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Thai pesto pasta

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

Print Recipe
4.8 from 5 votes

Thai pesto pasta

A Thai twist on my favourite lazy pesto pasta! With a chilli and coconut pesto, and plenty of stir fried veggies.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main meals
Cuisine: Italian, Thai
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.


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

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