fresh coriander (cilantro) instead of basil. I also added garlic, chilli, spring onion, and even a dash of coconut milk to make it nice and saucy. It’s so tasty, and makes a nice change from the usual Italian version, while still being super easy to make. Just throw everything in a food processor, whizz it up, and your Thai pesto is ready to use.

Just try to resist eating it with a spoon.

Thai pesto in a small white bowl, being scooped with a spoon

As well as making the pesto Thai-inspired, I also added lots of stir fried veggies to my Thai pesto pasta – I used peppers, Tenderstem broccoli, mange tout, and baby corn (but as usual, you can use whatever vegetables you like!). You could also add some fried tofu if you want to add a bit more protein to the meal.

Then just toss everything together…

Thai pesto pasta in a pan, being tossed with a pair of tongs

Et voila! A tasty meal in minutes.

(is there a Thai version of ‘et voila’?)

The Thai pesto is really versatile, so if you don’t fancy pasta, you can use it in all sorts of other ways. Smear it in sandwiches, drizzle it over salads, whatever you like.

Thai pesto pasta with lots of vegetables in a white bowl

Thai pesto pasta

A Thai twist on my favourite lazy pesto pasta! With a chilli and coconut pesto, and plenty of stir fried veggies.

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4.86 from 7 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Author: Becca Heyes


For the Thai pesto:

  • 40 g (~ 1/4 cup) cashew nuts
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 mild red chilli, seeds removed (or 1 whole chilli for a spicier dish)
  • 1 small spring onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 75 ml (~ 1/4 cup) coconut milk
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

To assemble:

  • 260 g (~ 9 oz) pasta (I used wholegrain)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • A few handfuls of various vegetables – I used red pepper, Tenderstem broccoli, mange tout, baby corn


  • To make the Thai pesto, add the cashew nuts, garlic, chilli, spring onion and fresh coriander (cilantro) to a food processor, and blitz thoroughly. Add the olive oil and coconut milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and blitz again until fairly smooth.
  • Boil the pasta in plenty of water, then drain.
  • Meanwhile, heat a dash of oil in a large frying pan, and add a couple of handfuls of vegetables. I used chopped red pepper, Tenderstem broccoli, mange tout and baby corn (the exact quantities don’t matter at all). Stir fry for 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened slightly.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the pan, along with the Thai pesto. Mix well, and serve.


Nutrition Facts
Thai pesto pasta
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 0
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 0mg0%
Carbohydrates 0g0%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 0g0%
Vitamin A 0IU0%
Vitamin C 0mg0%
Calcium 0mg0%
Iron 0mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

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Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe.

Love fusion food? Why not try my Mexican bean lasagne:

4.86 from 7 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. DELICIOUS!!! I loved the flavours, I did add lime just to add some zest. It made the veggies taste sooooo good. Even my picky “meat only” husband loved it, thank you! 

  2. So simple, tasty, and nutritious! Also looks really easy to put together. Like, easy enough that even I can do it…. thanks!5 stars

  3. Hi, Becca,

    I made this tonight, and another winner! I love your fusion recipes, and the baby corn was so fun to feature. The spice was great, and I love using vegan pesto as a sauce. The spice was great. Thanks for the recipe! Nicki5 stars

  4. Hi Becca, I currently live in Thailand. You may not have been expecting an answer to your question and I’m by no means an expert Thai speaker but I reckon the closest phrase to “et voila” is “set laew” (เสร็จแล้ว). Pronounciation close to “set lay-ow”. Literal meaning: “finished already” in the sense of done completely, no problems. You could also just say “aroi” (อร่อย) meaning delicious.

    If you wanted to take your Thai twist to the next level, you could consider trying Thai basil (horapha, โหระพา) instead of coriander. No doubt harder to source though! Thai basil can eaten raw or nearly raw (e.g. added to a soup just before eating) or cooked in a curry. The other common type of basil here is holy basil (gaprao, กะเพรา), more typically used for stir fries.

    Anyway, the recipe looks great!

    1. Wow I definitely wasn’t expecting to get a response haha! That’s so interesting, thank you so much :) I would really love to try Thai basil but have never seen it in the shops here… would normal basil be an okay substitution, or do they taste completely different?

      1. I’ve not really looked for it back in the UK but seems like it might be intermittently available in supermarkets, failing that you’d probably need to investigate specialist Asian shops. I would say it’s not worth substituting with normal basil as the flavour is quite different – it has a strong aniseed flavour (which can be a bit of an acquired taste).