2013 – Gluten Free Living
Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Veggies is an amazing Meatless Monday recipe. It has pasta, a creamy avocado-garlic-lemon sauce, lots of roasted vegetables and then it’s sprinkled with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Oh, my! It’s also a very delectable, succulent, and vegetarian feast!
You can easily make this vegan by leaving off the Parmesan cheese. I can’t get enough of the creamy avocado sauce. My daughter-in-law made this version for us in February when we were in Pennsylvania visiting over Valentine’s Day. Since then I have made this several times and I have tried to incorporate roasted vegetables with the pasta and creamy avocado sauce to make it even more filling and healthy. I think I’ve succeeded.
Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Veggies is wonderful. You can use any kind of pasta, although I recommend a thicker one like fettucini, linguini, or the tubular types like rotini or ziti that have a lot of body to them. I used a gluten free penne because I didn’t have two gluten free linguini noodle packages.
While I’m on that topic, let me state that all gluten free pastas are NOT CREATED EQUAL! The gluten free pasta products made only with corn are HORRIBLE! They cook up hard and chewy. The ones made with rice or brown rice are far superior in my opinion. Ronzoni makes the best tasting gluten free pasta available.
There are a few keys to making this recipe well. First of all, don’t overcook your pasta. Cook it less than al dente – remove from heat after 2 or 3 minutes of boiling. Then allow the pasta to sit in the hot water for about 10 minutes and it will cook the rest of the way. If you cook gluten free noodles the full amount of cooking time they tend to fall apart when stirring all the vegetables into them.
Second, don’t over-roast your vegetables. I personally like them to have a little crunch, and if you cook them too long they will dissolve into the pasta and won’t hold their shape well–especially the tomatoes. That’s why I don’t recommend calipari tomatoes for this recipe. Halved grape tomatoes seem to hold their shape a lot better. I roasted them 30 minutes with the mushrooms. That was plenty of time.
Third, my daughter-in-law showed me that it’s helpful to save out about 1/2 to 1 cup of the pasta water (don’t throw it all out when you drain the pasta!) because you will need it to spread into the sauce. She’s right. It will help the thick avocado sauce spread into the pasta and vegetables better.
And, fourth, you will probably have to add some water to the avocado cream sauce as you pulse it in your blender just to get it to pulse unless you have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender.
Fifth, don’t add too much basil to the sauce or it will completely overwhelm all the avocado flavor. I’ve made this recipe several times. I’ve used differing amounts of basil each time. Any amount above two tablespoons is too much fresh basil. In fact, it is so strong you will probably have to throw it out!
Add just enough to give it a little flavor – one to two tablespoons fresh or about 1 teaspoon dried basil. I love this creamy sauce, but if you don’t care for avocados you may want to consider another sauce instead. It’s not for the faint of heart. 🙂
Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Veggies is healthy, gluten free, low calorie, and has many of the essential oils and nutrients helpful to maintain optimum health. We make this dish meatless and it is quite satisfying. Only the Parmesan cheese is dairy so those on vegan diets can easily substitute some other type of product or leave it off entirely.
(Although vegans will also have to make sure the noodles used are egg-free). The broccoli and the pine nuts add a nice, delicate crunch to the recipe, the avocado sauce adds wonderful flavor, and my addition of lots of roasted vegetables make this recipe outstanding.
If you’re looking for a healthy, meatless main dish recipe than consider giving this one a try. If you like guacamole and avocados you will LOVE this recipe. For those with family members that can’t eat a meal without meat, then add some grilled or baked chicken strips to the pasta. But, in my opinion, Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Vegetables really doesn’t need it!
When I initially posted this recipe in April 2013, it was right before I started using my Canon camera, so my pictures lacked clarity and light since I was only using an iPhone 4 at the time. I have been remaking all my first year recipes so I can update the pictures and this one happened to be on the menu.
I remade this recipe (July 2015) and made it very similar to my original post except that instead of mixing all the roasted veggies with the sauce and pasta, I layered the veggies on top of the pasta and avocado sauce instead. Then I sprinkled it with cheese and pine nuts. While I didn’t season the veggies with any herbs, you can always season with salt, pepper and some other fresh herbs, if you desire.
Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Veggies is a delicious Meatless Monday entree.
While Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Veggies has several steps to it, the taste and outcome is quite wonderful. Even still, if you time things right you can have this dish prepared and ready to serve in about an hour.
Look at all the wonderful, colorful vegetables in this tasty dish.
Here’s what I did.
I used these ingredients.
