This past New Years I didn’t resolve to do much, usually I resolve to do the same kind of thing- lose my Christmas weight, drink less wine and be more organized; but as 2013 dawned I didn’t make any of these resolutions. Instead, this year I resolved to give up gluten. As 2012 drew to a close, and I was getting more and more requests for gluten free classes, I began to research; and in my research I discovered that our bodies don’t need gluten. In fact, gluten, which is rooted from the Latin word for glue, does exactly that, gets all glutinous in our digestive tract and creates all sorts of problems. For some of us these problems cause lasting damage, and this is called celiac disease; for others it creates gas and minor digestive upsets; and for the rest of us it can make losing weight harder. Regardless, everyone has their reasons for giving up gluten.
The one question I get all the time is “what is the best gluten free pasta?” Which is followed quickly by “that has the same bite as real pasta?” For a long while I suggested brown rice pasta; but honestly, brown rice pasta is far from the best gluten free pasta, because of the chewy texture it has. And then I dabbled in corn pasta, which isn’t too bad, but if you boil it one minute over, it’s complete mush; not to mention that conventional corn is big time GMO, and corn pasta can be hard to source. So what’s left? Quinoa pasta that’s what!
I say this all the time and I will say it again, quinoa is a perfect food; along with being a complete protein, a complex carbohydrate and full of vitamins and minerals, but it’s also the BEST gluten free pasta out there. You see, it has the exact same mouth feel as wheat pasta, to the point where no one would notice if you didn’t mention that it was, in fact, gluten free pasta.
This is a big deal for a two of reasons:
1) Those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease are able to enjoy pasta dishes reminiscent of their pre- GF days.
2) There is no post pasta feast food coma. Because this is a complex carbohydrate, it’s a slow burner, meaning you won’t crash after you eat it.
This pasta dish is the perfect meatless meal, it will leave you feeling full but there is a satiety factor that only a big bowl of pasta can provide! I packed it full of broccolini, cremini mushrooms, tomatoes and aged cheddar- but the vegans among us are free to omit the cheese.
I made this one day and enjoyed it for days after, as it got better with age- you know by now I love a good vintage on a dish! Once you take a big sloppy spoonful, you will agree that this is the best gluten free pasta dish you have ever tasted.
Dearest Quinoa, thank you for being you!
Quinoa, Broccolini, Tomato and Mushroom Pasta
6oz. broccolini, blanched
7 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
227g quinoa spaghetti (I like GoGo Quinoa), cooked…be sure to reserve the cooking liquid
1 ½ tbsp ghee or coconut oil for vegans
398 ml can organic diced tomatoes, drained
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp chili flakes
¼ cup pasta cooking liquid
½ cup aged cheddar (optional)
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and add the mushrooms; cook down for 5 minutes, stirring and season with salt and chili flakes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broccolini and pasta cooking liquid then toss to coat. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Garnish with cheese and serve.