Shifting sideways from my usual sweet food exploration, and heavily influenced by my recent travels, I bring you the rawness of the good stuff. Vegetables. For those of you who are rolling their eyes and with a sarcastic ‘yum…vegetables…raw, I need meat’ just give this a chance.
I expect you have seen or heard of the raw food trend, including vegetable pasta – it’s plastered all over the internet. You don’t have to be a hippy or feel you are joining the elite and righteous we are so pure club, to enjoy this very delicious nutritious meal.
I want to say courgette but as I’m in America and so everyone will understand I will say, zucchini. I picked up some Nasturtium flowers, red butter lettuce and asparagus from the local farmers market. I looked in the fridge and saw what extras I had – I like to have things like pesto, olives, and sundried tomatoes on standby. I made up a lovely meal of, zucchini pesto pasta with goats cheese and a flower and grilled asparagus salad. It looks amazing; it tastes really great and is freshness at its best.
Try it out and let me know your thoughts – Zucchini Pesto Pasta with Goats’ Cheese, and Flower Salad with Grilled Asparagus.
Yep, Nasturtiums, you can eat them. No, they are not gross. They have sweetness and pepperiness to them which are perfect in a salad. Don’t knock it till you try it!
If you don’t own a Spiralizer – I expect 90% of you don’t, simply get creative with you knife skills or use a vegetable peeler. You can pick a spiralizer up pretty cheaply and they are really cool.
INGREDIENTS – Pesto Pasta
4 Zucchini, washed and ends trimmed
3 – 4 Tbsps. Pesto of choice or homemade Sundried tomatoes – depending on size, chop and use according to taste
2oz Goats Cheese
Extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbsps. Walnut pieces Ground black pepper
Small sprinkling of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, optional
Using your spiralizer or knife/peeler, keep the skins on and prepare the zucchini in to whatever fancy style pasta size you desire. I used the thick spiral attachment on my spiralizer.
In a bowl, combine the pesto with the ‘pasta’ being gentle so not to smash up your zucchini, you can add your tiny pinch of salt here if you are using. Place the ‘pasta’ in a heap in your chosen serving dish. All you do now is simply sprinkle over the sundried tomatoes, goats’ cheese and walnut pieces in an artistic fashion. Grind some black pepper over the top. Hold back on the olive oil and use it to drizzle over the dish just before serving, it adds richness to the ‘pasta’.
Option for a hot meal – heat a non-stick frying pan up and then tip in your pasta pile, gently move it around with a spatula until it is warm and the cheese has melted.
For the salad
10 – 12 Nasturtium flower heads or radish flowers
12 – 15 Asparagus spears
Red butter lettuce, washed and ripped into large pieces
1/2 Orange bell pepper, sliced thinly into strips
12 – 15 Grape tomatoes, cut in half
I used a griddle pan to grill the asparagus but you can use a frying pan or roast them. Whichever you method you choose the result is the same, just ensure you don’t overcook them – no one likes a soggy floppy spear, and use a tiny bit of spray oil. Sprinkle on some sea salt and black pepper if you prefer some seasoning. Let the asparagus cool.
The rest of the salad is a case of arranging the ingredients in a way that beautifully displays the colours and textures in their full glory. I used a glass pie dish as I think a bowl doesn’t display the salad in the best way also when you serve, it is easy to select a bit of everything. Dressing is up to you, I like to use olive oil and balsamic vinegar as the flowers and asparagus bring so much flavour, you won’t want to drown it out.
Voila! You have created the easiest but most impressive feast of utter goodness.