In the summertime, in particular, I seem to have a hard time coming up with easy, light — yet filling — gluten free dinner ideas. My rotation often looks something like this: homemade gluten free pizza, gluten free Pad Thai, gluten free Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, grilled homemade gluten free pizza … wait, did I say that one already? At any rate, a fresh gluten free Avocado Pesto Pasta recipe seemed like a good one to add to the mix!
And this one is extra special because it’s packed with lots of yummy health benefits, none of which my family could taste or be the wiser to! Pasta, whether gluten free or otherwise, is often bereft of any real nutrition beside carbs, so I like to get creative when pasta makes it onto our menu.
This time around I chose a gluten free protein pasta AND added protein in the pesto, but because you know it’s delicious even this full of super healthy ingredients, you could choose one version or the other, depending on what you have on-hand at the time. Either way, this yummy garlic-free avocado pesto is a winning recipe!
Speaking of garlic-free pesto recipes, I have another No-Garlic Pesto Dip Recipe I love which you could also sub in here as a pasta topper, if you’d rather. That one is a bit thicker and great for dipping, whereas this one is creamier and smooth, making it especially great for pasta, but they’re both yummy choices.
Isn’t life better with options?
So starting with the pasta, I used Tolerant Organic Chickpea Penne Pasta, with 11 grams of fiber and 20 grams of plant-based protein. The texture is just as good as regular pasta, but instead of vacuous carbs, it’s full of healthy goodness. Of course feel free to use whatever gluten free pasta is your favorite. I’ve added a few of my other top choices for gluten free pasta brands at the end of the recipe, just for reference (and for options!).
The avocado pesto sauce itself provides another opportunity for added nutrition. I mentioned that I don’t use garlic — that’s because garlic doesn’t like me and I try to avoid FODMAPs wherever I can (for more information on what FODMAPs are and why you may want to avoid them, hop to this article on the Low FODMAP diet.)
Go ahead and add a clove or two here if you prefer, but the flavor isn’t lacking in any way without it! Pine nuts, cumin and cayenne make my taste buds plenty happy without any garlic, but if you can tolerate adding garlic, it makes for a more traditional pesto flavor.
Avocados provide a delicious creamy texture on their own with lots of nutritious benefits like 20 different vitamins and minerals, and of course the healthy fats they’re known for. In addition, I’ve used OWYN protein drink for even more vitamins, minerals, fiber, Omega 3s, greens like spinach, kale and broccoli and 20 grams of plant-based protein. All OWYN products are also certified gluten free, vegan, non-GMO and even low-FODMAP.
If you haven’t heard about OWYN yet, I highly recommend it and use it in lots of recipes.* Everything from Gluten Free Protein Brownies to Coffee Cake Pound Cake and Butternut Squash Turmeric Golden Mylk Soup. Use the search bar at the top of the page and search OWYN — I’ve got a bunch of recipes for you, all packed with extra protein from these yummy plant-based, gluten free drinks.
If you don’t have any OWYN and want to make this recipe right now, never fear! This recipe is also delicious using a can of coconut milk you can find in any grocery store. I’ve linked to all these ingredients for you in my recipe so you can shop with confidence knowing what will work … and knowing you have options!
To make this recipe even easier, you’ll just need a pasta pot, a saute pan and a blender. I used my trusty Blendtec** to add all the sauce ingredients …
give it a whirl, and suddenly sauce! Couldn’t be easier! (Enter code GFJULES at for 25% off at https://www.blendtec.com)**
I hope your family loves this new gluten free Avocado Pesto Pasta recipe, and all its cool, creamy, delicious nutrition!
Customize this recipe with the veggies you have on hand — they don’t even have to be green!
1 cup frozen peas
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed (or use 1 zucchini, cubed)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 ripe avocado
.75 ounces fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup vanilla OWYN or canned coconut milk (lite or regular)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (less for less heat)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
cracked black pepper, to taste
8 ounces gluten free penne pasta
- Add frozen peas to 1/2 inch boiling water on the stovetop. Boil just until soft, remove and drain.
- Steam or saute asparagus until fork tender.
- To a blender or food processor, add avocado, basil, 1/4 cup pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, OWYN, salt and spices (reserve red pepper flakes and cracked black pepper to add later, if using). Process until totally smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add more OWYN (or coconut milk); if too thin, add 1/2 another avocado.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions, then rinse to stop the pasta from cooking further.
- Return pasta to the pot and add pesto sauce, peas, asparagus and additional 1/4 cup pine nuts, tossing to combine well. Add red pepper flakes and cracked black pepper, to taste.
- Serve with a garnish of fresh basil.
- Serve hot or cold. Makes great leftovers, too!
As a member of Amazon Associates and other affiliate programs, I may earn a small amount from qualifying purchases; this amount goes to fund this blog and does not cost you anything additional.
365 Everyday Value, Organic Coconut Milk, 13.5 oz
Le Veneziane - Italian Penne Rigate Pasta [Gluten-Free], (4)- 8.8 oz. Pkgs
OWYN Protein Drink
Jovial Gluten Free Penne Rigate Brown Rice Pasta 12 oz (Pack of 3)
Tolerant Organic Gluten Free Chickpea Penne Pasta, 8 Ounce Box (Case of 6), Plant Based Protein, Vegan Pasta, Single Ingredient Protein Pasta, Whole Food, Clean Pasta, Low Glycemic Index Pasta
Blendtec Designer Series Blender-WildSide+ Jar (90 oz) -Professional-Grade Power-Self-Cleaning-6 Pre-Programmed Cycles-8-Speeds-Sleek and Slim, Black
Bialetti 7548 Oval 5.5 Quart Pasta Pot with Strainer Lid, Nonstick, Coastal Blue
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*I’ve partnered with OWYN (Only What You Need) to use their products in order to increase the nutrition in many popular gluten-free recipes. Some links to products may be affiliate links.
**I am a Blendtec brand ambassador. Enter code GFJULES at https://www.blendtec.com for 25% off anything except already discounted Pro Series)
As always, all opinions are my own. See my disclosure policy for more information. Working with select brands I love allows me to keep bringing you free recipes, and I hope that in the process, you’ll learn about some of the safe gluten free products I choose for my family. Thanks so much for your support!