Healthy Meals: Gluten-Free Cream-Free Penne Pesto Pasta!

Nobody needs to be told how to make pasta – you pop it into some salted boiling water and wait for it go soften – but sometimes pasta dishes can be a little lacking in inspiration… and that’s where this pasta dish comes in.

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Since I was diagnosed with IBS, I actively avoided all pasta as it inherently bloated me, made me crave tons of sugary foods (of which I couldn’t have!), and was always with a creamy sauce which I could never digest properly. It was a trio of issues which I’ve avoided, and continue to avoid, even with this penne pesto pasta dish!

That’s because the pasta I’ve started using from Hale & Hearty is totally wheat-free and made with digestion-friendly quinoa and rice flour instead of wheat flour. The pesto is full of healthy fats from the olive oil base and also provides a hearty sauce which would otherwise be a cream-based one, or a tomato-based sauce with lots of sugar and salt added to it. I also throw in the best digestion-friendly veg which goes so well with the pesto – broccoli and courgettes – as well as a few pine nuts to top off the dish.

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Go ahead and try this pasta dish and see how well your stomach can handle it! If you’re feeling inspired, feel free to throw in a greater range of greens to the mix for that added bit of crunch.

Ingredients

  • 400g penne pasta from Hale & Hearty
  • 250g broccoli, cut into florets
  • 100g courgettes, sliced vertically
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
  • 1 large lemon, zested (you’ll also need the juice from this too)
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Cook the pasta for 20 minutes in boiling salted water until softened.
  2. In a separate saucepan, boil the broccoli florets and the courgette strips for 4 minutes.
  3. Once these have both softened, drain the broccoli and mash with a potato masher, but leave the courgettes strips as they are.
  4. Add the garlic, lemon zest and chilli flakes to the greens and mix in.
  5. Drain all the pasta once it’s cooked, return to the pan and stir in the broccoli courgette pesto.
  6. Squeeze in some juice from the lemon and add in the oil.
  7. Sprinkle over the pine nuts, a generous amount of pepper, and serve!
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