Orecchiette with Sunflower Seed Romesco and broccoli comes together in just 20 minutes for a speedy, vegan pasta. Make-ahead friendly and delicious served warm or at room temperature. This beautiful plant-based pasta is as easy as it gets, and super versatile. Enjoy it as a side dish or main course topped with grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp for a protein boost. And because it's equally delicious warm or at room temperature, it's a great option to bring to picnics.
Nutritionally, this romesco pasta is brimming with vitamins C, K, and E, plus potassium, and fiber. Additionally, it's packed with heart-healthy fats from olive oil and sunflower seeds.
How Do I Make Romesco Sauce?
Romesco is a Catalonian sauce classically made from tomatoes and almonds. In this version, however, we're swapping the tomatoes for jarred roasted red peppers, and the almonds for sunflower seeds. The result is a smoky-sweet and ultra smooth sauce with nutty depth and unparalleled brightness.
This sauce couldn't be easier to make, as it only calls for a food processor or blender. Simply blend all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy (or, alternatively, slightly chunky for added texture).
What to Serve with Romesco Sauce:
In addition to tossing the sauce with pasta, romesco also makes a delicious appetizer or snack with veggies or crostini's. Alternatively, you can spoon the sauce over roasted veggies, grilled meat, or roasted white fish. Prepare the sauce up to three days in advance for convenience.
Sunflower Seeds Health Benefits:
Small but mighty, sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, protein, iron, folate, zinc, and dietary fiber. In fact, sunflower seeds are one of the best sources of vitamin E, a nutrient with heart- and immune-boosting benefits. Additionally, sunflower seeds pack more antioxidants than both peanuts and walnuts, and have shown promising effects in lowering cholesterol. If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations!
More Easy Pasta Recipes:
Orecchiette with Sunflower Seed Romesco
- 1 lb. dry orecchiette pasta
- 6 cups broccoli florets (sub baby broccoli or broccoli rabe)
- 1 12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
- ½ cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Optional: Grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for garnish
- Cook pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted water. During final 5 minutes, add broccoli to pot. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, and drain remaining. Return cooked pasta and broccoli to pot.
- Meanwhile, prepare sunflower seed romesco by combining roasted red peppers, sunflower seeds, tomato paste, lemon zest and juice, garlic, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and parsley in a high power food processor or blender. Blend on high speed, gradually streaming in olive oil, until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour romesco sauce into pot with pasta and broccoli; toss to combine. Gradually stream in reserved pasta water in ½ cup increments, tossing continuously, until pasta sauce appears glossy (you may not need the full cup). Garnish with Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, herbs, or lemon wedges, if desired.