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Posts Tagged ‘sun dried tomatoes’

Is there such a  thing as healthy pasta with Alfredo sauce? Perhaps not, but you can’t blame me for trying!

You see, Alfredo sauce is a craving of mine. And I got the craving the other week. Unfortunately I had no Alfredo sauce in the house and I am not one to make it from scratch either. In fact, out of the jar is what makes it so comforting to me, I don’t have to do too much!!

So last week I bought a jar of Classico Roasted Garlic Alfredo sauce. (It says Gluten Free on the label!) And then I got to feeling under the weather and so I *really* wanted carbs and cheese, and lots of it! And this is what I ended up with…

Alfredo Vegetable Pasta

Alfredo Vegetable Pasta

an original from Beyond Rice and Tofu

1 pound of pasta, gluten free *

1 – 15 oz jar Classico Alfredo sauce, check the label

1 – 15 oz can artichoke hearts in water, chopped

8 oz frozen spinach

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, not in oil, chopped

1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed to thin

1 – 15 oz can white beans, drained (or garbanzos, cooked chicken or shrimp*)

a few Kalamata olives, sliced

fresh basil, torn

Cook pasta. For gluten free pasta, use lots of water in a large pot. And stir frequently to prevent it from sticking together.

Empty contents of sauce into a medium saucepan. Add artichoke hearts, spinach and tomatoes and stir to combine. (You can add the spinach still frozen like I did.) Add broth as needed to thin slightly.  Add beans and just cook till beans are heated through.

Drain pasta. Place in serving bowls and stir in some sauce. * Top with olives and basil. Enjoy!

Notes:

* My favorite pasta is Trader Joe’s brand, which is the same as Tinkyada pasta.

* I have been eating a bit of meat or fish here or there to bump up my perennially low B-12 levels. I added some cooked (frozen) shrimp to mine.

* Keep leftover cooked pasta and sauce separate. Reheat pasta in a covered bowl with a teaspoon or two of water in the microwave. Reheat sauce separately and then combine as desired.

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We love chickpeas at our house! So I am always looking for new flavor combinations to try with them. I spotted an inspirational recipe a few months ago and it has been sitting here on the desk to try. And finally we did this last week. I switched things up a bit to fit our tastes and dietary needs and it was still delicious.

Chickpeas with Sausage and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Adapted from Dishing Up Delights

Makes 4-6 servings

1 Tbsp oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

12 oz soy chorizo, crumbled *

2 – 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

2-3 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped *

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Sour cream or plain yogurt

Cooked rice or pasta

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions have softened. Add the sausage and chickpeas and cook until heated through (this vegetarian sausage was pre-cooked). Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and oregano. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, then turn off heat and add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

We served this over brown rice. You could toss with cooked pasta as well. The soy chorizo made this quite spicy so I topped mine with a bit of plain yogurt to cool it off.

Notes:

* I used Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. It is quite spicy. Also, the texture is more like crumbled ground beef instead of pork sausage.

* We still have fresh oregano growing in the garden but you could just as easily used dried. I would start with about 1 Tbsp and see what you think.

I apologize for the photos over the next few month in advance. Since I have a day job, and the days are much shorter, most of my photos will be taken after dark, under my kitchen lighting, which isn’t very flattering and is pretty orangey, but it will have to do for now. No fancy equipment here…

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I love pesto. But my husband does not. So it is one of those things I make for myself, and I only make him eat it occasionally. This summer I have been keeping a small bowl of traditional basil pesto in the frig and I have been enjoying it smeared on toasted Udi’s or Canyon Bakehouse bread with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a slice or two of tomato. So delicious.

I had made some basil pesto earlier this week because my basil plants needed trimming and when I was digging around for something for lunch today, I found some leftover brown rice penne.  So I lightly heated up the pasta (add a bit of water and put a lid loosely on it – I’ve found that it helps to reheat leftover gluten free pasta slightly, even if eating it cold or room temperature) and stirred in a big spoonful of pesto. Then I sliced up some cherry tomatoes and added a few little chunks of fresh mozzarella, salt and fresh ground pepper. What a delicious lunch!

But I have also been known to make other types of pesto. A while back I made sun-dried tomato and spinach pesto. And when I saw Linda’s Pesto Challenge over at The Gluten Free Homemaker, I knew I needed to post this recipe since it has been languishing in my “future posts” folder for about six weeks now. I initially made this back when I was still harvesting a lot of spinach. No spinach growing right now, but it is almost time to plant spinach for a fall harvest.

Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Pesto and Pasta

Inspired by all, but an original recipe by Renee

1 pound bag of brown rice penne *

3 cups fresh spinach, divided

4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

3 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

olive oil

1-15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz. can artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped *

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta according to directions. If you are making gluten free pasta, be sure to use a lot of water, more than you would for regular pasta. And be sure to stir the pasta frequently when you begin cooking it as it can clump together easily. Drain pasta. (Drain pasta into a colander with the remaining spinach in it if you prefer your spinach to be wilted.)

In a food processor, combine 1 cup of spinach leaves, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse it while slowly adding enough olive oil until it is of a pesto consistency. Taste and adjust according to your preference.

Stir pesto into warm pasta and remaining 2 cups of spinach leaves. Add chickpeas and artichoke hearts and top with crumbled goat cheese. Easy, delicious and nutritious!

Notes:

* My preferred gluten free pasta is Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta. For this dish I used the penne but you could use any shape. My other favorite pasta is Tinkyada, which may be the same as Trader Joe’s pasta, just under a different label.

* I prefer the artichoke hearts that are canned in water, not oil. I typically find them at Trader Joe’s. And depending on what I am making with them, I will buy the water or oil.

**This post is linked to The Gluten Free Homemaker’s Pesto Challenge on Gluten Free Wednesdays and Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.** And be sure to check out past Gluten Free Wednesday pesto posts here.

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