lemon walnut pesto pasta

***Repost…. This is an old post, but I still make this recipe regularly (including last night!) except use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan since I actively try to avoid dairy. ***

The first thing that many people think of when they think of a gluten free diet is all of the things they can’t eat, instead of all the wonderful things still left for them. Not to mention that companies are becoming increasingly aware of the niche out there for selling gluten free products. Which really, is fantastic for anyone with Celiac or person who eliminates gluten (or anything else for that matter) for any other reason. It means choices! Options! Variety! We’re not left eating or drinking one gross alternative because it’s all that’s out there. We are still left with choices.

One of the first things I replaced with a gluten free variety in my pantry was pasta. I enjoy pasta immensely,  find it to be incredibly versatile and the base for so many dishes.  While in many dishes pasta can be substituted for something like spaghetti squash , or vermicelli noodles are a perfectly delicious substitute in stir fry style dishes, sometimes a girl just wants some regular, old fashioned pasta. I’ve tried a variety of gluten free pastas already – everything from vegetable to soy noodles, but my favorite is brown rice noodles. I find white rice ones cook  too mushy and remind me of white bread the way they kind of disintegrate in my mouth – and that’s freakin’ nasty.  I’ve tried a couple different varieties of the brown rice pasta, but my favorite so far is one by a brand called Rizopia. I first saw it at Nutters, but later found it in the natural food section at Superstore. AND it was still under $3/bag which is pretty comparable to regular wheat pasta. Win-win. Catelli has a great gluten-free line also that tastes and cooks like normal pasta.

Anyways.. I stumbled upon a recipe and I can’t even remember where I found it, but it’s pretty basic. It’s a Walnut Pesto Pasta and I added Edamame for some extra protein, fiber and deliciousness.

Side note: my spell check wants to keep correcting edamame to enema. Uh, not quite the same thing!

Walnut Pesto Pasta..with Edamame

Prep time: 5 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes

Makes 2 full sized meals, or 4 side dishes

As usual, increase flavors you like or eliminate ones you don’t

What You Need:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh basil or about 1/3 cup of dried (start little, add more as you go!)
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • parmesan cheese (quick fact: parmesan is edible for people with lactose intolerances because as cheese ages it loses its lactose. Also edible? Old cheddar.)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 cup of edamame, pre-cooked (again, optional)
  • 2 servings of your pasta of choice

How You Do It:

  1. In a pot boil your pasta
  2. In a pan heat the oil
  3. Toss in the garlic cloves. When your kitchen starts to smell delicious add the basil, salt and parsley (leaving a bit of basil and parsley for toppings if you wish!)
  4. Mix all that goodness up for a couple of minutes
  5. Pour in the lemon juice
  6. Toss in the walnuts and edamame
  7. Mix it all up for about 5 minutes
  8. Combine the pasta and sauce and mix it all around
  9. Dish it out
  10. sprinkle with parmesan, basil and parsley
  11. Eat!

The wonderful thing about something like this is that it can easily be adapted to a non gluten free, vegetarian diet and some extra veggies or whole grain pasta could be swapped in like lickity split. Either way, the flavors are delicious.  AND I’ve made it several times swapping out the spaghetti for shells or corkscrews and ate it cold as a pasta salad.