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Eat Well LiveWell: Avocado Pesto Pasta

Avocado Pesto Pasta - UnityPoint Health

Avocado pesto? Fat is an essential part of our diet and health, so finding good-for-us sources, like avocados, is very important. This dish is an easy way to include more healthy fats, whole grains, lean proteins and antioxidants into your diet.

Not only do avocados provide healthy fat, they also contain vitamins and minerals, like folate, vitamin B6, potassium. Avocados and the whole wheat pasta in this dish both offer great sources of fiber, which can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers. However, whole grain products are not the only foods in this recipe to offer cancer-fight nutrients. Many plant-based foods provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to fight free radicals in your body, thus, reducing your risk of developing cancer.

The avocados and tomatoes in this recipe provide antioxidants, like lycopene and vitamins E and C (both antioxidants). The herbs and spices listed below also provide free radical-fighting power and a tasty way to reduce your salt intake. Getting a bit of a salty flavor from the Romano cheese brings the whole dish together and serves this dish as a delicious way to enjoy a number of healthy foods. Share these nutrients with your friends and family

Avocado Pesto Pasta

Servings: 5
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes


  • 1 (8-ounce) package whole wheat penne pasta
  • ¼ pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil, or as needed
  • ¼ cup diced cherry tomatoes, or more to taste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese, or more to taste
  • Pepper to taste (optional)


  1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Stir in penne, and return to a boil. Cook pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mostly cooked through, but still firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes. Add shrimp to boiling water and cook until shrimp are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain penne and shrimp; transfer back to empty pot.
  2. Blend avocado, lemon juice, basil, 2 tablespoons Romano cheese, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add olive oil and pulse until creamy. Remove blade from food processor and stir diced tomatoes into the creamy pesto. Transfer pesto to pot with pasta and shrimp; stir to coat. Serve with about 2 tablespoons Romano cheese, salt, and black pepper.

Nutritional Information:

356 Calories, 17g Protein, 17g Fat, 37g Carbohydrates, 7.6g Fiber, 440mg Sodium