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Cilantro Jalapeno Avocado Pesto Pasta with Corn and Beans

  • Author: Allison
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 large or 6 medium servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


If you’re tired of traditional pesto, make this southwestern cilantro, jalapeno, and avocado pesto pasta with corn and beans, instead! Packed with nutrients and bursting with flavour, it’s sure to become a favourite in your dinner rotation. 



Cilantro Jalapeno Avocado Pesto

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, pepitas (raw shelled pumpkin seeds) or raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups cilantro (about two small bunches- some stems are okay)
  • 1 cup chopped green kale
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (yes, that is correct; it might seem like a lot, but it’s worth it)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 23 medium cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and flesh scooped out
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed and finely chopped (include the seeds for a spicier pesto)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup water

Vegetables and Beans

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 14-oz can, drained and rinsed)

Quick Pickled Shishitos or Jalapeños (Optional)

  • 1 1/2 cups stemmed and sliced shishito or jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt

Everything Else

  • 1 lb (454 g) uncooked pasta



  1. If making the quick pickled peppers: Place the sliced peppers in a heatproof glass jar. In a small saucepan, combine the water, apple cider vinegar, syrup or sugar, and salt. Bring to a low bowl and remove from heat. Let it cool slightly before pouring over the peppers. Once there is no longer any steam rising from the jar, secure the lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Make the pesto: Add the walnuts, cilantro, kale, lime juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic, avocado, jalapeño, salt, pepper, and water to a food processor. Blend until smooth and transfer to an airtight container.
  3. Prepare the sautéed vegetables and beans: Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a small pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining salt, pepper, cumin, and chili flakes. Next, add the zucchini and corn. Cook just until the zucchini is tender but not soggy, about 5 minutes. Finally, add the tomatoes and black beans.
  4. Cook pasta according to directions on the package, drain, and return to the pot.
  5. Add the pesto to the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Spoon the sautéed vegetables and beans over top and mix in.
  6. Serve with quick pickled shishito or jalapeño peppers or hot sauce, if desired.


I use 1/2 cup of lime juice in this pesto, which is the amount of juice in 2-3 limes. While untraditional, I love the tanginess that this amount provides. If you like a less tangy flavour, feel free to use less lime juice and compensate with more water!

Shishito peppers are a fairly mild Asian pepper variety that can often be found at farmer’s markets. If you are unable to find them, use jalapeños.


  • Category: Supper, Pasta
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Italian Fusion

Keywords: cilantro jalapeño avocado pesto pasta, southwestern corn and bean pasta