Cavatappi with Carrot Pesto and Lemon Arugula by Sue Smith, Prime Health Style

Cavatappi with Carrot Pesto and Lemon Arugula by Sue Smith, Prime Health Style

Print Recipe

Serves 4

Prep time:  30 minutes

Cavatappi is the Italian word for corkscrew, hence the name of this spiral-shaped, macaroni-like pasta.  It’s ideal for use with a thick sauce, here paired with a zesty carrot pesto.   This vegetarian recipe creates a tasty and satisfying summer one-dish meal, or can be served as a side dish.  See notes below for easy vegan and gluten-free substitutions.     


  • 4 medium carrots, scrubbed (peeling not necessary) and thinly sliced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces cavatappi (you may substitute another shape, such as fusilli)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed 
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1.  Preheat oven to 425 F.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 

2.  Place the sliced carrots on a baking sheet and toss with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Roast in preheated oven until lightly browned and fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

3.  Add pasta to the boiling water and stir.  Reduce heat and cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes.  Reserve ¾ cup pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside, along with pot.  

4.  In a food processor, place roasted carrots, garlic, almonds, ½ cup of the arugula, 2 T. of the parmesan, 2 T. lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and the reserved pasta water.  Pulse several times until combined.

5.  With the food processor running on high speed, slowly add 2 tablespoons olive oil and process until well combined to a fine chunky texture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Taste the pesto, and add salt as necessary.

6.  Add the carrot pesto, cooked pasta, remaining 2 T. lemon juice, and remaining arugula to the large pot over low heat.  Gently stir and cook until arugula is slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.  Taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary.

7.  Divide the pasta mixture among four bowls and sprinkle with remaining parmesan.  Buon appetito! 


– Cavatappi is eggless (as are many other pasta shapes including fusilli), therefore vegan.  For gluten-free, I recommend substituting a chickpea pasta – I use Banza brand – which is higher in protein and lower in carbs.  

– For the parmesan cheese, vegans can substitute vegan parmesan (I like Violife) or nutritional yeast, or a combination of the two.    

All Recipes