Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Shrimp Pasta

I can’t say enough how much I love those sun-dried tomatoes from Trader Joe’s.  I use them in everything – salads, omelettes, sandwiches, vegetable dishes, you name it!  I found a great recipe in an issue of  Womens Health magazine for a sun-dried tomato pesto last year and finally got around to making it in January …and now I’m finally getting around to writing about it.  Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
PESTO:

  • 1/2 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano or basil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

PASTA AND SHRIMP:

  • 10 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
To make the pesto:
1. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl, cover with hot water, and let soak for 10 minutes, or until softened. Drain and reserve the liquid.
Love the Color!
Love the Color!
2. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor (a blender works just fine too). Add the walnuts and garlic and process briefly to combine. Add the whole tomatoes, parsley, oregano or basil, cheese, and oil and process until smooth. Add just enough of the reserved tomato soaking liquid to form a paste; process again until smooth.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
To make the pasta and shrimp:
3. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a serving bowl.
4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque. Sprinkle with the black pepper and salt.
Pan-Fried Shrimp and Veggies
Pan-Fried Shrimp and Veggies
5. Place in the bowl with the pasta and top with the pesto. Toss well to combine.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Shrimp Pasta
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Shrimp Pasta

I really hate prepping shrimp, so I don’t make shrimp dishes very often.  The de-veining process is so tedious and… well, gross.  I mean really, is there nothing worse than pulling a string of poop out of a dead animal that you are about to then eat?  I will say that it was so worth it at least for this recipe.  I loved this dish probably more than the last shrimp dish I made (also found in Womens Health).

If I have somehow managed to not destroy your appetite with that last sentiment and you are thinking about making this, note that the pesto can be tightly covered and stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer.  You can put the pesto in ice cube trays, freeze them, and thaw the cube for use as the perfect individual-sized portion of pesto for a plate of pasta!

Shrimp and Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing

Back to food, my favorite thing.  I found this recipe in an issue of Women’s Health and made it for dinner a couple weeks ago.

According to the article, the fat in the bacon helps you absorb the antioxidant lutein from the spinach.  I’m always hesitant to make things with bacon, as I cringe when I see the actual stripes of fat I’m ingesting.  I used reduced sodium turkey bacon when I made this, which is a lot lower in fat than regular bacon.  Hopefully, I still got a good amount of lutein absorption!

Ingredients

Click here to view the recipe online.  If you decide to make this, I highly recommend using half an onion.  The recipe calls for a full onion, but the ration of onion-to-other-stuff was just absurd when I made this and I ended up throwing most of the onion away.

Shrimp and Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing and Women's Health Recipe