Avocado Pesto Pasta

avocado pesto pastaToday’s recipe began as a pin on Pinterest. I saw the beginnings of what looked like a pretty tasty – and vegan – meal, only to discover that my pin linked to a different recipe than the image shown. The recipe was not to be found on the blog. Sad face.

Anyone who uses Pinterest on a regular basis knows this is a danger, but dang it, I really wanted that recipe! Since I am who I am, I would not be foiled. I would make my own. And it was successful – and so very, very easy, too!

This concoction was paired with a Sangiovese, just right with the garlic tang and the avocado creaminess of the pasta sauce. The leftovers were a bit homely, as avocado browns quickly, but it was just as delicious as the first night.

Avocado Pesto Pasta

  • Difficulty: super easy
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Serves 4

pinch of salt
1 package whole wheat spaghetti (I used einkorn pasta.)
2 ripe avocados
juice from 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 head of fresh basil, stems removed
½ teaspoon of salt
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 package of grape or cherry tomatoes

Set a pot of water over high heat. Add a pinch of salt, and cook spaghetti to package directions. Drain.
While pasta cooks, toss the rest of the ingredients (except tomatoes) in a food processor or high performance blender. Pulse until everything is combined, then run until creamy.
Toss avocado pesto with pasta and tomatoes, and call it dinner.

Garlic Scape Pesto

scapesEach year, for a fleeting spring moment, our produce department carries garlic scapes. These green curly cues are like the promise of warm, lengthening days in food form. Grown from hardneck garlic, this tender delicacy is much sought-after by foodies. It’s a little grassy, a whole lot garlic-y, and conveys the feeling of fresh breezes on a rolling field.

One of my friends looks forward to pickling scapes each year. I, on the other hand, seize the moment and grasshopper-like, devour them all at once in pesto form. Their meteoric burst of flavor is something I look forward to each year.

We paired our spring treat with a Sauvignon Blanc from Selby Winery. The pesto brought out a creaminess in the wine, and the wine’s brightness complimented the grassy garlic flavors of the dish.
scape pesto pasta

Garlic Scape Pesto

serves 2

12 garlic scapes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts
about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Throw everything but the oil in a food processor. Pulse a few times until everything is chopped and integrated. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is turned on. Stop drizzling oil when it gets to the right consistency, around the same thickness as a tapenade or dip. Toss with your favorite pasta.

Gluten-free Pizza

Gluten free pizza slice I had been noticing for quite awhile that when I ate bread, my joints would ache, and it kept getting progressively worse. It didn’t matter if it was organic, sprouted wheat bread or crappy French rolls from Sysco. First my left wrist would swell, then my knuckles, and finally my right elbow. Then my whole body would begin to HURT, I’d stiffen up, and it would be hard to move. Such negative reinforcement made me switch to a gluten-free diet pretty quickly, and I started to read “Wheat Belly” to get some answers.

While most of my meals are whole foods — lots of vegetables, some meat, some rice — sometimes, I crave comfort food. I’ve been investigating alternatives to some of my favorites. Keep in mind, I find these processed alternatives to be treats, so they’re not a regular feature of my meals. But sometimes, you just gotta have a piece of pizza.

gluten free crust For my first venture into the gluten-free world of pizza crust, I decided to go store bought. I’ll probably make a crust the next time, but it was a pretty tasty option. The texture, being rice, was interesting, both crispy and chewy, but it made for a good dinner.

Here’s my process:


Chevre, pepper jack (shredded), and small mozzarella balls
extra virgin olive oil
nitrite-free salami
orange bell pepper (sliced)
portobello mushroom cap (sliced)
basil leaves
roasted red pepper flakes
garlic powder
Roma tomato
pizza crust

Ready for the ovenPreheat oven to 500 degrees. (You’ll be turning it down a tad once you put the pizza in the oven.)

Brush top of crust with olive oil. Spread a nice layer of pesto to almost the very edge of the crust. Follow with the pepper jack, crumble on the Chevre, layer the salami, mushroom, and bell pepper on top of the cheese. Next, cover the pizza with basil leaves and sprinkle with the mozzarella balls. Shake with a generous amount of the pepper flakes and garlic powder, and then follow the instructions on the box for cooking temperature and time.

While pizza cooks, slice tomato thinly. Once pizza is finished, layer the tomato slices on top of the cheesy goodness, and chomp away.

Celebrating Scapes

One of the things I thoroughly enjoy about the local produce season getting under way is the challenge of the hunt. Since I discovered garlic scapes a couple of years ago, I eagerly anticipate their addition to the produce shelves. They’re only around for a short time, so the scapes have to be celebrated and savored while they’re here.

My favorite recipe for garlic scapes is from Dorie Greenspan’s blog. It’s a lovely, vibrant pesto made with scapes, parmesan, and almonds.

I toss the pesto with some al dente fettuccine, sprinkled some extra parmesan on top, and Kablam – it’s a taste sensation. The intense flavors of garlic and greenness dance upon the taste buds in a very pleasing samba.  We love pairing the pasta with a Viognier. The garlic amazingness brings out pear flavors in the wine that are lovely counterpoints, while the acidity helps the wine hold its own against the strength of the garlic.

One of our local bread bakers is also using scapes right now, in an amazing creation she calls “Armenian Spring Bread.” It’s quite tasty on its own and is an awesome side to pasta.