One of my go to meals is pasta. It’s quick, filling and oh so satisfying. Coming from a half Italian background, I grew up on it. Being married to an Italian who loves his pasta, I find myself craving it a lot. The problem with pasta is that the gluten always triggered my fibromyalgia symptoms in a terrible way. Immediately after eating it I’d get heart palpitations, my stomach would bloat up in such a painful way and the day after I would have my “typical” fibro neck and back pain that would inevitably lead to a three day non-stop pulsating headache.
In fact, having adopted a gluten-free diet for years now that pain is a part of my past . It makes me think that my fibromyalgia was largely a symptom of my body reacting to the food I would eat. Having changed to a vegan gluten-free diet I’ve never had a flare-up since! Of course there are many other facets to fibromyalgia that could trigger it, but diet is without doubt a huge factor.
Nowadays I eat a mostly raw food diet so I love making a raw pasta with zucchini noodles. But when I want a nice cooked pasta dish I enjoy gluten-free pasta and it totally hits the spot without all the painful effects afterward!
There’s also something to be said about being able to eat the same meal with the rest of my family at the table. Since no one else in my family shares my food philosophy I usually find myself eating something different than them at every meal, family gathering and social event etc. I’m quite used to it and realize that it’s a small sacrifice to be made to feel good. I don’t even think twice about it anymore, but if I don’t have time to prepare different meals for me and my husband pasta is the way to satisfy us both and save on time!
These days gluten-free pasta tastes almost the same as regular pasta, they’ve really come a long way. The only one that I don’t care for is rice pasta simply because it tends to get mushy, it doesn’t hold its texture very well and nobody got time for mushy pasta!
Some of my favorite gluten-free pastas are red lentil pasta, chickpea pasta by Banza, or quinoa pasta. They’re all high in protein and fiber and have a great texture and taste.
To be honest, even if you’re not gluten sensitive I still recommend eliminating gluten from your diet because whether you feel it or not gluten is directly linked to so many inflammatory conditions. Many assume they’re not sensitive simply because they have no bloating or stomach pain, but many seemingly unrelated symptoms seemingly can be caused by gluten.
I had a young client who was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis to the point she couldn’t perform her daily activities anymore. Once she eliminated gluten from her diet she no longer had pain or symptoms. I’ve had several clients that have found relief from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or chronic pain by going gluten-free.
As a G.I nurse I once asked the doctor I was working with in the room about gluten and the symptoms it could produce. He mentioned that even asthma can be related to gluten intolerance. So, I always encourage a gluten-free diet.
Anyway going back to this pasta al pesto. This meal is light, so so delicious and quick to make. It’s full of aromatic basil and arugula which gives it a little bit of a nutty flavor. It’s so delicious you’re going to love it! The pesto can be made in advance for meal prepping during the week to have on hand. It can be used as a dip or even salad dressing.
This pesto sauce is really versatile too. You can use pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds or pine nuts instead of walnuts. I personally really love the walnuts in it. Instead of arugula you can use spinach or kale. Instead of basil you can use mint the list is endless. Just don’t tell the Italians they’ll consider it blasphemy to disregard their holy pesto recipe in such a way. I say that with all the love in the world for all my Italian friends and family. I love to tease my husband because he’s the first to tell me in his thick Italian accent, “mah this is not pesto you can’t change the ingredients and call it pesto!”
My husband comes from the region of Ligura near Genoa where pesto comes from. So really, what was I thinking trying to feed him with my vegan version of pesto with arugula and walnuts, I guess I had it coming to me haha!
Moral of the story if you’re going to share this with an Italian (from Italy) call it basil sauce or invent a name so they can actually enjoy it. Otherwise they’ll be too disturbed by the fact that you broke all their culinary rules and still call it pesto that they won’t be able to enjoy it. (I’m totally joking)
On the other hand, my mom who’s Italian and is a pasta snob (mom if you’re reading, love you! Winky face) LOVES this pesto and it’s now the only pesto she makes, that really says a lot. When she first started going plant-based it was so hard finding vegan recipes that she liked for pasta. This is now one of her faves and also my Pasta Alfredo she absolutely loves. If you’re looking for other vegan pasta inspo definitely check that one out! If she loves it I know you will too!
I hope you get a chance to try it and if you do, make sure to leave us a comment below and let us know we’d love to hear your feedback!
1 batch of Arugula Walnut Pesto
Bring water to boil. Add pasta. Cook according to instructions on package. Drain the pasta and place in a medium size bowl. Scoop the pesto sauce over the cooked pasta mixing in evenly. Garnish with fresh basil.
NOTE: The pesto sauce will keep in the fridge for 3 days.