Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quinoa Pasta with Creamy Avocado Arugula Sauce

Tonight I made this wonderful pasta dish, inspired by my favorite chef ever, Giada De Laurentiis.
For several years (probably ever since I started watching Food Network) Giada has been my idol. When I watch Giada at Home, I often jokingly say to Nate... or Lilly, "I wish I could be Giada" (ok, maybe only half jokingly). I used to say the same thing when watching Everyday Italian and Giada's Weekend Getaways. Who wouldn't want to be an amazing Italian chef who lives in a beach house in Santa Monica, has a husband who is a fashion designer for Anthropologie (be still my heart), and an adorable daughter who eats everything you make? I have bought (and saved) every magazine I have seen with her on the cover. I DVR her show weekly, and I have some of her cookbooks (certainly not all though). I watch her show all the way through, even if the episode doesn't contain a single recipe I would ever make. Maybe I have a slight obsession? I love the little clips on the show of her family and friends living the good life on the beach in California. She has my dream backyard. And kitchen. And dinnerware. All perfect for food photographing.
If you have watched any of her shows or made any of her recipes, you might have noticed that basically every single one has cheese integrated into it somehow. She is Italian after all. This dish is scrumptious even without the cheese- there were plenty of other flavors to liven it up! I also made it gluten free by using this delicious quinoa pasta. I would highly recommend it!
This is what it looked like before I mixed the avocado cream sauce all together with it.
Quinoa Pasta with Creamy Avocado Arugula Sauce
(Print Recipe)
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

8 ounces quinoa veggie curls pasta (or 8 ounces of your choice pasta)
1 medium avocado, halved, peeled, and seeded
1 1/2 cups baby arugula leaves
1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place in a serving bowl.

Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the avocado and place in a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss together. Add the tomatoes and almonds and toss together until coated, adding the pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce.
Giada always saves her pasta water to use incase the sauce needs to be thinned out a little. I love this trick and do it all the time myself too. The starchy water is a better addition to a sauce, than straight tap water. This was one of the fastest dinners to make, ever. It literally took no longer than the time for the pasta to cook. The sauce was whipped up in the food processor while the pasta cooked.

I love how how healthy, simple, and delicious this meal is. I have submitted it to summer wellness weekends.
Thanks Giada! I bet you never would have guessed you are such an inspiration to a vegan blogger! 
Maybe she needs a vegan assistant?


  1. oh my goodness, this looks incredible! i love a good avocado pesto... or anything with avocado, really :)

  2. This looks really delicious. I've never had avocado in pasta but I bet it's really creamy. Brilliant. Quinoa pasta also sounds really interesting!

  3. Quinoa pasta is actually pretty similar in taste to regular pasta- at least I thought so... but of course it has those complete proteins that beat out regular pasta. Avocado is wonderful on pasta- you must try it :)

  4. It looks mouth-wateringly good. And who would ever have guessed she'd make something so vegan-friendly? Every time I've watched her show, it's meat, meat, meat. ;) Great recipe. Thanks for submitting this to Wellness Weekend this week! :)

  5. i love the creamy avocado sauce! did it lose its fresh green color though pretty quickly from being exposed to hot pasta? just curious!

  6. It actually didn't lose it's fresh green color- I think the lime juice helps with that... and my pasta was slightly cooled by the time I added the sauce to it.

  7. That recipe looks awesome! I want to make it right now.. if only I had arugala and basil! That brand of GF pasta is our Fav.

    On another note, it just isn't fair that Giada is that beautiful and lives such an amazing life! So Jealous!! Could that woman be any more gorgeous? Sigh.

  8. Love the creamy avocado sauce.. i havent watched her show.. but she sure does look lovely!
    The pasta looks lovelier though!
    Richa @