When my husband and I first got married we spent a few weeks in Belgium visiting his family and enjoying delicious Belgian cuisine (and lots and lots of bread). One evening, after spending some time in Ghent, we hurried to find our ride home. It was nearing 6:00 PM (most businesses close at 6:00 PM so that families can be together for the evening), so we made a quick stop by a cafe to grab something to eat. We picked out the only vegetarian option there- a Panini. The young girl behind the counter threw the sandwich onto the paninigrill and tossed it into a bag to go. As we raced to meet our ride, we shared this delectable, warm sandwich. Despite how rushed we were, we were in heavenly bliss. The panini was so delicious, in fact, that it remains one of the best meals we had during out stay.
Needless to say, the moment we returned to California we purchased apaninigrill- an appliance we would have previously deemed unnecessary and excessive- and got right to work on making paninis a staple in our daily diet. If friends or family came over, we made them paninis, and I soon began to make my own homemade pesto. Eventually it got to the point where we had eaten so many pesto paninis that my husband could no longer stand the taste of basil. So, for the past year we’ve been a mostly basil-less household. But last night, after a yearlong hiatus from pesto, my husband took his first bite of this pesto pasta and excitedly declared, “I like pesto again!” And we’re back!
For this dish I used organic brown rice pasta. I was initially hesitant about using rice noodles, as I assumed the texture would be too chewy and pasty. On the contrary, this pasta is soft, yet hearty. In addition to the benefits of being gluten-free, rice pasta is generally lower in sodium, and fewer in calories than traditional flour pastas.
8 cups (16 oz) pasta of your choice
–I use organic brown rice penne pasta, which tastes delicious and is gluten-free.
1/2 c ground Vegan Sausage (I used Gimme Lean Sausage)
Parsley, to taste
Pepper, to taste
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add pasta. Boil for 10 minutes or until noodles have reached your desired consistency. Add vegan sausage, parsley, and pepper.
Makes 1 cup
4 cups packed fresh basil
1/2 c olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 c Pumpkin Seeds (raw or toasted)
1 TBSP lemon juice (to taste)
2 pinches of salt
Blend pesto ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth.
Pour pesto sauce over pasta and enjoy!