Pesto was always popular in my house since we had so much basil to get through from the garden and it was the only way to use it all. But adding avocado and making an avocado pesto just seemed like a super delicious and decadent idea that I just couldn’t resist!
Now, nothing against my daddy-o’s pesto pasta salad but it’s got nothing on my avocado pesto version and it probably wouldn’t fly at many large gatherings today. With so many friends and family opting to go Gluten Free these days, it’s likely the high fat potato salad will steal the People’s Choice award this year. I wanted to reclaim my dad’s green-sauce-fame with an avocado pesto pasta salad that gets everyone at the picnic buzzing. This recipe features my go-to Gluten Free pasta on the market, Catelli. Speaking as a gluten-lover, this Catelli pasta offers a great texture and flavour and holds up to my amazing avocado pesto. It’s made of white rice, brown rice, corn and quinoa and has been voted the best New Gluten Free Pasta by Consumers. I’ll tell you, my fiance (who would admittedly turn his nose up at a GF pastas), fell in love with this dish and had no idea it was totally GF.
Avocado Pesto 101
Instead of a traditional pesto sauce or a traditional high calorie mayo dressing, I opted to make my avocado pesto! Then I stretched the carbs with lots of seasonal vegetables like peas, asparagus, and tomatoes. Give this a try at your next weekend gathering and leave a comment on what you think!
Avocado Pesto Gluten Free Pasta Salad
- 3 tbsp peeled almonds roughly chopped and toasted
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley leaves roughly chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 oz parmigiano reggiano plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup part skim ricotta
- 1 ripe avocado pitted and peeled
- 1 tsp honey or to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb Catelli Gluten Free Fusilli pasta
- 1 lb asparagus ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas thawed
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes rehydrated in water and finely minced
- 1 oz sliced almonds toasted
- 1/2 oz parmigiano reggiano grated, for garnish
- In a food processor, blend together the almonds and garlic. Then add the basil, parsley, lemon zest, juice, cheeses, honey and avocado. Puree until very smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the Catelli Gluten Free Fusilli in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. In the last 3 minutes, add the asparagus, then add the peas in the last minute (if using fresh). Drain everything into a colander filled with ice.
- Once cooled, mix with the avocado sauce, grape tomatoes, and sundried tomatoes until well coated. If using frozen thawed peas, now is the time to mix them in. Top with the additional shaved parmesan cheese and toasted almonds.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.