Gluten Free Italian Pasta Salad (Mayo Free, Dairy Free)

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and with that comes backyard get togethers, BBQ’s, and picnics.   Chances are the usual cast of characters will be present at most summer gatherings.   You know them well: coleslaw, potato salad, and pasta salad.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a big fan of each of those, but I must admit that I do get a bit weary of the mayo overload.  Sometimes I think that I can literally feel my cholesterol and LDL rising with each bite (OK, that’s a bit of hyperbole there).  Again, I like mayo…really like mayo, but I am also game for changing traditional foods up to improve the nutritional value.

Know what?  Sometimes those new, remade dishes are better, far better, than the original.  That’s how I feel about my pasta salad.  This is a no mayo pasta salad, but I  haven’t skipped out on one ounce of the creaminess that you expect in pasta salad.

The secret to this pasta salad comes in a humble (and inexpensive can) of cannelini beans.  Pureed, cannelini beans are smooth and luxurious (if a bean can me).  Blended with some healthy avocado oil, lemon juice, and some seasoning, you have the perfect mayo substitute.  I’ve been working on remakes of other mayo-based dishes, all using the same bean base just with tiny tweaks to seasoning.  Keep a look out for them in future blog posts.

So if you’re heading out to a gathering this weekend, consider trying my remade pasta salad.  It’s a healthy dish that everyone will love.

One last thing, if you haven’t done so already, head over to my Instagram page and enter a great giveaway. One entrant will win a $50 gift certificate from Jovial Foods.  You can use it to buy anything from their online story.  You could even order some of their GF fusilli and make this recipe!

Gluten Free Italian Pasta Salad (Mayo Free, Dairy Free)
Serves 4 (main course serving) or 6-8 (side dish serving)

12 oz. package Jovial Gluten Free Fusilli pasta, cooked, drained, rinsed under cold water
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup diced grape tomatoes (mixed colors of red, yellow, & orange tomatoes)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
3/4 cup cooked, diced Canadian bacon
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil & herbs, drained
1 cup finely chopped kale leaves, packed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, packed
1 cup finely cubed mozzarella cheese (optional, eliminate if dairy free or opt for a dairy free cheese instead)

15 oz. can cannelini beans, drained, rinsed
1/3 cup avocado oil (or other oil of your choosing)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon prepared, jarred pesto
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook gluten free pasta according to package instructions.  Drain.  Rinse under cold water.  Drain.  Set aside in a large bowl.

To create the dressing, place the drained beans, avocado oil, lemon juice and zest, pesto, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into a blender.  Puree until completely smooth.  There should be no large pieces or chunks remaining.

Pour the dressing into the bowl with the cooked pasta and stir to coat.

Add all of the remaining salad ingredients into the pasta mixture (peas, tomatoes, onion, Canadian bacon, sundried tomatoes, kale, basil, parsley, and mozzarella).  Stir to combine.  Cover and chill if desired, or serve immediately.


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Sausage, Swiss Chard & Kale Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

On a foodie level, this time of the year is a little bitter sweet.  While I am ready to say goodbye to the long, cold winter, I am hesitant to say goodbye to my fall and winter cooking.  My dinged up, decades old stock pot receives plenty of love and use over the course of those six months.  So many hearty, heart-warming, slow-cooked soups, sauces, and family favorites have emerged from it.   Their scents have filled our home and taken the chill from the air.  They’ve put the comfort in food.

Continue reading “Sausage, Swiss Chard & Kale Fire Roasted Tomato Soup”

Gluten Free Sloppy Joe Pizza

I’m not sure that I have ever met a teenager who didn’t like pizza.  My teens are no exception.  While not a regular item on our meal menu, we do indulge in pizza occasionally.  As a mom, I must admit that I do have a problem calling pizza a meal.   There’s little to balance out the carbohydrate load, and any vegetables or meat that is added is minimal in amount or processed beyond recognition.

So today I decided to tackle this issue head on with my Sloppy Joe Pizza.

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Gluten Free Beef and Vegetable Slow Cooker Lasagna

I don’t own many fancy kitchen gadgets or appliances.  I love my Vitamix and Kitchenaid Mixer and use one or both daily.  But then there’s my slow cooker; it rarely gets any love.  I’m not sure why.  On occasion I will allow a corned beef brisket the time slowly cook all day or whip up a beef stew for the crock pot.  Otherwise, the slow cooker sits in my closet, way back on a shelf, out of sight and out of mind.

This week I dusted off my crock pot lid (literally, there was dust on it) and decided to make a recipe that we all love:  lasagna.

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Lemon, Basil, and Kale Hummus

We are huge football fans.

No Super Bowl Sunday is complete without a spread of game day food.  I do try to keep a balanced menu.  It’s not all about chips and pizza.

So while we enjoy some of our homemade favorites like wings, loaded potato skins, and sloppy joes, there will also be a generous helping of vegetables and healthy bean dips.

Continue reading “Lemon, Basil, and Kale Hummus”