Top | Vegetarian Main Dishes

Jane’s Pasta with Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

(recipe, Carrie Floyd)

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To catch all the toasted seeds, be sure to use a spiral-shaped pasta; any flavor, including whole-wheat pasta, will taste good here. To turn this dish into a full meal, toss in a cup of steamed green beans or half-moons of sautéed zucchini. This is a year-round standby if you're lucky enough to have a stash of pesto in the freezer; otherwise substitute your favorite fresh or prepared pesto.


  1. ¾ lb. dried corkscrew or spiral pasta
  2. 3 Tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds
  3. 3 Tbsp. raw sesame seeds
  4. 1 shallot, diced
  5. 1 pt. ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
  6. Pinch of cayenne pepper
  7. 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  8. 4 Tbsp. prepared basil pesto
  9. 5 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  10. Salt


  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until they begin to pop and turn brown, shaking the pan or stirring often. Add sesame seeds to the skillet and shake a few times (these also will begin to sputter). When both are toasted, turn out into a big salad bowl.
  3. To the seeds in the bowl add the shallot, chopped tomatoes, cayenne, olive oil, and pesto. When the pasta is done cooking, drain, then add to the bowl and toss with the other ingredients.
  4. Add grated Parmesan, toss again, and taste. Add salt (or more cheese) to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.