Avocado Pesto Pasta/Salad

To be completely honest, I’ve never been a big pasta fan. There are the obvious reasons – too much refined flour, high in calories, oversized portions – but even as a kid, I never overdid the pasta thing. I was always more of a pizza girl {once I got over my serious fear of melted cheese…so not joking}.

Once I went gluten free, I ate pasta even less, as the GF options are usually pretty gross compared to the real thing. But lately I’ve started experimenting with noodles for a fun addition to my healthy diet – raw zucchini noodles, kelp noodles, buckwheat soba, Andean Dream’s high protein quinoa pasta, and the ridiculously low-cal Miracle Noodles. While I don’t crave pasta, it can be a way to keep things interesting on the grain front as a replacement for my constant staples of millet and quinoa.

I was craving pesto Monday night, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to bust out some pasta. However, since I tend to avoid overdoing refined grains, I decided to cut back on the pasta portion and add some spinach – and so, the pasta/salad came to be.

First, I whipped up some pesto, using avocado to get a creamy texture:

I also sauteed some tempeh, squash, and green onions in a little bit of coconut oil:

The result? This gorgeous green dish that is both light and filling. Skinny success!

AVOCADO PESTO PASTA/SALAD

For the pesto:

1/2 c. fresh basil leaves

1/2 small avocado

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. spinach

1-2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic

salt to taste

For the pasta:

1 serving pasta of your choice (I used Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta – 1/4 a package is 207 cals)

1/4 c. diced heirloom tomatos

1 c. spinach

For the tempeh:

1/2 c. tempeh

1/2 tbsp. coconut oil

1/2 c. summer squash, diced

2 green onions, diced

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Blend all pesto ingredients together in a blender and set aside {this makes 2 servings, use the second half as a salad dressing the next day!}. Saute the tempeh, onion, and squash in coconut oil over medium high heat until tempeh is slightly browned and squash is soft. Add nutritional yeast at the end, and mix to coat, turning off the heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions, then mix the pasta, spinach, tomatoes, tempeh mixture and sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. You may have leftovers, buuuut probably not {if you’re like me}.

In case you didn’t see on Facebook, our “Hottie Hot Seat” interview series is set to start this week! Stay tuned for more… 🙂

❤ Sarah

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