This past Monday was the last day of my 22-day plant-based diet challenge. I have to say that I think it’s true what psychologists say about having to do something for 21 days straight, in order to develop it into a habit.
My “bad food” cravings have probably stopped towards the end of the second week. Monday was the ultimate test since it was Memorial Day. While everyone ate burgers and hot dogs I stuck with quinoa salad, some hummus, and gluten-free bread. I was surprised that I wasn’t even bothered with the smell- I actually sat next to the grill. During my first week on the program, the husband was making some beef tacos for himself and I thought I was going to get sick, from the smell alone.
Now that the 22 days are up, I really feel like I made a permanent change in my diet. I still eat the same foods since I ended the program on Monday (well… I guess I didn’t really end it then, did I? ;) ). In addition to using the recipes from the book, I also started experimenting a bit and turning some of my favorite recipes to 100% plant-based.
Today I’ll share a gorgeous, tasty and healthy recipe for a delicious pasta dish that’s plant-based and gluten-free. For the pasta, I’ve used gluten-free brown rice pasta. It was my first time using brown rice pasta, usually, when going for gluten-free I use quinoa pasta, but I think that I like brown rice pasta a lot better. It doesn’t turn mushy, doesn’t break easily and tastes great.
For the pesto, I used this recipe, with some minor adaptations. The cheese in the pesto is substituted with nutritional yeast, which can usually be found in the organic or “healthy food” section in your supermarket. The pesto came out great; it was my first time using that particular recipe and it’s definitely a keeper.
Roasted tomatoes with homemade pesto over brown rice pasta
1 package of brown rice pasta
3 cups of tomatoes (I used red, yellow and orange cherry tomatoes)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 TBS olive oil
few leaves of fresh basil for garnish
For the pesto (original recipe can be found here)
1/3 cup pine nuts
2/3 cups of olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
1 cup spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 325F (163C) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, line on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and garlic. Let roast in the oven for about 30 minutes,
2. Prepare pasta according to instructions on the box. To make the pesto, slowly blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
3. After the tomatoes are ready, let them cool off a bit. Gently mix your pasta with some pesto (you will probably not need to use the whole thing, depends on how much pasta you’re using), add tomatoes and gently mix once again. You can garnish your pasta with some fresh basil leaves, a few pine nuts and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.
I absolutely love pasta, and even though most of the time I went with wholewheat, I was a bit afraid I’d miss it and that I wouldn’t like the gluten-free version. I tried a few different kinds, and brown rice pasta was the closest in texture and taste, to the real thing. This is such a good and easy dinner option. You wouldn’t even guess that the pasta was gluten-free and that the sauce was vegan. It’s also yet another plant-based dish approved by the meat-loving husband of mine.