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Summers are fun! I enjoy this season the most. To be honest, living in Florida, we get a lot of sun all through the year but Summer is when we enjoy dining in our backyard. It’s not just the backyard, we get to experience the outdoors to the fullest! All the picnic spots are full and sun tan lotion is a prized commodity. If you are a regular on Cookilicious, then you will know that I love playing host to family and friends, especially during Summer. I host weekend parties in our backyard with a lot of grilled food and fun board games. Everyone looks forward to these events. So last weekend when I called some of my neighbor friends over for board games and brunch, they were excited and my menu was already set.
I knew that they all love pasta. Well, who doesn’t right? When my in-laws visited us last year, I got them hooked on pasta as well. They never had had pasta before. My father-in-law still talks about the pasta salad I made for them. I love mixing fresh seasonal veggies with pasta and make a salad of it. That’s a perfect Summer dish for me! So I chose to make pasta. However since I often prepare it with red/white sauce, this time around, I decided to try something new – I opted to make a Pesto based sauce instead.
I am a Pasta addict and Barilla is my go-to brand. I mostly pick up the whole wheat pasta packet and make it at-least once a week. You can find Barilla pasta in Walmart. There are many varieties available and I have tried and loved them all. Did you know that Barilla Pasta brand is Italy’s #1 brand of pasta. It is very easy to cook this pasta and it brings Al Dente perfection to the dish every time it’s prepared. There have been times when I am pressed for time and dinner is not ready. Barilla pasta comes to my rescue as it makes meals quick and easy. A fun fact, Pasta along with fruits and vegetables is the foundation for the Mediterranean diet as well, which is considered one of the healthiest diets in the world.
Thinking about what would go into the Pesto sauce, I decided I wanted to give it a healthier shade and make it creamier. So, I decided to add avocados to it. Cholesterol and sodium-free, avocados can fit into a variety of healthy eating plans. They contain natural good fat which help keep bad cholesterol levels low. Avocados can play a role in healthy living and nutrient-dense diets, by acting as a “nutrient booster” and helping the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients better from foods. So you can see, it was a good choice for my sauce!
Making Pesto sauce is super easy. Pick some ripe avocados and scoop them out. Chop them roughly. Add them to the food processor along with spinach, basil, almonds, walnuts, lime juice, salt, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil. Pulse them together to form a smooth paste. Add more olive oil if required. Voila! the Pesto sauce is ready!
To make the pasta, cook it as per the instructions on the packet. In a deep dish non stick pan, heat olive oil. Saute mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt. Add the pesto sauce and the cooked pasta. Mix it all together so that the pasta gets coated well . Saute for a minute.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve hot!
Until this day, I would never have ordered Pasta in Pesto Sauce at a restaurant (I’m an Alfredo Sauce person :)). However after tasting the dish I just made, I’m willing to give Pesto Sauce a shot the next time I visit any Italian restaurant, just to see if it’s as good as the one I made at home. 😉
Avocado Pesto Pasta
- 1 packet pasta
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
- Parmesan cheese as required
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- For the pesto sauce
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Pick some ripe avocados and scoop them out. Chop them roughly. Add them to the food processor along with spinach, basil, almonds, walnuts, lime juice, salt, garlic, parmesan and olive oil. Pulse them together to a smooth paste. Add more olive oil if required. Pesto sauce is ready!
- Cook the pasts as per the instructions on the packet. In a deep dish non stick pan, heat olive oil. saute mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt. Add the pesto sauce and the cooked pasta. Mix it all so that the pasta gets coated well. Saute it for a minute.
- Add Parmesan cheese on top and serve.
My friends and I had a great time that weekend. Avocado Pesto Pasta truly is a refreshing twist to regular pasta. The avocado in it gives the dish a healthy boost and the other veggies help to enhance the flavor.
I wondered what I could serve to drink with the pasta, and settled on Iced Tea. KR is a big time Indian Tea drinker, which is substantially different from Iced Tea in many ways. For one, Indian Tea is served hot – and with cream and sugar! In Summer however, he and I prefer to indulge in a glass of refreshing Iced Tea every now and then to keep ourselves cool. I picked up a 6 pack of Gold Peak Ice Tea – Diet Tea flavor (Sweet Tea is another popular flavor) from Walmart. KR and I each downed a bottle as soon as we got home. It was exactly what we needed to get things started on this hot and sunny day!
Iced Tea is perfect for summer parties. Something your guests will enjoy with some party appetizers. They can be easily found at Walmart. The 6 pack is ideal to serve to large groups. You also get $1 off when you buy any two (2) 64 fl oz bottles of Gold Peak Tea on Coupons.com (http://cbi.as/49d6w)! How awesome is that!
While we enjoy this drink as is, I decided to enhance it some for this occasion. I added some gelato and soda to make delicious Iced Tea floats for the weekend party. It was so ridiculously simple to make! When I served this drink to my friends, they loved it. We didn’t even realize that we had finished up all the bottles in one sitting. Pasta, Iced Tea floats and board games – a truly fun way to spend time with friends! I kept making them as the games started getting more competitive and entertaining.
Want to know how to make it? Here is how. Pour Gold Peak Tea in serving glasses. Fill 3/4 of the glass with it. Add soda and a scoop of vanilla caramel gelato on top. Serve chilled. Now isn’t that simple?!!
You can use different kinds of toppings to make it even more appealing to your guests. I drizzled some chocolate sauce on it. I even made some with chocolate wafers on top. They both tasted pretty good.
Gold Peak Ice Tea Floats
- 1 bottle Gold Peak Tea - any flavor
- 1/3 cup soda
- Scoops of vanilla caramel ice cream/gelato
- Toppings as chocolate syrup or chocolate wafers
- Pour Gold Pea Tea in serving glasses. Fill 3/4 of the glass with it. Add soda and a scoop of vanilla caramel gelato on top. Serve chilled.
- You can use different kinds of toppings to make it even more appeasing to your guests. I drizzled some chocolate sauce on it. I even made some with chocolate wafers on top. They both tasted pretty good.
Just one glass of this Iced Tea float will transport you to heaven! It’s so refreshing! Pair this up with the Pasta to create a truly awesome combination to pamper your guests! Do try this recipe. It’s guaranteed to keep guests coming back for more!
Avocado Pesto Barilla Pasta & Gold Peak Iced Tea Floats when served together, left my guests craving for more! My weekend board game bash in our patio turned out to be great fun. It’s always nice to have like-minded neighbors who enjoy the things you do – Food and games! Next week we are doing a recipe exchange potluck party at another neighbor’s house. Do visit again to find out what new recipe I prepared for that party!
Like what you see? Then click here for more delicious summer recipes – http://cbi.as/489ti. If you do try this recipe, please do share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This will keep me motivated to develop more interesting recipes. Click a pic and post it with the hashtag #cookiliciousveg . I would love to see your pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!