Quinoa Spaghetti with Asparagus (Gluten Free Pasta)
Since I gave birth to Aria 13 months ago, I've been determined to shed the weight I had gained during pregnancy. It took 9 months to gain the weight, so I knew it was going to take quite some time, perhaps even longer to lose it all. Part of my strategy has been to eat vegetarian 2 to 3 times a week. As you can imagine, this has made my husband Lulu (who is a vegetarian) very, very happy. “Halfway there,” he says.
One of my favorite dishes to make on veggie days is gluten-free quinoa pasta. The pasta is awesome. It has a different texture, but I really enjoy it. For this dish, I sauteed tomato-flavored quinoa spaghetti in garlicky baby asparagus spears and added sunflower seeds as the main source of protein. I’ll be eating this dish even after I reach my target weight, but I’ll be sure to throw in some meatballs or chicken breast (and of course, I’ll share the recipe). Sorry, Lulu!
Yields: 6 servings1 pound tomato-flavored quinoa spaghetti
1½ pounds small asparagus spears, blanched and cut into 3" pieces
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 ounces crème fraîche (click on the link for the recipe)
1½ tablespoons coarse salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
¼ cup sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
2 tablespoons sweet basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
For the quinoa spaghetti: Bring about 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti, bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the pasta will be cooked all the way through evenly. Cook the pasta for about 9-10 minutes total. Salt the water half-way through the cooking process and keep stirring every now and then to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the pasta is cooked, drain it through a colander, reserving some of the pasta water.
Assembly time: In a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and cook until slightly golden. Add the asparagus and toss well for 3 minutes. Add the basil and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Drizzle with lemon and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter. In the same pan, add more oil if necessary and add the shallot. Cook until slightly golden, then add the quinoa pasta and lemon zest. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, tossing continuously. Add about 1 to 1½ cup pasta water. Cook until the liquid evaporates. Return the asparagus to the pan. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Finish with sunflower seeds and chopped parsley.
And if you're a pasta lover, check out other pasta dishes.
Quinoa pasta is available in regular stores such as Safeway or Nob Hill.Published By: on December 3, 2012.