Spring Pesto Pasta Recipe (Gluten and Dairy Free)

Spring is in finally coming to Maryland, but not fast enough in my book! Despite the beautiful blooms on the trees and green everywhere, icy sleet this morning and chilly, whipping winds, brought my too-short springtime revelry to a halt. 

Wanting comfort food to help me push through the next 20 or so days of my freshman year, I decided to indulge myself on my weekly grocery shopping trip and attempt to recreate a recipe that was among my favorite childhood eats: pesto pasta salad.

The beauty of this recipe, is that it can be eaten hot in colder temperatures or cold as a summer pasta salad, and is equally delicious either way. Without a set-in-stone recipe, the dish can be what you make of it, and easily adapts to whatever ingredients you have on hand, and can be adapted to any serving size. Both personal portion and family-sized meals can be made with the same steps, the only difference is amount of ingredients used.

Without further ado, here we go. To start off, the only two mandatory ingredients needed are gluten-free pasta and pesto. The pasta can be whatever you’re favorite brand is, or in any shape or size. If you want to go off the board, zucchini “zoodles” can even be used. Don’t limit your imagination, because the dish works equally well with pasta shells, spaghetti, rotini, or bow dies. The pesto, too can be any form imaginable- freshly made, jarred, from a mix, or otherwise.

For my recreation, I used Jovial’s organic gluten-free tagliatelle, which I couldn’t resist picking up at Fresh Market. Normally skeptic of brown rice pasta, the allure of the sleek packaging and prospect of eating a pasta I have not had gluten-free, I decided to give the egg noodles a try. The pesto I used is Maison LeGrand’s vegan, raw pesto, which is the first and only packaged pesto I’ve found that’s both dairy and gluten-free (see my review here).

Next, add in whatever veggies, meat, or cheese you desire to customize the pesto-pasta base. My mom’s traditional recipe called for tomatoes, broccoli, and mozzerella, but the latter of the three is now off limits in my post-dairy days. I decided to go with tomatoes and broccoli, but made a mental note to grab deli turkey or chicken to mix in on a future occasion to add protein.

To prepare, slice tomatoes in half, and shave off the tops of broccoli heads. 

The pasta needed about eight minutes to boil to al dente- how I like it. Constant stirring is recommended to keep it’s shape and to minimize sticking due to the starchiness of gluten-free pasta. Once drained, transfer noodles to a bowl, and dole out pesto and toppings as needed. Then, simply mix together to an evenly spread the ingredients- then enjoy!

Refrigerate to chill, if served cold, but a fair warning that sometimes gluten-free pasta doesn’t hold up as its gluten-filled counterpart does. 

Disclaimer: The recipe provided should be reviewed to assess for personal dietary needs. Feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.

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