It’s Spring which means it’s Asparagus season. If you are always throwing out your asparagus stems, save this food waste hack. By boiling and blending your asparagus stems, you can make a delicious spring asparagus stem pesto!

asparagus stem pesto

Zero-Waste Asparagus Pesto Pasta 

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch local asparagus, ends removed and reserved
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup nuts of choice (i.e. pine nuts, walnuts)
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Pasta Ingredients:

  • Pasta of choice (1/2 cup pasta water reserved)
  • Extra parmesan for topping
  • Remaining asparagus stalks, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper for serving


Boil the asparagus ends in a pot of salted water until very tender, for about 40 minutes. Once tender, strain and set aside to cool.

Cut the remaining asparagus in 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.

In a high-powered food processor, blend the nuts, cooked asparagus ends, garlic, and parsley together until combined. Slowly stream in the olive oil and lemon juice until thoroughly blended. Add in the parmesan cheese and blend once more to combine. Set aside.

Boil the pasta according to the package directions (be sure to reserve some pasta water during the cooking process). During the last 1 minute of cooking, add in the asparagus pieces. Once the pasta is cooked, strain the pasta and asparagus.

In a saucepan, add in half of the asparagus sauce, about 1/4 cup of pasta water, as well as the cooked pasta and asparagus pieces. Cook on med-high heat for about one minute, stirring continuously. Add more pasta water if needed for a creamy sauce. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice, more grated parmesan, and salt & pepper.

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