The watercress pesto is going, going . . . gone. Already time for a second batch. If watercress is new to you, you might want to try it in this Fatigue Fighting Baked Salmon dish first. Or, just dive in, and turn it in to pesto, so you can make this Watercress Pesto Pasta.
My favorite gluten free pastas by far are quinoa pastas. They are higher in protein and fiber than standard pastas, but are the closest in texture to regular wheat pasta. The one I buy in the States is Ancient Harvest, which I find at Whole Foods and Fred Meyer. For a long time, nothing similar was available here in Malaysia. Recently, a thoughtful friend of mine picked up a box of this quinoa pasta for me, which I’ve found is regularly stocked at Big in Publika. It has the same great, chewy, non-gritty, non-mushy texture of the Ancient Harvest. Ancient Harvest is quinoa and corn, and Quinua Real is quinoa and rice. Alex never can tell when I used a gluten free pasta– because I search out good ones! It’s not worth it to me if it doesn’t taste similar to the real thing. I’ll take rice noodles or vegetables noodles instead!
Parsnips are one of my favorite vegetables, hands down. If you haven’t tried them baked into french fries, they are incredible! Super simple. Cut into long strips, coat in coconut or olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at a high temperature until the outsides are a bit crispy. A great alternative to potatoes!
Lately, in my attempt to up the protein in my diet, I have been relying more and more on animal proteins. I tend to forget how much protein vegetables can have. Greens, like watercress and spinach are 50% protein. Parsnips also have a few grams of high quality protein, and both watercress and parsnips are high in calcium. Add some quinoa pasta, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese to the mix, and it’s a solid vegetarian meal packed with plant proteins and tons of nutrition.
The recipes are now searchable by dietary need, season or holiday, as well as courses. If you see any out of place, please let me know! I already found 7 Layer Stuffed Bell Peppers under “Gluten Free Dessert.” Oops.
It’s been a very productive week off my “real” job! I have some fun things ready to post for the holidays coming up, and will be announcing a social campaign called “31 Days of Gratitude” in November. Come back November 1st and join in!
In addition, a glimpse of my other life, I’ve been working on becoming a Google Apps trainer, and part of receiving the certification is having a technology blog and an “online presence.” I have tons of ideas to post, but am really too busy at work to blog about what I do! So, I have put together a blog layout this week, and will talk more about that blog as it gets running.
This pasta can be customized with whatever pesto you have on hand, and the vegetables can also be mixed up. The pine nuts can’t be left off. Sorry. They are such a wonderful sweet contrast to the peppery watercress (the parsnips, too!).
- ½ pound of pasta (I used a quinoa-rice blend)
- ½ cup watercress pesto (or sub favorite)
- 1 large parsnip
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup watercress leaves (optional- but we loved the extra greens!)
- ½-2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce (1/2 isn't enough to make it spicy- but adds great flavor)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (garnish)
- 2 tablespoons shredded or shaved parmesan (optional, garnish)
- Preheat over to 450 degrees f.
- Cut bell peppers and parsnips into long strips. Spread over a cookie sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, and starting to brown around the edges.
- Cook pasta per package directions. Rinse, and drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of pasta water.
- Back in the pot, combine pasta, reserved pasta water, pesto, sriracha, and lemon juice. Stir until all the pasta is coated.
- Add the roasted vegetables. Garnish with extra watercress leaves, pinenuts, and parmesan, if desired. Add extra sriracha (we both did!), if desired.
More Fall Inspired Pasta Dishes:
- Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese, by Two Peas and their Pod
- Vegetarian Pumpkin and Kale Pasta Bake, by The Adventures of MJ and Hungry Man
- Carrot and Parsnip Pesto Pasta, by Almost all the Truth (the veggies ARE the pasta here!)
- Parsnip Risotto with Beets and Parsnips, by Veglicious (too delicious not to include, even though not really pasta!)