So GoodJun/Jul 2011 Issue

Gluten-Free Pasta Pickup

A salad for people on the go

Is it just me or are we all running in six different directions? This seems particularly true at mealtime, when best intentions turn into quick fixes. We cross our fingers. Will tonight’s supper taste good? Be presentable? Get to the table on time?

Not so fast! Here’s a gluten-free pasta salad that’s as easy as it is yummy. Although it takes just minutes to prepare, everyone will think you spent hours in the kitchen. The secret? Good pasta (slightly undercooked) and a quality gluten-free commercial brand of pesto. These core ingredients, plus garden-fresh ripe tomatoes, make this summer salad fast and flavorful. Vary taste and texture by tossing in sliced jalapenos and a bit of shaved Parmesan, if tolerated.

Gluten-free Pasta Salad

Gluten-Free Pasta Pickup Salad with Pesto and Tomatoes

SERVES 6 to 8

This beautiful dish explodes with flavor. It’s best when assembled right before serving. If garden tomatoes aren’t in season, use good-quality roasted red peppers.


1 (10-12 ounce) package gluten-free brown rice or corn spirals, penne or elbow pasta
1 pint fresh, local tomatoes, chopped
½ cup good-quality pesto,* more for garnish
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon for cooked pasta

1. Bring 2 to 3 quarts salted water to boil. Cook pasta until chewy or just al dente, 3 to 4 minutes less than directed on the package. (Undercook pasta to prevent it from falling apart when tossed; pasta continues cooking after it is drained.) Rinse pasta under cold water and drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. Reserve.

2. Combine ½ cup pesto with vinegar and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss with pasta.

3. Add tomatoes and dollops of remaining pesto. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Each serving contains 271 calories, 14g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 89mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g protein.

*For a gluten-free, dairy-free pesto that can also be made nut-free, try our recipe for homemade Roasted Red Pepper Pesto, available at

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