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On a recent quest to detoxify my body, and lacking the willpower for another 7 day liquid cleanse, I decided to stick to a Raw menu for a few weeks. This dish is just one of the many delicious & satisfying meals I have been feasting on, which I decided to recreate after having it at one of my favourite Veggie haunts. To be honest, the idea of eating Zucchini uncooked has never really appealed to me – along with Broccoli, Cauliflower and Mushrooms…And so, despite the hype around Zucchini ‘Pasta’, I hadn’t even considered trying it – until it was the only raw choice on the menu one night, and now I’m so glad I did! Julienning the Zucchini into long, thin strips creates mock noodles with just the right texture, and they’re packed with fibre & water unlike heavy, starchy pasta. But it’s the zesty Basil Pesto and juicy Cherry Tomatoes that make this dish so heavenly – nothing can beat homemade Pesto! I like mine with lots of garlic, so if you’re not a big fan then adjust accordingly. These noodles are topped with Gomasio (a mixture of Sesame Seeds & Salt) for some crunch, but you can just as easily replace it with finely chopped Almonds or Sunflower Seeds…You’ll be surprised by how filling this dish actually is!

Ingredients: (2 servings)

2 medium sized Zucchini

handful of Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 Tblsp. Sundried Tomatoes, chopped

Gomasio to sprinkle on top (or finely chopped Almonds/Sunflower Seeds)

For the Basil Pesto: (from The 30-Minute Vegan: Over 175 Quick, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes for Everyday Cooking) – makes 1 cup

1 1/2 cups fresh Basil leaves, packed

1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. Pine Nuts

1/2 cup plus 2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

2 Tblsp. freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

2-3 Garlic cloves (I used 3…)

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 tsp. Nutritional Yeast (optional)

 

Method:

– After washing the Zucchini, cut the tops & tails off and, using a Mandoline, julienne into long, thin strips (make sure they are not too thick). Place in a large bowl, along with the Cherry Tomatoes and Sundried Tomatoes.

– Combine all the ingredients for the Pesto in a food processor or high-speed blender, and blend until mostly smooth.

– Mix Pesto with Zucchini Noodles (you may only need half the batch), and top with Gomasio.

*Enjoy, guilt-free!

 

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Store-bought Pesto almost always contains Parmesan Cheese, so I resort to making my own – luckily, it’s extremely easy to make! You do, however, need a small food processor as a blender doesn’t work very well (unless you have a really snazzy one…), and a good quality Olive Oil helps too. For this pasta dish I mixed my Pesto with some Silken Tofu for a Cream Cheese-y affect, but you can also just keep as is. It’s so tasty you won’t miss the Parmesan, I promise! Add whatever vegetables you like to this, but I think Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Artichokes make a great addition to any Italian meal…This is simple, delicious & easy to make, and if you already have the Pesto pre-made you can whip this up in less than 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

3-4 generous Tblsp.  Creamy Pesto (recipe to follow)

1 pkt. fusilli Brown Rice Pasta (or any other pasta you prefer)

1/2 Red Onion, sliced

1 clove Garlic, minced

2 Portobello Mushrooms, chopped

1/2 Zucchini, julienned into long, thin strips and halved

1/2 Red Bellpepper, thinly sliced

a few re-hydrated Sun-dried Tomatoes, sliced

handful of Kalamata Olives, halved

3 Tblsp. chopped Artichokes, from jar in Olive Oil

1 Tblsp. Parsley

 

Method:

– Boil the Pasta according to packet instructions until Al dente. Drain, rinse and drizzle with a little bit of Olive Oil to prevent sticking.

– In a large Frying Pan, sauté Onions in Olive Oil until beginning to brown. Add Garlic & Mushrooms until Mushrooms begin to release moisture. Add Zucchini & Peppers and sauté until beginning to soften. Add Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Artichokes and mix well.

– Add drained Pasta to the pan and stir a few times until everything is combined, and Pasta is heated through. Mix in Pesto, stirring a few more times and then take off heat.

– Fold in Parsley and serve.

Basil-Parsley Pesto: (adapted from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen: Delicious Homestyle Vegan Cuisine (Healthy World Cuisine)

1 1/2 cups fresh Basil leaves

1/2 cup fresh Italian Parsley leaves

2 cloves Garlic

1 Tblsp. Pine Nuts, toasted

1 Tblsp. slivered Almonds/raw Almonds/Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 tsp Salt

squeeze Lemon Juice (1/4 Tblsp)

4 Tblsp. Olive Oil (1/4 cup)

* 1/2 asceptic box of Firm Silken Tofu

 

Place everything in a food processor, and let it run until a paste forms. Refrigerate if not using.

* For Creamy Pesto: Add Tofu once the Pesto is finished, and process again until smooth. Keep in the fridge to firm up until using

 

 

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