Gemelli with Pesto di Noci and Crispy Lemon Tofu


Pesto is a classic Italian sauce that originated in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Sardo, all blended with olive oil.

This pesto sauce breaks from tradition and instead uses walnuts and cilantro to create pesto di noci, or walnut sauce, to make this Gemelli Pasta with Pesto di Noci and Crispy Lemon Tofu.

Why Chickpea Pasta?

Banza pasta is my favorite gluten-free pasta for Italian dishes. It is made from chickpeas, which are sustainable plants full of protein and fiber.

I like chickpea pasta because, compared to wheat-based pasta, it has slightly fewer calories, double the fiber, double the protein, and is naturally gluten-free. It also has higher levels of iron and potassium.

Compared to other gluten-free pasta, chickpea pasta is less gummy and more sturdy, making it perfect for Italian food.

Make it a Meal

To make a complete meal with this gemelli with pesto di noci and crispy lemon tofu, serve along side Roasted Romanesco Broccoli. Or keep cooking pasta! Check out even more pasta recipes here.

I adapted this recipe from a recipe from Purple Carrot, my favorite vegan meal delivery box. Grab a box and make eating plant based a whole heck of a lot easier.


Gemelli with Pesto di Noci and Crispy Lemon Tofu

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield:2 servings


7 oz. organic, non-GMO tofu

4 oz. can roasted red peppers, drained and diced

1/4 cup Castlevetrano olives, sliced

1 lemon, halved

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Small handful cilantro

1/2 cup walnuts

2 tablespoons vegan parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 box Banza gemelli pasta


  1. Place a large pot of salty water on to boil for the pasta. Drain the tofu and wrap in a clean kitchen towel to drain. Once drained, cube half of the tofu.
  2. Add juice of half a lemon, garlic, cilantro (both stems and leaves), walnuts, and parmesan to a food processor. Turn on food processor, and slowly drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil until the walnut-cilantro pesto is formed. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Next, place a medium skillet on medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the cubed tofu and cook until crispy on all sides. Season with salt, pepper, and juice of half of the lemon.
  4. Add the gemelli to the boiling water, stir, and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Return the pot from the pasta and heat to medium heat. Next, add sliced roasted red peppers, halved olives, cilantro-walnut pesto, cooked gemelli, tofu, and pasta water. Stir together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and garnish with vegan parmesan.

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