Nirvana Pasta (gluten & dairy free w/grain free option)

What a BUSY couple of weeks! There’s been lots going on here at home; between homeschool, another spondylitis flare (I’ll try to update my medical journal soon), working on the editing the cookbook manuscript, Abbi’s birthday, other family birthdays, and a 70 pound yellow lab puppy with a benign tumor on his paw and a bacterial skin infection… the list goes on. Never a dull moment around here!

In other news… THANK YOU for voting me as one of your Top 25 Food Allergy Moms of 2012! I know many of you voted daily and also asked your friends to vote for me. I appreciate all of you and can’t tell you how much it means to have the support of SO MANY. I feel incredibly blessed and loved!

Now for our dinner last night… Nirvana Pasta!!

Gluten free pasta… sauteed kale… roasted cauliflower… a whole head of roasted garlic… bacon. Yes, that’s right… BACON!

I need to give a shout out to my dear friend, Shirley (Gluten Free Easily), who actually helped me name this dish (she just doesn’t know it… yet). A few months ago Shirley shared her recipe for Bacon Chicken that had me salivating. She referred to bacon as nirvana; as a bacon lover, I wholeheartedly agree. So this is my nirvana dish (thanks, Shirley!).

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, EOA Link Up, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, GAPS Friendly Friday, and Freaky Friday.

Nirvana Pasta
Yields 4 – 6 servings

2 cauliflower heads, chopped in to 2 inch florets (approximately)
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled and smashed
5 – 6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
12 ounces gluten free/nitrate free/uncured bacon (I use Hormel Natural Choice)
1-2 bunches curly kale, stems removed and leaves chopped in to bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
16 ounces brown rice spaghetti noodles (I use Tinkyada) OR see Megan’s Recipe Notes for grain free & GAPS Legal option

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Toss the cauliflower florets, smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, oregano, basil and sea salt on a large parchment lined cookie sheet with 1 inch sides. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  2. While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the bacon in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Cool on a plate lined with a paper towel and then chop the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.
  3. Using paper towels, soak up most of the bacon grease from the skillet, reserving about a tablespoon (caution, the skillet and grease will still be hot). Cook the kale in the bacon grease over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until soft (about 5-7 minutes).
  4. Cook the spaghetti noodles 2-3 minutes less than the package directions recommend and strain the water from the pasta (the hot noodles will continue to soften up after you strain them from the water).
  5. On a large serving platter, layer the Nirvana Pasta in this order: pasta, kale, cauliflower, bacon. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Megan’s Recipe Notes:

  1. I only used 1 bunch of kale when I originally made this dish; I think next time I will use 2 bunches. I try (key word is try) to make sure I have more veggies on my plate than pasta, that way I’m eating foods with more fiber (that will keep me full longer).
  2. I cook my bacon in 2 separate batches. I think it cooks more evenly that way.
  3. If I wasn’t cooking for my children, I would add some heat (like dried red pepper chili flakes) to this dish. Feel free to spice it up if you wish!
  4. (GAPS Legal) If you would prefer a grain free dish, replace the brown rice pasta with 1 large baked spaghetti squash. Shred the insides and use them as “noodles.”

I can’t wait to hear how to you like this pasta!

Enjoy!
Megan