Summer is the season for tomatoes and basil! But with pesto usually off-limits for people with food allergies — it traditionally contains tree nuts and dairy — I set about creating an allergen-free version of the original. The sweet and tangy roast cherry tomatoes are the perfect compliment to the earthy flavor of the basil, and the smokiness of the grilled chicken. As an added bonus, I’ve used hemp seeds in place of the traditional pine nuts or walnuts, boosting protein and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Upon tasting this recipe, my son Monte asked, “Can I have this for lunch tomorrow too?” There is no greater compliment.
- 1/3 cup shelled hemp seeds (Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds are allergen-free)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup gluten-free bread-crumbs (I like Hol-Grain for this recipe, they’re very fine and made from rice)
- 1 lb. cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 lb. chicken breast (if you’re short on time, buy it pre-grilled)
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 lb. rice or corn-quinoa penne or spirals or shells
- 6-8 large basil leaves to garnish
Place hemp seeds in food processor and grind to a fine meal. Add garlic and puree. Add basil, and blend till finely chopped. Pour in extra virgin olive oil, a little at a time, till pesto is nice and smooth. Add salt and gluten-free bread crumbs. Combine thoroughly and set aside. (This can be made in advance. Makes 1 heaping cup.)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil, scatter tomatoes on it, drizzle with 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss till all the tomatoes are coated.
Roast until tomatoes collapse in on themselves, about 30 minutes (it will be less if the tomatoes are really tiny).
Put water on to boil, and cook pasta according to instructions on packet.
Pound the chicken breast between two sheets of parchment paper with a meat mallet till it is 1/2-inch thick. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill over high heat about 3 minutes per side. Dice into 1-inch peices.
Drain pasta and toss with olive oil to coat in a large pasta bowl. Add the pesto and chicken. Toss. Add the roasted tomatoes and gently toss one more time. Scatter 6-8 basil leaves over top. MAKES 8 SERVINGS
Allergen-Free, Gluten-Free Pasta with Roast Cherry Tomatoes, Grilled Chicken, and Nut-Free Pesto © 2010 by Cybele Pascal
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.