The Joys of Vegetable Pasta
Greetings, CCK readers!
It’s a true pleasure to be Katie’s guest today! Hers was one of my very first food blog discoveries, and it has remained a consistent favorite ever since! Katie’s warm spirit, innovative yet simple recipes, and healthy attitude are all huge sources of inspiration for me. And I think it goes without saying that we share a mutual love of chocolate!
As you all know, Katie has just recently been gifted with one of my favorite kitchen tools: the spiralizer. She’s asked me to pay homage to this magical appliance by sharing a few of my favorite spiralizer recipes, and I am more than happy to oblige!
If you’ve heard anything about raw foods, you’ve probably heard the popular misconceptions: raw foods are complicated, labor-intensive, and expensive. Sure, this can be true, depending on what sort of lifestyle you choose. But it doesn’t have to be. Over at my blog, Choosing Raw, I try to teach readers how they can ditch the dehydrator, ditch the sprouting bags, and whip up raw meals that are easy and fun. And no meal is more fun – or easy – than zucchini pasta.
There are many reasons I love zucchini pasta. The first is its familiarity – it’s a great dish to serve to any newcomer to the raw lifestyle because the textures and concept are so comforting (if richer in nutrient-rich produce!). It’s easy: sprializng a zucchini takes about one minute, flat – that’s about 15-20 less than it takes to make pasta! And best of all, it’s versatile. Just like cooked pasta, zucchini pasta can be rendered in so many delicious ways. So it is with much joy that I present to you my four favorite zucchini pasta variations.
Raw Peanut Noodles
This dressing is highly reminiscent of the peanut sauces one might find in Thai or Chinese restaurants, and yields a “noodle” dish that is surprisingly authentic! It’s a cool, simple, and delicious summertime recipe.
Gena’s Peanut Noodles (serves 1-2)
Asian Dressing (Makes 1 1/2 cups)
1 inch ginger
1 cup olive oil (or flax oil)
2 tsp sesame oil (toasted)
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp mellow white miso
6 dates, pitted, or ¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp nama shoyu
1/3 cup water
Blend in a blender , Vita-Mix, or food processor until all ingredients are creamy and emulsified.
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, spiralized or sliced with a vegetable peeler
1/2 red pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
1/4 large or 1/2 small cucumber, grated or peeled into long strips
Scallions or green onion to garnish
To make the dish, simply prepare and mix all veggies, save the scallions or green onion. Toss them with 1/4 cup sauce, adding more if necessary, and sprinkle with scallions.
Sugar snaps, shitake mushrooms, snow pea shoots, or mung bean sprouts would also be a great addition to the noodles. Experiment with stuff you like, and enjoy!
Raw Zucchini Alfredo with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes
For the pasta:
Spiralized zucchini noodles (or just use a peeler)
Small chopped carrot
Sugar snap peas, cut in half (about 3/4 cup)
Baby tomatoes, halved (I used lots)
Fresh shredded basil
A small handful of chopped, sun-dried tomatoes
For the sauce:
1 ¼ cup cashews, soaked for a few hours (I just put them under water when I left for work in the morning)
¾ cup water
1 tsp agave
1/3 cup lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp miso
Begin by turning the zucchini into pasta and tossing it with the veggies. To make the sauce, put the soaked cashews in your Vita-Mix or food processor along with the agave, lemon juice, sea salt, miso, and 1/3 cup water. Blend until it looks thick and creamy. With the motor running (in either the processor or the Vita), drizzle more water in until the sauce is totally smooth (if you’re using a food processor, you’ll have to stop and scrape sides occasionally) and the consistency you want. Toss the sauce with the veggies, and voila: you’ve got a creamy, delicious bowl that (at least in my mind) surpasses the original dish.
Zucchini Pasta with Sweet Pepper Marinara (serves two)
I am forever shocked at the authenticity of this dish: it tastes like the best marinara sauce you’ve ever had, only without the hours bubbling on the stove!
1 very large red or yellow bell pepper, deseeded
¾ cup cherry or roma tomatoes
¼ cup sundried tomatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Generous sprinkle dried thyme
Generous sprinkle dried oregano
¼ cup basil
Stevia to taste
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till thick and smooth. Serve over spiralized or thinly sliced zucchini, and enjoy!
Slothful Single Girl’s Summertime Pesto
The logic behind the title of this recipe is simple:
1) It’s ridiculously easy, and fitting for a slothful mood
2) It serves one, so it’s suitable for single ladies (or gentlemen)
3) It’s best with fresh farmer’s market basil in the summer. Last night, I just picked up a small bunch of relatively tasty basil at the grocery store on my way home from work.
4) I like alliteration, OK? Sue me.
Here’s the recipe:
2 cups basil, packed
¼ tsp sea salt, or to taste (I used a bit less)
2 tbsp olive oil
Blend all ingredients in a food processor. You’ll probably need to stop frequently to scrape down the bowl; you may need to add more oil, so use your judgment. Serve over a heaping bowl of zucchini linguine and halved cherry tomatoes, and garnish with basil leaves. Enjoy!
I hope these delicious variations give you a sense of how easy, versatile, and fun vegetable pastas can be. And I hope it shows you that a small, relatively inexpensive kitchen tool can be a much wiser investment towards a high raw diet than the fanciest blenders and dehydrators out there. Of course, zucchini isn’t the only base for veggie pasta. Go ahead and try carrot, beet, parsnip, or another solid vegetable! Have fun in the kitchens, and happy raw dining!