It's funny how things happen sometimes. I have been thinking about, and reading a lot about, raw eating. Though I don't aspire to eat a 100% raw diet or anything like that (I love to cook way to much for that), I do think that eating a larger amount of raw food, especially fruits and veggies is a good thing.
Through Twitter and the blogosphere there is certainly no lack of information. I really admire Chef Doug McNish (of Raw Aura in Toronto) and enjoy following JL Goes Vegan who has recently been upping the amount of raw foods in her diet.
So, as I am noodling this concept I just happen to get an email from a friend who has told me she is trying to introduce more vegetables in her diet. Coincidentally, it contains a recipe for a raw vegetable dish. And of all things it is a recipe from the Atkins program. I guess even the Atkins folks are realizing the value of vegetables!
This dish was pretty simple to make. I did not use my mandoline for the noodles. Perhaps I should have in order to get them a little more uniform and thin. I just find using a knife to chop, slice, dice and julienne so relaxing I figured I would cut them myself. If you want a "prettier" dish you may want to use a mandoline.
This makes a lot of pesto. I think next time I will either use one extra zucchini or use about half the pesto on the dish. I found it just a tad too dressed, but that is just my personal preference. If you like a lot of sauce, go for it! If not, the pesto is absolutely divine and could be used on so many things!
PS. You can find both Doug (@DougMcNish) and JL on Twitter (@JLGoesVegan).
Raw Zucchini Pesto "Pasta"
For the "pasta"
For the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil, firmly packed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon pine nuts
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp seeded and diced jalapeño pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
8 kalamata olives pitted and halved
To make the "pasta" peel the zucchini and cut legnthwise into 1/4" thick slices. With either a knife or mandoline cut the strips into 1/4" julienne style strips.
For the pesto, place the basil, olilve oil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne, nutritional yeast and jalapeno pepper into a food processor or powerful blender. Blend until smooth.
Add the pesto to the zucchini "pasta" and blend gently but thoroughly. Allow to sit about ten minutes before serving as the zucchini "pasta" will soften a bit.
Garnish with tomato and kalamata olives and serve.