Quinoa Pasta Pesto with Asparagus

Quinoa* has become my favorite grains, not only because it is gluten-free, but also because I love the flavor & texture. I buy the sprouted version & also the tri-colored version, which, so far, is not sprouted. During the summer, when I am not substituting in the classroom or cafeteria, I hope to write some of the companies whose products I use & suggest additions or corrections. Quinoa is one of them on my list.

*The pasta version of quinoa often has other non-glutinous grains, such as corn, so check the labels if you have several allergies. See photo below the recipe for the pasta I used.

Utensils: Pot for pasta, pan for asparagus, cutting board & knife, strainer, bowl
Prep. Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes (depending on your pasta)
Categories: Vegan & Gluten-Free


one-half box of quinoa pasta
6-8 asparagus spears, washed & woody stems snapped off
artichoke pesto or pesto of your choice (See my pesto recipe from previous posting)
sesame seeds or red pepper flakes


1. Put up a large pasta pot of water to boil.
2. Take the trimmed and washed asparagus and cut into thirds, keeping the tips separate.
3. When the water comes to a boil, add pasta. Check the time for cooking. (The twisted pasta takes more time than other shapes.)
4. About half way through the cooking time on the box of the pasta, add the bottom 2/3rds of the asparagus. About 2 minutes before the pasta is done, toss in the tips.
5. Drain the pasta and asparagus. (Water can be used for plants after it has cooled.) Toss the pasta & asparagus with pesto (more or less to your taste) and sprinkle with sesame seeds or hot pepper flakes. Serve immediately.

*Ancient Harvest is only one brand of gluten-free pasta. I will be trying others to compare their texture & flavor.

Note: When I was a substitute cook in upstate New York, I learned how to make pasta & veggies in one pot from a chef. If you prefer, you may cook the asparagus separately. Or, better yet, grill it & add it to the pasta right before  serving. I may try this with chilled pasta in the summer when we eat outdoors.

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