March Meal of the Month

March brings spring and that means lots of great produce is coming our way.  St. Patrick’s Day might be behind us, but it has inspired me to come up with a menu for this month that celebrates green and spring! Gluten free and meat free, this simple March Meal is light and flavorful.

Gluten Free Pesto Pasta with Oven Roasted ShrimpThe combination of shrimp and pesto always tastes good and by roasting the shrimp in the oven with a little garlic, you’ll be adding just enough extra yum to make this pasta dish a hit. My choice for the pasta is Tinkyada brand brown rice spirals, which is a great shape for the pesto to cling to in all the nooks and crannies.  Toss with this homemade pesto sauce.  Top your pasta with the oven-roasted shrimp and fresh grated parmesan.  My version (photo) uses "zoodles" (noodles made from zucchini with this nifty gadget) in place of pasta. 

Note:  if you’re in a hurry you can try Pasta Perfetto or Cibo Naturals brand pre-made pesto in the refrigerated fresh pasta section of your store.  If you choose a different brand, read the ingredients list before buying! Avoid those with whey protein isolate and soybean oil.

Herb Focaccia – Here is where I take a shortcut.  I buy a fresh baked focaccia loaf from the bakery department and then heat it in the oven. I serve plain, but offer a ‘dipping’ sauce of olive oil and Italian herbs on a small plate.  If you are gluten free, try Canyon Bakehouse’s Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia (usually in the freezer section of your store).

Snap Pea Spring Salad – spring means fresh sugar snap peas and these crunchy peas are great tossed into a salad with a bright tasting lemon dressing.  Simply add 1 ½ cups of fresh, cut up sugar snap peas to spinach, toasted slivered almonds and chopped cucumber. Toss with a dressing made of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, dash of Dijon, salt and pepper. If you want a more formal snap pea recipe, check out this version by Bon Appetit.

More spring veggies to keep an eye out for include artichokes, asparagus, broccoli and green beans. What are your favorite greens for spring?