Raw Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Basil Pesto

 

Raw Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Basil Pesto by Produce with Amy

“…we opened
two halves
of a miracle,
congealed acid
trickled
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
concentrated…
-Pablo Neruda Ode to a Lemon

If you are like me, the mere thought of both lemon and basil can make your mouth water. Coming in second to taste – is their fragrance. I have always been enamored with the scent of basil and in the summer I make sure to plant many packets of basil seeds in my container garden. I have always said that I could bathe in water perfumed with the bruised leaves of basil (and maybe I have).

Pesto by Produce with Amy

Pesto is one of my favorite flavors and I love to freeze it for a taste of summer when the temperatures outside plunge and I need a mood enhancer. Trust me, pesto has the power to transport one to a beautiful July afternoon.

The pesto recipe that I am sharing today is not a traditional pesto recipe since it does not incorporate pine nuts or parmesan cheese. While I love the addition of pine nuts,

I buy raw nuts in the bulk section of our local co-op. However, I also purchase raw nuts from Target.

I buy raw nuts in the bulk section of our local co-op. However, I also purchase raw nuts from Target.

I did not have them on hand and most of my recipes are assembled by what is in the house. Since raw nuts are one of my protein and pantry staples – I used a raw nut mix that I purchase at Target. Our local food co-op has an incredible selection of raw nuts in the bulk section but they are currently out of my price range. The nuts provide a protein boost and I love the smooth and buttery flavor they give the pesto (trust me…you will not miss the cheese).

I bought a Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer last summer and I knew that I would love raw zucchini noodles. For years I have enjoyed making summer salads out of thinly sliced zucchini (shingled and layered on a plate) and sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil, leeks or onion, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. It was a technique that I had learned from the Food Network after watching Tyler Florence make a similar salad. He explained that you should let the zucchini sit so the acids in the lemon juice soften and “cook” the squash.

The spiralizer makes easy work of processing the zucchini and I suggest letting the salad rest at least an hour before eating. It does taste better the longer the ingredients marry so it is the perfect dish to make for a gathering.

When I made this recipe last week my husband and I ate the zucchini noodles as they are pictured but normally I add in extra produce. Some of my favorite additions are tomatoes (fresh or sun-dried), colored bell peppers,  spinach, mushrooms, olives, and even roasted or boiled red or Yukon gold potatoes (the potatoes are incredible when they are folded into the cold zucchini noodles when they are still hot. When they are warm the potatoes really absorb the pesto).

 

PestoRAW ZUCCHINI NOODLES WITH LEMON BASIL PESTO

  • 3 small zucchini spiralized
  • Fresh basil (approximately 1 cup…loosely packed. I used a combination of sweet basil and lemon basil that I have in my garden)
  • 1/4 cup of raw nuts 
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh chives (optional. In the summer since I have chives in my garden I add them to everything)
  • Juice and zest of one lemon (if you are using bottled lemon juice – 1/4 – 1/2 cup depending on how tart you like the pesto)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I do not add the oil to my pesto but instead add oil to the top of the dish before serving for portion control)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add the basil, nuts, garlic, chives, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper to a blender and blend until smooth.

I added approximately 3/4 of the pesto to the spiralized zucchini and let it sit for a couple hours in the refrigerator. I let the bowl sit out for 20-30 minutes before serving since I like this dish closer to room temperature. The remaining pesto I will use for dinner this week.

Raw Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

Printable recipe: RAW ZUCCHINI NOODLES WITH LEMON BASIL PESTO

Pin the zucchini HERE.

These raw zucchini noodles with pesto would make a great layer for a jar salad and they make a great salad bed (in place of or with greens) or as an accompaniment to your favorite grilled items. I love to top mine with a giant grilled portabella mushroom cap or vegetable kebobs.

Raw Zucchini Pesto Noodles

If you are interested in other zucchini noodle recipes make sure you check out my Zucchini Noodle Soup.

