Basil Pistachio Pesto with Grain-Free Gnocchi

by Natalie on April 23, 2015

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I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but over a year ago I started following a gluten-free diet. It began after I had some blood work done that suggested I was trending towards Hashimoto’s (a hypothyroid condition). A gluten-free diet can be helpful for Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune conditions.

Overall, it was pretty easy to adapt to the gluten-free lifestyle. So many tasty foods are naturally gluten-free, and if needed, there are many great gluten-free alternatives to choose from.

I don’t eat a lot of pasta, but every now and then I like to treat myself. I love how it’s easy to prepare and feels comforting to eat. Specialty pastas like gnocchi are difficult to find gluten-free. Until now, I had pretty much made peace with the fact that gnocchi was off the table. But then my brother introduced me to Cappello’s, and BOOM! gnocchi was back in my life.

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I’m pretty picky about any packaged food item I buy, so I was thrilled to find out that Cappello’s is not only gluten-free, but grain-free as well. Over the past year, I have enjoyed cooking with more grain-free recipes not only because they’re gluten-free but because they’re more satisfying.

Most grain-free recipes are made with some sort of nut flour at their base, leaving you with a dish that’s lower in carbohydrates, higher in protein, and higher in healthy fats. For foods like pasta and bread, this is helpful because it stops you from eating too much, and keeps your blood sugar in check.

This gnocchi was the perfect, creamy base for tangy pesto. Use the leftover pesto as a topping for vegetables and/or meat. I used it to top potatoes and green beans later on in the week.

Basil Pistachio Pesto with Grain-Free Gnocchi

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 24 ounces fresh, grain-free Gnocchi

Directions:

Set a large pot of water to boil. While water is boiling, prepare pesto. Combine basil, pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Blend until well combined and no large chunks remain. Taste and add additional salt or lemon juice as desired. Once water is boiling, cook pasta per package directions. Top warm pasta with desired amount of pesto. Start with a few Tablespoons of pesto and stir. Taste and add more if desired. Serve with green veggies.

Store leftover pesto in the fridge up to 5 days, or freeze for 2 months.

**Pesto recipe from The Longevity Kitchen by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson**

Have you experimented with any grain-free recipes lately? I’d love to hear. Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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I left my heart in Kauai

by Natalie on March 26, 2015

IMG_1806In February, my family and I were blessed to spend a few weeks on the magical island of Kauai. It puts a sort of spell on you, this place. After the second week, I was convinced we should stay for good and start a smoothie shop! Maybe its because we’ve had a long winter here in Chicago, but I really think I could get used to island life.

P1020170Hawaii can be kinda pricey because of the import situation, so we made the decision to cook the majority of our meals. Luckily this was an option since we stayed in condo with a full kitchen. Most of our food came from the local farmer’s markets, with a few fillers here and there from the grocery store.

farmersI still dream about the citrus from the farmer’s market. It was the sweetest, most juicy fruit I’ve ever had. And the pineapples….don’t even get me started. By the time we left, I had a “meat lady”, a “citrus lady”, and a “bread lady”. We ate so simply, but it was amazing because of how fresh every thing was. We did manage to squeeze in a few treats too. You can’t visit Hawaii without trying shave ice right?

coconutcollageIf you ever need to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul, this is the place to do it. I can’t remember a time where I felt more relaxed and at peace than during our time on Kauai (and that’s saying a lot when you travel with a toddler). Yes, the travel time is long, but if you ever get an opportunity to go, don’t pass it up! And just maybe you’ll find me there at my beachside smoothie shop 😉

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See you next time Kauai!

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My Favorite Party Snack: Stovetop Popcorn

January 29, 2015

Anytime there’s a casual party, and someone asks me to bring something, I almost always bring this! I think popcorn is the perfect snack. It’s satisfying, and incredibly easy to make. From a nutritional standpoint, I love that it’s a whole grain. Much better than processed chips or crackers. I abandoned microwave popcorn after college, […]

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