Pea Pesto with Creamy Lemon Ricotta

Flavorful pea pesto is a new twist on an Italian classic. Toss hot pasta with vibrantly colored pesto and dot with creamy pillows of ricotta cheese for a quick, delicious meal. Green peas are low in fat, packed with protein and fiber, rich in B vitamins and vitamins A, C and K, and are a good source of many minerals, including calcium, iron and magnesium.

Serves 6


1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese

1 large lemon

2 cups green peas, frozen

12oz. rotini or fusilli pasta, dry

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

½ cup fresh mint leaves

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp. olive oil

Optional: extra basil leaves for garnish


1. Zest ½ of the lemon and measure 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Reserve the rest of the lemon for the pesto. In a small bowl combine the ricotta, lemon zest and teaspoon of lemon juice. Set aside until pasta is ready to serve or cover and refrigerate if not immediately proceeding.

2. Cook peas according to package directions. Immediately rinse cooked peas with cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the peas bright green. Drain well, reserve ½ cup of peas and add the rest to the bowl of a food processor.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Drain pasta and return to the pot.

4. While pasta is cooking, make the pesto. Add basil, mint, garlic and olive oil to the peas in the bowl of the food processor. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice from the reserved lemon and add to the other ingredients. Process ingredients until completely smooth, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed.

5. Add pesto to the drained hot pasta. Gently stir to combine. If needed, add cooking water to the pasta 1 tablespoon at a time to slightly thin the sauce.

6. Stir reserved peas into pasta and season to taste with extra lemon juice, pepper and salt. Pour pasta into a serving bowl, dollop ricotta over the pasta and garnish with extra basil leaves. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information

Calories 297, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 3mg, Sodium 93mg, Potassium 123mg, Total Carbohydrates 52g, Dietary Fiber 9g, Sugars 6g, Protein 13g

Thank you to eBrightHealth ACO partner ChristianaCare for this recipe. To find more, visit our Wellness Blog.