I really like pasta. Big bowls of it, covered in olive oil or red sauce. However, every time I eat it I feel too full, too weighed down. It is worth it every now and then, especially when I am out at a restaurant that makes their own fresh pasta varieties, but for at home cooking I've abandoned semolina pasta for either whole wheat or sprouted grain. But now I can add another alternative to that list- a wheat and gluten-free alternative to be exact: quinoa pasta from Ancient Harvest. I used their "garden pagodas" to complete this meal:
I made grilled chicken breast (pounded and stuffed) with basil and mozzarella cheese, topped with baby tomatoes, red onions, and balsamic vinegar. Then I tossed the garden pagodas with olive oil, salt and pepper. Although the quinoa pasta is the purpose of the post, I must also say that my mozzarella basil chicken was quite delicious also. The mozzarella just oozed out of the warm grilled chicken once I split it open and the tomato salad on top cooled the whole dish off (along with the fan that was blowing in my face during one of our 90 degree days). And the quinoa pasta was a perfect side dish. The garden pagodas (the green and red ones at least) have spinach and red pepper in them as well, so they definitely have their own distinct flavor and I'm glad I made the decision to toss them lightly with some olive oil and little else. They have a nice texture- firm like whole wheat pasta but not nearly as grainy (because of the use of corn flours).
I think they would be perfect as the star in a cold pasta salad with a little bit of mayonnaise, celery, and lots of fresh ground pepper. I also really like tri-color pasta and you can't ever find that with whole wheat or sprouted grain- you have to settle with the somewhat unattractive brown color that never quite compliments whatever sauce you put on it.