Scarlet Salads in a Jar with Cherry Chipotle VinaigretteI also love to spiralize raw beets to use in salads, check out my Scarlet Salad recipe.

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I hope that you enjoy this simple pesto recipe and I would love to hear back from you if you try it. In the next couple days be on the lookout for my favorite cold savory green soup recipe and shortly I will be sharing printable recipes and a shopping list for an August Green Smoothie Challenge. I thought that a green smoothie a day would be a great way to celebrate summer fruit and produce  and I hope that you will join me!
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Tangy Jarred Salads with Sauerkraut, Hot Peppers, Pickles, & Mustard Dressing

Tangy Jarred Salads with Sauerkraut, Pickles, Hot Peppers, and Mustard by Produce with Amy“In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!” 
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

The glory of spring break stretches before me in the beauty of a week with few obligations. Even my normal weekend marathon of food prep has come to a delicate halt. I made a loaf of bread and will make dinner salads from scratch this week (I may prep a few jarred salads tomorrow to grab for a quick-lunch or dinner. Mid-week I will make soup and get a jump on next week’s food prep to free up time on the weekend). However, my main focus this week will be posting all of the new recipes that have been building up for the past couple months that I have not had the luxury of time (or energy) to post.

A few weeks ago as I was contemplating the Mason jar salads that I bring to work each Tangy Jarred Salads with Sauerkraut, Peppers, and Pickles by Produce with Amyday for lunch, I decided that I wanted a very non-traditional salad. At the time I was fiercely craving sauerkraut. I love the combination of hot peppers, pickles, and mustard with sauerkraut and my affinity for tart and tangy gave rise to this delicious salad creation. I confess that it may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it and will be making it again soon.

If you are not familiar with Mason jar salads you may want to read this post where I give some tips and information about making jarred salads.

MUSTARD DRESSING

  • 1/2 cup of raw apple cider vinegar (Or your vinegar of choice. Since homemade dressings can be made to suit Tangy Mustard Dressingindividual tastes, I always recommend that you add vinegar to meet the level of tartness that you enjoy.)
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard (I have also used plain yellow mustard or spicy brown)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon onion
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil (You can add more depending on taste. You could also skip the oil and add the oil directly to each salad, or to the jar, to maintain portion control. I usually make my dressing without oil and add 2 teaspoons to each jar or to the salad if it is plated.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
    Tangy Jarred Salads by Produce with Amy

TANGY JARRED SALADS WITH SAUERKRAUT, HOT PEPPERS, PICKLES, & MUSTARD DRESSING

3I added the following and divided into five ~ 1 quart Mason jars:

  • 3 Tablespoons Mustard Dressing (per jar)
  • 4 chopped carrots
  • 1 large sliced cucumber
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 10 sliced radishes
  • 1 can of sauerkraut
  • Chicago Style Hot Peppers (I added a couple of Tablespoons per jar. 1Banana peppers or jalapeno also work well)
  • Dill pickles (A couple TabIespoons per jar. I used my mom’s should-be-world-famous dill pickles)
  • 1 quart of halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 container of alfalfa sproutsPrintable Recipe: Tangy Jarred Salads with Sauerkraut, Hot Peppers, Pickles, & Mustard Dressing

This salad would make a wonderful side for summer picnics and I cannot wait to try it with homemade sauerkraut. This salad may be very taste specific, but you can alter it meet you own personal tastes. Mason jar salads have really changed the way that I look at salads and I love the creativity that coming up with new combinations affords me. Make sure that you check out my Salad Tab for other ideas.

Make sure you subscribe to my blog via email to receive notification of new recipes. Please let me know if you try a recipe. If you have stumbled across my blog please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page and let me know where you are from. 🙂  It really thrills and inspires me to know that my posts and recipes are helping others maximize their health and productivity by eating more fruit and vegetables. Cheers to thriving together!

86Sauerkraut Salads

Dijon Mustard Dressing by Produce with Amy