Green Kefir Pesto Pasta Salad by Emma Hatcher

Green Kefir Pesto Pasta Salad by Emma Hatcher

This recipe makes a pesto so green and creamy you’ll have to stop yourself eating it all at once with a spoon. Adding a splash of the fermented milk drink, kefir, not only incorporates some extra goodness for your gut but transforms it into a silky sauce perfect to stir through freshly cooked pasta. Crisp lettuce and toasted nuts and seeds finish it as a totally moorish pasta salad that’s perfect for a summer barbeque or a working lunch at home.

I love to add tinned tuna to this recipe, but you can leave it out if you’d prefer. You will need a blender or food processor to make the pesto here.

Two plates of pesto pasta salad

Serves 4, with leftover pesto (spread on toast, with eggs…)


175g broccoli
30g pumpkin seeds
50g walnuts
350g gluten free brown rice or wholewheat pasta
100g spinach
50g fresh basil
50g Parmesan
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
75ml kefir
200g tuna
100g rocket


Put a large pot of water on to boil for the broccoli and add a generous pinch of salt. Cut the broccoli into florets and when the water is boiling, add it to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until just soft. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and let cool - reserve the leftover water to cook your pasta.

Add the pumpkin seeds and walnuts to a frying pan or cast iron pan, place over a medium heat and toast for 4-5 minutes, moving them around the pan to make sure they don’t burn. Once golden and smelling delicious, tip out onto a chopping board and allow to cool.

Bring the water you cooked the broccoli in back up to the boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta to packet instructions, or until al dente and then drain. Rinse the pasta thoroughly under the cold tap until cool, drain once more and tip into a large serving bowl.

Keep a small amount of pumpkin seeds and walnuts to one side for garnish and add the rest to a blender, along with the cooled broccoli, spinach, basil, parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice and zest and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz to your desired pesto consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Add 2/3 of the pesto to the bowl of pasta, along with the kefir and stir to combine well. Add flakes of tuna and the rocket and stir once more. Roughly chop the reserved nuts and seeds, sprinkle over and serve.


Dig into more gut-loving recipes.