Pumpkin Pesto Pasta + Grapefruit Cranberry Fizz

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on June 6, 2011

We had quite the productive weekend!

Kevin has been working with our neighbors on our many ongoing backyard projects. By the end of the week we should have a fence, full deck [with stairs!], grass, trees, and a fire pit!



Stopping for a much needed Corona.

I couldn’t be more excited to finally have a backyard!

While the boys were out sweating in the sun, I was nestled in my kitchen doing what I do best…


I knew Kevin would be starving when he came in for dinner yesterday, so I whipped up a batch of pumpkin pesto [a recipe I created when Kevin's family came for a visit], pasta, and bison steaks.

It definitely hit the spot.


Pumpkin Pesto Pasta

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

A light and refreshing pesto complete with lemon and fresh herbs. High in vitamin B12 and ready in just 15 minutes.


  • 1 16oz package of rice pasta – I used Rizopia
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds [pepitas]
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp rice miso
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp herbamare

Toppings: pine nuts + raw zucchini + fresh herbs


Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, place all remaining ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Once pasta is complete, strain, rinse and place the pasta back in the pot. Add pesto and mix with a spoon until combined. Top with pine nuts, zucchini, and fresh herbs if you like.

Makes 5-6 servings.



Before a couple of weeks ago, I’d never made pesto. As a kid my mom would buy the ridiculously oily version and I hated how greasy it was. So, when I moved out on my own I stuck strictly to tomato sauce.

Boy, was I missing out! Pesto can be so delicious, if you don’t already know.

For refreshments, I whipped up a couple batches of Grapefruit Cranberry Fizz drinks and then realized I’ve never shared the recipe with you! It’s a household favorite when the weather gets hot and there’s work to be done!


Grapefruit Cranberry Fizz

  • 1 cup mineral water
  • 1/2 grapefruit, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

Place everything but mineral water in a blender. Blend until the grapefruit is pureed. Pour into 2 glasses and add mineral water. Enjoy!

Makes 2 1/2 cups, or 2 servings.



Does your family have a favorite summer drink?

What backyard projects do you have this season?

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Cait @ Beyond Bananas

Love the new fence! And that cranberry grapefruit fizz sounds like it would be totally refreshing on a hot summer day!



Oooh, I want a cranberry grapefruit fizz! We don’t have any “summer drinks,” but I’m a sucker for iced coffee as you may know ;) The past looks great, too!


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

Are your neighbors going to let you use that hot tub in exchange for the hard work? :)

That fizz looks amazing! I will definitely need to try that out. My summer go-to is white peach sangria. The fizz is probably a healthier option – lol!



Yum!! I would never try pesto because of the way it looked, but now with all these different recipes I love it! I bet I could even get my boyfriend to eat this (if I don’t tell him it has pumpkin seeds in it…) but what is/where could I find rice miso?

Looking good on the fence, and I love grapefruit so the drink looks fantastic too!


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Miso is generally grains, fermented. The common grains are barley and rice but if you’re not gluten free, you don’t have to be picky about the type of miso you use, any will do!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

Pumpkin Pesto Pasta looks so creative and i love the FIZZY drink!

“What backyard projects do you have this season?” – I dont have a backyard, or a front yard. Or even an enclosed patio. But I do have 3 balconies, one on all 3 stories. My projects include maybe sipping an adult beverage on one on them, soon :)


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Your home sounds so beautiful! I’ve always wanted a bunch of balconies!


Tiff @ Love, Sweat and Beers

I haven’t seen any pumpkin recipes for a while. Thanks for posting! I bet your’re excited about the grass. We don’t have many outdoor projects lined up – we’re just trying to keep it all from burning up in the heat! My fav summer drink might have to be a good hefe brew. Mmmm!



Hello! I’ve recently discovered your blog, and loving it!
I love pesto but I hate how oily it can be, and fatty with it. I shall definitely be giving this a go!

On a side note I use Google Reader to access your blog, but only one entry seems to be available at any one time (the newest entry). Not sure why this is, just thought you’d like to know?

