Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cilantro pesta salad to beat the heat

By Giselle Wedemire

The summer heat has been getting the best of me lately, and retreating indoors often provides little to no relief for me -- especially in my kitchen. For some strange reason, my kitchen seems to retain even the smallest amount of heat during the summer, regardless of if the last time my stove was turned on was two hours ago or two days ago!

This presents the unique challenge of needing (and wanting) to make myself nutritious meals while avoiding excess heat at all costs. Salads are a great way to solve this problem,  and I've been taking advantage of the cool simplicity of making salads a lot this summer, but I was in the mood for something a bit heartier the other day. 

I also needed to use up the rest of the cilantro pesto I had lingering in the fridge after I made some amazingly delicious black bean wraps earlier that week. Thus, out of necessity and high humidity my pesto pasta (pesta?) salad was born!

I strongly suggest you whip this gluten-free and vegan wonder up whenever you feel you've had enough of the summer sun, and dig in while cooling off in the shade.

Cilantro pesta salad
(serves 4 as an entree)

What you'll need:
2 cups dried gluten-free pasta (I used Catelli's gluten-free penne)
1/2 cup Thug Kitchen's cilantro pesto
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 tbsp chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

What you'll need to do:

  • Prepare the pasta in boiling water according to the package's instructions. Once cooked and cooled, transfer to a large serving bowl.
  • In the meantime, whip up the cilantro pesto in a food processor or blender. The recipe makes one cup of pesto, so measure out 1/2 cup of pesto and save the rest for another day.
  • Add the pesto to the bowl of pasta. Add in the black beans, corn, and peas as well, and mix until everything is well coated with pesto.
  • Add the diced avocado and mix lightly, being careful not to smush the bits of avocado.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Try this recipe out and let us know what you think of it by commenting below or by tweeting us at @PickyBitchez.

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