Arugula Pesto Pasta + Quick Pickled Grapes | Gluten Free, Dairy Free & Vegan Option
This arugula PESTO is the BESTO, friends! You can whip this up in just a few minutes, too. It's also vegan, paleo, Whole30 and gluten free. Yes, I did use chicken in the pasta, but the pesto itself is totally vegan. So, the vegan option for this dish is to just omit the chicken and boom — a totally plant based meal for ya! There are some other special dietary restriction notes below that I hope are helpful.
Also, yes! I did say “pickled grapes” in the title and don’t even knock it until you try it!
Pesto doesn’t have to be made with basil or pine nuts. I love pine nuts, but they can be spendy, and sometimes you just have to use what you have on hand. I had walnuts on hand and some arugula to use up, too.
I won’t be highlighting or giving directions on how to cook chicken or make pasta, because you could use whichever pasta you’d like. Also, you may or may not be omitting the chicken, and you possibly already know how to cook a chicken breast and make your own pasta. I did want to share the recipe for the the Arugula Pesto and the pickled grapes with you in this blog.
Special Dietary Notes -
VEGAN: omit the chicken. Boom!
WHOLE30: use spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or hearts of palm!
PALEO: use spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or hearts of palm!
LOW CARB: use spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or hearts of palm! Yay!
NUT FREE: try sunflower seeds. I haven’t tried it with this recipe but there are so many recipes for nut free pestos online.
Okay, let’s get cooking together. While you make your chicken or protein and pasta of choice, start making the pickled grapes and pesto.
Quick pickled grapes? Yes. They are so tasty in salads and even this pesto pasta. They are also so easy to make. Slice red grapes in half and place in a bowl of red wine vinegar for about 5-10 minutes. For this dish or a salad for two, I have done about 15 - 20 grapes or so. It depends on how many you’d like to add. Set grapes aside while you make the pesto. (See recipe below) Once you’re ready to use grapes, strain out the vinegar (save for a salad dressing for another day — don’t toss).
After you make the pasta, strain it and place in a large serving bowl, add pesto and mix well. Add pickled grapes and handful of arugula and chicken. Toss everything together and serve.
2 handfuls Arugula
6 TB olive oil
3-6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/2 tsp sea salt
Directions: in a food processor, place all ingredients and pulse until pesto is formed. Use as much or as little garlic as you’d like. We prefer a lot of garlic, so start with 2 cloves and go from there if you aren’t sure how much you’d like to add.