Look forward to reading more! Becki


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Becki, thanks for letting me know. Did you subscribe by clicking the RSS link in the address bar? Or the button on the right of my page under the introduction? Also, if you try pressing the “refresh” button on your google reader it should load more than one post. I’ll look into it though, thanks a bunch!


Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

Yay for productive weekends – I can’t wait to see the final results of your backyard and deck!! :)


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty

Yay for a backyard!!

That fizz sounds really really good!! Thanks for the idea!



Those cranberry grapefruit fizzes look sooo goooddd! A wayyy better and tastier alternative to sugar-laden soda. I love grapefruit and I always crave it when the weather is hot because it is soo juicy.
My backyard project for the summer is just to keep up my garden, which might be hard cause I’ll be gone for a lot of it.
I can’t wait to see your yard when it’s all finished up :)



I love pesto, but not the ones you buy. I make my own with walnuts or pine nuts, so good! I will try with pepitas too, that actually sounds really nice!


Kristina @ spabettie

hmmm, I think the grapefruit cranberry fizz is my new favorite summer drink! :) looks delicious, and I love grapefruit. I’m not much of a beer drinker, and sugary drinks aren’t my thing either. give me a crisp vodka soda lime or some lemonade.

excited for you and your back yard! we just ordered some new deck furniture and it should be arriving this week, I’m excited for that! :) our biggest project every summer is opening the swimming pool, which we should be able to do in a couple weeks!


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I’ve always wanted a pool! Unfortunately we had to go the hot tub route because… well, our pool would always be frozen! It must be so nice to have a cool pool to jump in without a minutes hesitation!


Holly @ The Runny Egg

Pumpkin Pesto sounds so delicious and it looks incredible! A perfect summery pasta dish!

We don’t have any backyard projects — the perks of living in a townhome where we don’t have to do yardwork and we aren’t allowed to make any changes to the deck, landscaping, etc. Sometimes I wish we could do that sort of thing, but I kind of like not having to :)


Andrea @ Vegvacious

My backyard project is figuring out something that looks good that my two dogs can’t destroy/pee on :-) It needs a lot of work! Your bevie looks so refreshing for a hot summer day on the patio! My fave summer bevie is beer (I’m classy I know :-) I also love a plain ‘ol pink lemonade.


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I’m sure I’ll be saying the same thing next year when our dogs have made a mess of our yard!


Tori (Fresh Fruition)

That drink is beautiful and perfect for summer! And I would have never thought to incorporate pumpkin seeds into a pesto! Perfection!


Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie)

Love the yard, that drink is great for summer. I love strawberry lemonade for the hot summer months :D


char @ char on a mission

Oh sweet fizziness…that drink looks SO good. I used to love going to Joey’s Restaurant last summer and ordering their strawberry or raspberry fizz drink and have been missing it like crazy since I no longer live by a Joey’s, but this is something that could easily replace it! Pesto looks amazing – I need to try your healthy version because I honestly don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed pesto in a healthy manor either!


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I am right there with you at Joey’s. I love ALL of their drinks! But, the next day I always felt like garbage with all the sugar. Hope you enjoy the alternative :)


megan @ the oatmeal diaries

Definitely saving BOTH these recipes!! They both look amazing! So perfect for a summer BBQ or something :)


Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food

mmm that looks wonderfully refreshing!

We have nutritional yeast and I have yet to use in such a wonderfully creative way, thanks for sharing! :)



Congrats on the backyard, I can’t wait to see more pictures when it is done! The grapefruit cranberry fizz sounds wonderful, and is so pretty!



lovely combination for the pasta
the cranberry and grapefruit combination for the refreshing drink looks good



Hi, the pepita pesto looks wonderful! I have always loved fresh homemade pesto sauce and since my diagnosis with an autoimmune disease I am happy to find an alternative to cheesy cream-filled versions. Quick question, what is the rice miso, and is there something I can use in its place, since I need to avoid soy? Thanks and I love your blog, so many fantastic ideas!


Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Danielle – for the miso, you could try nutritional yeast!


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