Sincerely Carolina

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Day Fourteen: Gluten-Free with RR Challenge — Pesto Pleaser!

by caroline

This doesn't exactly look like gluten-free living, right? Well, my friends, I promise you it is.

Herein lies the beauty of cooking gluten-free pasta juuust right.

My favorite brand, hands down, is Tinkyada rice pasta. If you are a gluten-free eater, and you have been at it for awhile now, then you know finding gluten-free pasta that actually tastes like PASTA can take quite some time. You are likely to run into a few so-so brands, and several that are mushy duds.

I promise there's an end in sight, and for me it was when I landed on this brand. Naturally, when my recipe for Day 14 of the Gluten-Free with Rachael Ray Challenge called for pasta, I knew just who to turn to.

Before I get started on the recipe (ultra-yummy Kale-Walnut Pesto Pasta) I must also mention one specific rule about brown rice (or any gluten-free pasta): Do not overcook it. I promise you no matter what brand of pasta you choose, if you overcook it, then you will end up with a plate of mush.

In fact, I very often do not even cook my pasta for the length of time the package suggests (I like mine al dente). I start checking my pasta at about mid-way through whatever minimum cook time a particular package calls for. Just a tip!

OK, so now it's time for the goods:

RR's Ingredients The G-Spot Used
  • 1/2 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound gemelli pasta
  • 1 pound gluten-free pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (TIP: Nuts are very often produced in a facility that also processes wheat, check packaging or call company for specific information.)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil



  1. In a large pot of salted water, cook the kale until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the kale to a colander and rinse with cold water. Add the gluten-free pasta to the pot and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot.

  2. Meanwhile, squeeze the kale to remove the excess water. In a food processor, combine the kale, walnuts, garlic and Parmesan until almost smooth; season with salt and pepper. With the machine running, add the olive oil.

  3. Add the pesto to the pasta, along with enough pasta cooking water to loosen the pesto as necessary. Serve sprinkled with more Parmesan.

Forget the pasta! This pesto was unbelievably delicious! Isn't the pesto such a beautiful green? I love it!

After being sick for as long as I have been, I decided to make up for lost eating time and serve myself an extra large helping. And I ate every last bite. It was so-o-o-o-o good!

Note: This recipe is gluten-free. (If you have allergies or food sensitivities, always check specific manufacturer’s products for allergens and/or cross-contamination issues.)


Hopefully, you all enjoyed the second installment of the “5 Questions, 1 Expert” series today, featuring Sheila Viers from Live Well 360. She was a great interview and her points about Live Well's famous Core bag got me thinking about the items that have become necessities in my gym bag.

To name a few: My running shoes, wrist watch, Burt's Bees chapstick, Goody StayPut headbands and hair ties, socks, about three running bras, 1 0r 2 tank tops, shorts, a change of clothing and my iPod.

What about you? What are your gym bag essentials?