Healthy Diet – Inspired

By / Food / November 23rd, 2010 / 2

In honour of National Health Food Month, I decided to clean out my pantry. Gone is the white flour and the white pasta. Alright, I still have the white sugar and the white rice tucked away. I keep the former for guests and the latter because I can’t part with it. I haven’t yet come to terms with brown rice risotto. Maybe one day ….

I’ve come to realize that I just do better on a high protein, natural food diet. So, I’ve taken to filling the spaces of my pantry with whole wheat pasta, quinoa, soba noodles and teff. The problem is that some of these products don’t work very well in my old recipes. So, I’ve had some fun devising new ones. Quinoa is great in pretty much anything at any meal. But my new favourite way of preparing it is as a breakfast cereal. Simmered with almond milk  and water, then mixed with fresh fruit and honey, it’s a super satisfying, nutrient-packed start to the day. Soba noodles are fabulous sautéed in garlic-flavoured oil tossed with chopped rapini and shrimp. And teff? If you’ve never heard of teff, it’s an ancient grain from Africa.  Like quinoa and, to a certain extent, spelt, ancient grains still look and have the nutrient value they had centuries ago — unlike wheat and corn, which have been extensively modified over time to produce higher yields or to be bug resistant.

This Rotini with Pistachio Pesto recipe is an amalgam of some of my favourite foods and is inspired by traditional Italian fare. Feel free to change it up and make it your own. I’ve made the pesto with roasted almonds as well, but pistachios are my absolute preference. When I was a kid, pistachios came in red shells, remember? I’ve made this recipe using both salted and unsalted pistachios. I like them both; give it try and see which is your own personal favourite (just make sure you don’t add salt to the recipe if you’re using salted nuts).


Serves 4 to 6

1 box whole wheat pasta (any shape you prefer)
Up to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pistachios, unsalted
2 garlic cloves
1-1/2 cups rapini or kale, chopped


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, add pistachios and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor or a mortar, and finely chop. Drizzle enough olive oil into the mixture to create a loose pesto. Season to taste with salt, pepper and parmesan.
3. In a frying pan set over medium heat, sauté the rapini or kale for 2 to 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt; set aside.
4. Drain pasta. Place pasta into a serving bowl. Pour pistachio pesto over top and mix thoroughly. Stir in sautéed vegetable. Serve immediately.


Enjoy with an unbaked Chardonnay.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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