Pasta with Vietnamese Pesto


I like pasta with pesto because it is a one-bowl, one-pot deal. This is a really yummy pesto. If you can't find fresh lemon grass, use an equal amount of grated lemon zest instead.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
4 servings


  • 1 pound dried rice noodles

  • 1 ½ cups chopped fresh cilantro

  • ½ cup sweet Thai basil

  • 2 cloves garlic, halved

  • ½ teaspoon minced lemon grass bulb

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian fish sauce

  • 4 tablespoons chopped, unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

  • 7 tablespoons canola oil

  • ½ lime, cut into wedges

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soak rice noodles in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Drain the noodles, and set them aside.

  2. Make the pesto: In a blender or food processor combine the chopped cilantro, basil, garlic cloves, lemongrass, jalapeno peppers, imitation fish sauce or salt, and 2 tablespoons of the peanuts. Whirl just until the herbs and peanuts are coarsely chopped. While the machine is running add the oil in a thin stream. Then add the remaining peanuts and run the machine in short spurts until the peanuts are coarsely chopped.

  3. Place soaked rice noodles into a large skillet with 1/2 cup water over medium-high heat. Stir until most of the water has been absorbed and the noodles are tender.

  4. Add almost all of the pesto, and stir well, adding a few tablespoons of water if the pesto is clumping.

  5. Taste the pasta and add more pesto, lime juice, imitation fish sauce, salt, or pepper if you like. Garnish the pasta with the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanuts, and serve right away.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

694 Calories
30g Fat
99g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 694
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Sodium 217mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 99g 36%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 10mg 51%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 223mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.