Grilled zucchini and garlic get puréed with toasted sunflower seeds, fresh basil, and Parmesan to make a rich, mellow pesto. If storing pesto in the fridge, top the sauce with a thin layer of olive oil to preserve its bright-green color.

YIELD: SERVES 4

6 large cloves garlic, peeled
3½ Tbs. plus ⅛ tsp. olive oil, divided
8 oz. uncooked whole-wheat linguine
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds, divided
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 small zucchini, halved, then cut into thin slices lengthwise
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Place garlic cloves on square of foil, drizzle with ⅛ tsp. oil, and wrap into flat package. Grill 20 minutes. Open packet to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Toast sunflower seeds in skillet 5 to 6 minutes over medium heat. Transfer to plate, and set aside.
  4. Thread tomatoes onto skewers. Brush tomatoes and zucchini with 2 Tbs. oil, and grill 6 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to shrink and zucchini is tender.
  5. Transfer garlic, basil, and 2 Tbs. toasted sunflower seeds to food processor, and blend until finely ground. Add 1 cup grilled zucchini, remaining 1½ Tbs. oil, and Parmesan; blend until smooth.
  6. Drain pasta, and toss with pesto, remaining zucchini, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining sunflower seeds.

Veg Pestos
Build your pasta sauce repertoire around an assortment of vegetable pestos. Here are few combinations to try in place of the zucchini and sunflower seeds:
green beans and almonds
broccoli and hazelnuts
fava beans and cashews
kale and walnuts

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories: 452
Protein: 16 g
Total Fat: 20 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Carbohydrates: 55 g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Sodium: 132 mg
Fiber: 6 g
Sugar: 9 g