My vegan version of Spaghetti alla Genovese (pasta with potatoes and green beans) uses an avocado pesto sauce for a deliciously creamy finish.

This recipe was originally published in 2014, and has been refreshed for 2024 with new photos and a more streamlined method.

Pasta with Potatoes?

It’s a thing! Originating from the Ligurian region of Italy, Pasta Genovese is a traditional dish which combines pasta, potatoes and green beans in a fresh basil pesto sauce. Since we are all for double carbs around here, it’s been on our springtime menu for years — but my version brings in something completely unconventional: avocado!

Using avocado pesto makes this dish creamy and rich while keeping it completely vegan. I find that this pesto leaves me so satisfied, never missing the cheese that would be a part of traditional pesto.

What to know about the Ingredients and Substitutions

First things first, the quantities are very flexible – if you have more or less pasta, potato or green bean than the recipe requires? Shouldn’t be an issue.

  • The spaghetti can be swapped for another long pasta shape or trofie, which is a common shape to serve Pasta Genovese with.
  • Because this feels very spring-timey I use baby new potatoes which are thinly sliced. You can use any potato, and if yours is larger you can cube it.
  • Green beans are the traditional choice here, but if you don’t have any or you don’t like them, throwing in some frozen peas is a great swap.
  • The pesto is made from avocado, pine nuts, lemon, garlic, basil and olive oil. We also want to make sure we salt the pesto well since there is no parmesan cheese adding a salty edge. If you’re looking to swap in a different nut, I find pistachio works well in avocado pesto too.

This can come together easily in 30 minutes

The spaghetti, potatoes and green beans all cook together in one pan, so you can make the pesto while they cook and you’re good to go!

When I first shared this Spaghetti Genovese recipe, I used larger chunks of potato and gave them a 5 minute head start on the spaghetti. Do this if you want to use larger pieces, such as quartered baby potatoes. This time around I am using thinner sliced potatoes so the cook time aligns with the spaghetti, which is easier and more streamlined.

More pesto ideas for your Pasta Genovese

  • Adding some handfuls of fresh baby spinach to your pesto will add some extra nutrition as well as a vibrant color.
  • If you don’t have enough basil, you can use a mix of basil and parsley.
  • If you don’t need the recipe to be vegan, and just wanted to avoid animal rennet to keep the recipe vegetarian, my Perfect Vegetarian Pesto Recipe made with rennet-free cheese will give you a more traditional Spaghetti Genovese. I would still add the avocado topping though if you can – I stand by this addition!
  • If you want to try something more unique with the pesto, the pistachio mint pesto which I used in this gnocchi recipe is EPIC.

Spaghetti Genovese with Potatoes, Green Beans & Avocado Sauce

My vegan version of Spaghetti alla Genovese (pasta with potatoes and green beans) uses an avocado pesto sauce for a deliciously creamy finish.
4.75 from 4 ratings

Ingredients

  • 10 oz (300 g) spaghetti
  • 10 oz (300 g) potatoes, sliced into small chunks
  • 7 oz (200 g) green beans (runner beans), sliced into 1-2 inch long pieces

For the avocado pesto

  • ½ cup (70 g) pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1.5 large avocados, use the other 1/2 for a topping
  • 2-3 bunches fresh basil leaves
  • cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil, more if needed
  • ½ tsp salt, more if needed

Instructions 

  • Add the spaghetti and the potatoes to a large pan of salted boiling water. Simmer for 7 minutes.
    10 oz spaghetti, 10 oz potatoes
  • Meanwhile, prepare your avocado pesto by blending all ingredients in a small food processor bowl until a creamy sauce has formed. Assess the texture and add more olive oil if needed.
    1/2 cup pine nuts, 3 cloves garlic, Juice of 1 lemon, 1.5 large avocados, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 2-3 bunches fresh basil leaves
  • Add the green beans to the pan with the pasta and potatoes and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, then drain and return to the pan
    7 oz green beans (runner beans)
  • With the heat off, mix the avocado pesto into the pan, being extra gentle so you don't break the potatoes up too much (a little breakage is OK!)
  • Serve with some additional sliced or cubed avocado on top.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 686kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 51g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 41g, Sodium: 20mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 5g