Wash and halve grape tomatoes. Grape tomatoes work a lot better than Calipari tomatoes. They hold their shape better and don’t dissolve into the pasta like calipari tomatoes do. Place tomatoes in a glass 10×15″ baking dish. Add sliced fresh mushrooms.
Brush all the veggies with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Add red onion cut in strips, a sliced leek, garlic, one each red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper cut in strips and one head broccoli florets, cut in bite-sized pieces. (I plated the peppers in another dish). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake all the veggies at 300 for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare avocado sauce. Cut avocados in half and remove pits and skin. The skins come off fairly easily. Place avocados in a blender. Add minced garlic cloves, salt, the juice of one lemon, olive oil and basil. I also added 1/4 cup water to get the mixture to pulse better.
Even with the addition of water the avocado mixture is thick.
After 30 minutes remove vegetables from oven. Turn off oven and keep vegetables warm until ready to mix with pasta and avocado sauce.
Here are the roasted peppers.
Here are the remaining roasted veggies.
Before you begin preparing the avocado sauce fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. I used gluten free penne pasta. This particular company makes their GF pastas with rice flour–a significant improvement in taste, quality, and texture to GF pastas made with corn in my opinion.
Boil pasta for only 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow pasta to remain in hot water about 10 minutes before draining. Be sure to reserve at least one cup of the pasta water after cooking. Don’t throw it all out! Drain pasta and place in large serving dish. Add avocado sauce from blender.
Add pasta water. I used 1/2 cup.
Stir to combine. You can add the entire contents of the roasted vegetables including juices to the serving bowl now, or place them on top of the pasta (which I did). Stir very gently to combine.
To serve: Spread avocado pasta on a plate. Using tongs remove roasted veggies from baking dishes and place over top of pasta. Sprinkle with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Eat and enjoy!
You can put whatever veggies you want on the pasta, or eat the pasta without any veggies at all!
Because I don’t over-roast the vegetables they hold their shapes really well. The same goes for the pasta. Overcooking it (or just cooking it the length of package directions will cause it to get mushy). I really love all the different textures of this dish. The vegetables are not cooked through all the way so they hold their texture and provide a nice, soft crunch.
Here’s the recipe.
CREAMY AVOCADO PASTA WITH ROASTED VEGGIES
(Recipe inspired from my Creamy Avocado and Tomato Pasta)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup red onion, cut in strips
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
- 1 orange or green bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
- 1 head broccoli florets, cut in pieces
- 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms or 8-oz. fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1/3 to ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 16 oz. gluten free penne pasta (see note for cooking directions)
- ½ to 1 cup reserved water from cooking noodles (I used ½)
- 4 ripe avocados, pit and skin removed
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled (I used half with the roasted veggies and the rest for the sauce)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- juice of one lemon
- 1-2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped, if desired, or 1 heaping tbsp. dried basil
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 300 ºF.
- Wash and halve the tomatoes.
- Place on a greased baking sheet.
- Add red onion, peppers, leeks, and broccoli florets (if you have fresh mushrooms add them also).
- Pour 1/3 to ½ cup olive oil in cup measure.
- Brush tops of vegetables with olive oil until they glisten.
- Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. (Use more if desired).
- Bake for 30 minutes in the oven.
- Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water.
- Bring to a rapid boil.
- Add the dry gluten free pasta to boiling water and cook at a rapid boil – about 2 minutes.
- Turn off heat and allow pasta to sit in hot water for 7-10 minutes.
- This is really important. If you cook the noodles to complete doneness they will shred and not hold their texture when you stir everything together.
- While the pasta is boiling, add 3 tbsp. olive oil, avocados, 2 cloves garlic, ½ tsp. salt, fresh chopped basil or 1 heaping tablespoon dried basil, water, and lemon juice to a food processor.
- Pulse until the ingredients are smooth and creamy.
- You may have to stir several times to get all the ingredients creamed well.
- Strain the pasta, and place in a large serving bowl. (Reserve 1 cup pasta water).
- Pour the avocado sauce over the pasta.
- Add reserved pasta water (I used ½ cup).
- Gently stir the roasted vegetables into the other ingredients in serving bowl or serve them over top of pasta/sauce ladled on plates.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
- Add some salt and black pepper to taste.
The creamy avocado sauce in this recipe is dreamy! It’s smooth and so wonderful to the tastebuds. I like it both with or without the basil.
For those of you eating clean, you can’t get much cleaner than this except to make your own homemade pasta with sprouted flour! Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Veggies is so substantial you won’t even miss the meat. It’s a great recipe for those trying to lose weight.