For July’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Becky of A Calculated Whisk. She also cooks gluten free (and paleo), so I was was spoiled in my options and with the eye candy of her beautiful photos!
Becky also loves putting avocados in smoothies, Salted chocolate hazelnut cookies, Mexican almond pulp brownies, Vietnamese caramelized pork meatballs vermicelli bowls and Pico de gallo de frutas.
I had a few avocadoes on my counter and some fresh basil that needed using up, so I ended up making her avocado cilantro pesto pasta salad.
I did modify the recipe as I had basil to use up, so I replaced the cilantro in my version. I added garlic because what pesto is complete without garlic? I used my single serve blender instead of a food processor as it’s much easier to clean. I think pestos are supposed to be chunkier, but I blended mine smooth. I used hemp hearts instead of the feta as I had it on hand and I try not to eat a lot of cheese.
I tried it both warm and cold and I prefer the cold version of it. It goes very well with barbecued meat, making this the perfect healthy summer side dish! Mr. Bean and I liked it so much we are definitely adding it into our repertoire!
Avocado Pesto Pasta Salad
1 clove of garlic
1 c. Fresh basil
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. Hemp hearts, divided
Juice of 1 lime
Green onions, sliced
1 lb. pasta (I used go go quinoa circle pasta, but feel free to use whatever kind of pasta you want.)
- Cook pasta to Al Dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, blend together avocados, lime juice, olive oil, garlic and basil. Once smooth/to the desired degree of blendedness, add 1/4 c. of hemp hearts and blend.
- Pour pesto over pasta, adding green onions, peas and remainder of the hemp hearts.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
What’s your favourite summer pasta?
For the rest of Group D’s recipes, please click below!
This is a dish that I enjoy making and eating frequently as it’s easy, healthy and makes great leftovers! (Anyone cooking for one knows how awesome leftovers are!) I especially love making this meal in the summer on my BBQ. Unfortunately, my BBQ ran out of gas mid roast, so I ended up frying the sausages in a pan and roasting the veggies in the oven. How’s that for year round versatility?
There are a lot of veggies on this – perfect for veggie lovers like myself – but feel free to use whatever combination you want! I recommend using the tomatoes and the zucchini as they provide most of the moisture for the pasta. I usually end up making the tomatoes and zucchini in one pan and the rest of the veggies on another since there are so many. If you like spice, feel free to roast a chopped spicy pepper along with the veggies.
Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Roasted Vegetable and Sausage Pasta
12 oz Pasta
6 Large Sausages (Or 12 if smaller)
1 lb grape, cherry or other small tomatoes
2 small zucchinis, halved and sliced
1 lb mushrooms, washed and quartered
1 onion, chopped
1 pepper, diced
1 bunch of asparagus, ends broken off and cut into pieces
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
Any other seasonings you desire
- Preheat BBQ or oven to 450F. Coat a non-stick pan with olive oil.
- Toss veggies in a few tbsps of olive oil until coated. Spread out on pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Roast veggies for ~30 minutes until the veggies are soft, the tomatoes have burst and there is liquid in the pan.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta and grill or fry the sausages, pronking them with a fork or knife to let the fat out.
- Once the sausages are cooked, paper towel the grease off and slice.
- You can either assemble the meal in your bowl/on your plate or put everything in the pasta pot and stir until the pasta is coated in the tomato juices. You can add a bit of oil if the pasta is too dry for your liking. Salt and pepper to taste.
What’s one of your favourite go to meals?
For May’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. She likes to cook healthy and low fat – and has lost ~100 lbs, which is quite the accomplishment! Christie is definitely an example of how healthy recipes don’t have to be bland or boring!
Christie has tons (and I mean tons – I’m so impressed with how regularly she posts!) of delicious looking recipes like her Orange Beef Stir Fry, One Pot Paprika Chicken with Spinach, Poutine for Dessert and her Banana Waffles with PB Syrup (I totally need a waffle maker!) She also makes macarons. So much talent and delicious food! It was so hard to choose!
I ended up choosing her Bean and Basil Pesto Penne and I was definitely pleasantly surprised with the results! I’ve always wanted to try pesto, but it seemed really complicated or full of dairy. Fortunately, Christie’s version is simple (2 steps!), vegan and delicious! Mr Bean liked it so much that he had huge amounts of seconds! I upped the recipe a bit so that I would use the entire 398mL (14 oz) can of beans.
Gluten Free and Vegan Bean and Basil Pesto Penne
1 – 14 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed (I used navy as I’ve never been able to find Cannellini)
3/4 c. fresh basil
1 oz almonds
1/2+ c. vegetable broth
2 -3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 box of Catelli gluten free Penne (or whatever kind of pasta you want), cooked to al dente
- Add beans, basil, almonds, broth, garlic, oil, salt and pepper to food processor and process until smooth, adding more broth if required.
- Pour over hot pasta and toss to coat.
Christie, it was a treat looking through your blog! 🙂
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking below!
I know I haven’t had much presence on the interwebs in the last month or so because of my new job. It’s really only recently that I’ve felt inspired enough to actually do things other than eat, sleep, go to work, go to all the other extracurricular activities and commitments and occasionally go to the gym. It’s getting better as I slowly get into the rhythm of things and get used to getting up early. Today, I felt a bit more inspired to photograph this dinner that Mr. Bean made instead of just eating it and moving on, so I have a recipe to share.
Last Saturday, Mr. Bean and I went to a “locavore” restaurant in Calgary called The District. One of the items on the menu was a very delicious sounding “Venison, Mushroom, Tomato and Gruyère Macaroni and Cheese.” Mr. Bean ended up ordering something else (I couldn’t eat it regardless), but we decided that it sounded like something we would like to try making ourselves. Unfortunately, it sounded like something that wouldn’t really work as a weeknight meal (even though in the end, it took about 45 minutes to put it together), so we’d have to wait to try it on a weekend.
Fast forward to today: we went to the Calgary Farmer’s Market to get some tasty carrots (WAAAAAY better than the ones you get at the grocery store) and decided to also pick up some ground elk and some Alberta made Gruyère cheese in hopes of making it for dinner tonight. It did not disappoint as it was very delicious! Not really a low-calorie meal, but it’s definitely perfect for a splurge that still comes with vegetables!
Fancy Elk, Mushroom and Tomato Gruyère Mac N’ Cheese
1/2+ lb. Ground elk (or other ground meat)
1 1/2 – 2 c. Mushrooms, diced (we used a mixture of white, Portobello and oyster mushrooms)
1 onion, diced
2 – 3 cloves garlic
1/3 – 1/2 c. each Cream and/or Milk
Salt and Pepper
1+ c. finely grated Gruyère cheese
1/2+ lb. brown rice noodles
1/2 c. grape tomatoes, cut in half
- Heat up butter in a frying pan and sauté mushrooms and onions until reduced and cooked through. Remove from pan.
- In the same frying pan, cook up the ground meat until brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, set a pot of salted water to boil and cook noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- While browning the meat, heat up a few tbsp. of butter in a small saucepan. Mince the garlic and add to butter and cook until garlic starts to brown.
- Add cream and milk to butter and garlic and stir to combine. In a measuring cup, mix together 1 – 2 tbsp of cornstarch with cold water, then add to the milk mixture. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until desired thickness. Add more cornstarch if necessary.
- Stir in about 2/3 – 3/4 of the grated cheese until melted.
- Place the noodles, meat and mushroom mixture in the same pot that you cooked the noodles in. Pour the sauce over the noodles and stir until evenly coated.
- Spoon onto plates and serve with cut tomatoes and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese.
Have you ever tried to recreate something you saw in a restaurant? How did it turn out?