Almond Picada is a popular sauce from the Spanish cuisine! Give your regular spaghetti a delicious twist by making vegan picada pesto with no added cheese.
Are you hearing the word Picada for the first time? Then let me enlighten you with some information. I heard this word for the first time while going through a food magazine at the checkout counter at Publix. I love browsing through these food related magazines in those few minutes I get while I wait at the checkout counter. I quickly scan through the pages for inspiration. Love going through the food photography mainly. One such picture had a bowl of picada sauce which immediately caught my attention. I made a note of it and decided to check it out once I got back home. I realized there is not much info about it on Pinterest but google did have some info. Picada is a dense, hand-pounded paste of roasted bread, nuts (mostly almonds), garlic, olive oil, and other aromatic ingredients. It originated in the Catalonia region of Spain, most likely in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Traditionally, La picada is used as a thickener in stews and soups and is added at the end of the cooking process which gives the dish its final flavor. This sauce reminded me of chutney or pesto which got me wondering whether I could use it as one them.
I made a small batch that week itself to check how it tasted and had with some toasted bread. I did share some pictures of it on my Instagram story. Since I really liked the flavor of picada, I was raring to experiment more with it. The next obvious recipe idea for me was to use it as pesto. The picada recipe is very unique because it’s base ingredients are roasted or fried bread and almonds. They give a nutty and crispy flavor to this sauce. Picada can be made coarse or smooth. I was going for coarse consistency but ended up with a smooth one. But hey, no complaints, as it doesn’t alter the taste but just the texture. If there is one International food I can dream of, it has to be pasta! I simple love this Italian creation. I love dining at Italian restaurants and want to try out every vegetarian pasta dish they have to offer. Even when we travel, checking out local Italian restaurants is one of our things to do! But I really wish that restaurants are more mindful of vegetarians and vegans around the world and have a dedicated menu for us. That ways, we don’t always have to settle for the few basic ones.
But making it at home is an altogether different story! I can make my pasta the way I want it. I love trying out different pasta sauces every time I make pasta. Also, I end up adding whatever veggies I have at hand since its a great way to sneak them in a pasta dish. This week, I had picked up these beautiful yellow mushrooms from a local indoor farmer’s market. It was my first visit to one and I sure had a gala time in there. For starters, there was a queue to enter it and the lady in front of me exclaimed, “Why is there so much line to get into a farmer’s market? It’s just vegetables and fruits in there!” Though that was funny, it got me thinking. People today are ready to wait in line on a Sunday morning despite the rain forecast for local organic produce. That thought was heartwarming and reassuring. We were not disappointed when we got in. The entire market was busting with people across all ages. There were lots of small town business owners who were selling their produce. I picked up mushrooms, homemade organic flour, fresh carrots, tomatoes, strawberries and lemons. I decided to use these yellow mushrooms in this pasta dish!
Here is the recipe to make Almond Picada Pesto Spaghetti. In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Lightly toast the almonds, jalapeno and garlic until lightly golden, stirring frequently, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the burner. If you have leftover bread, you can roast them in olive oil and then cut them in cubes. I have used ready Italian breadcrumbs instead. Transfer the cubes or breadcrumbs to the food processor along with roasted almonds, garlic, any remaining olive oil from the skillet, and the fresh or dried parsley. Pulse until coarsely ground for a crumbly picada, or pulse it longer by drizzling more olive oil for a more creamy paste. Cook spaghetti as per the instructions on the packet. Heat olive oil in a pan. Fry mushrooms and edamame for 4-5 minutes or until the water in them evaporates. Then add the ground picada and saute for a minute before adding the spaghetti. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Like the title says, Almond Picada Pesto Spaghetti doesn’t require any cheese and trust me, you will not even miss it! Picada gives this pasta a deeper and lustier taste than any butter or cream would.
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Almond Picada Pesto Spaghetti
To make Picada
- 7-8 cloves garlic
- 1 Jalapeno
- 10-12 almonds
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs - 3 bread slices
- 1/4 cup parsley
To make Pesto Pasta
- 1 packet spaghetti
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100 gms mushrooms
- 1 cup edamame
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Lightly toast the almonds, jalapeno and garlic until lightly golden, stirring frequently, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the burner.
- If you have leftover bread, you can roast them in olive oil and then cut them in cubes. I have used ready Italian breadcrumbs instead.
- Transfer the cubes or breadcrumbs to the food processor along with roasted almonds, garlic, any remaining olive oil from the skillet, and the fresh or dried parsley. Pulse until coarsely ground for a crumbly picada, or pulse it longer by drizzling more olive oil for a more creamy paste.
- Cook spaghetti as per the instructions on the packet.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Fry mushrooms and edamame for 4-5 minutes or until the water in them evaporates.
- Then add the ground picada and saute for a minute before adding the spaghetti.
- Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Almond Picada Pesto Spaghetti is ready.
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Here are some super delicious pasta recipes that you can try at home – No-Cheese Sour Cream Pesto Pasta Bake , Turmeric & Nuts Penne Pasta, Tomato Rotini Pasta Bake, Cilantro Basil Cream Sauce Pasta, Hummus & Sweet Potato Pasta, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta, Garlic & Breadcrumbs Pasta, Habanero Basil Mango Pasta, Sriracha Peanuts Pasta, Broccoli & Garlic Pasta Salad and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Pasta.