In The Kit’s What’s Cooking series, Canadians in the food world share their favourite at-home recipes: the easy, delicious — even occasionally healthy! — meals that they go back to again and again. On today’s menu: Lauren Toyota’s recipe for Green Pea Pesto Linguine.

Lauren Toyota, cookbook author of Vegan Comfort Classics, and vegan chef

Meet the chef

Lauren Toyota is a content creator for her YouTube channels Lauren In Real Life and hot for food, cookbook author of Vegan Comfort Classics ($30,, and a vegan chef. She chose today’s bright and fresh Green Pea Pesto Linguine recipe — her self-described ultimate reduce, reuse, recycle food — because, “It’s made in 10 minutes, hides my vegetables in a pile of cheesy garlicky stuff and can even become a dip for crackers and veggies.”

Green Pea Pesto Linguine Recipe

Serves 4


1 pound (450 g) linguine

2 cups (500 g) fresh or frozen peas

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups (40 g) packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup The Parm (see below)

1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil

Ground pepper

The Parm

2/3 cup (160 g) raw cashews, almonds or pistachios

1/4 cup (60 g) nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon sea salt


1. Combine all ingredients for The Parm together in a food processor and process until a fine crumb or meal is formed. Set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the linguine until al dente and add 1 cup (250 mL) of the peas to the water in the last minute of cooking. Drain, but do not rinse.

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3. While the pasta is cooking, combine the remaining 1 cup (250 mL) peas (thawed and drained of excess water, if frozen), salt, 2 cups (40g) basil leaves, garlic, 1⁄4 cup of The Parm, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor until well combined and smooth but textured.

4. Place the drained pasta and peas back in the pot while it’s still warm. Add three-quarters of the pesto and toss to combine well.

5. Serve the pasta with an extra dollop of pesto on top. Garnish with the remainder of The Parm, ground pepper to taste and basil leaves.

Excerpted from hot for food Vegan Comfort Classics. Copyright © 2018 by Lauren Toyota. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Hot for Food: Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota, $30,

Lauren’s Kitchen Essentials

What are your three essential pantry ingredients?

“Tahini, nutritional yeast and canned pumpkin. Tahini is great for making dressings and sauces. It adds fat and creaminess without dairy and is neutral enough you can flavour it many different ways. Nutritional yeast is basically a vegan prerequisite, but it’s a flavour enhancer and a nutritional supplement (B12) which is why I love it and use it in everything. Lastly, canned pumpkin is an amazing ingredient that I use a lot in baking, sweet or savoury applications, and I love using it in soups or to make creamy, cheeselike sauces.”

What kitchen tool can you not live without?

“My Vitamix blender. I use it multiple times a day and it’s just the best machine that can do anything. If I couldn’t blend things into creamy sauces and dressings I don’t know what I would do!”

Who are your favourite people to cook for?

“My friends because they really appreciate it and it’s always a teaching moment. Most of my friends aren’t vegan, so they’re usually surprised by the techniques and ingredients.”

What’s your best at-home cooking advice?

“Read through recipes in full before starting them! Always be flexible to course correct, since your oven and stove top is not the same as the author’s and cook times may vary. Practice makes perfect, so don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work or turn out as you expected.”

If you had to choose one condiment to stick to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“Vegan mayonnaise. I love sandwiches, and they always need mayo and it’s what I use to make a lot of dips and sauces.”

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Veggies rule in this 10-minute vegan pasta

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