Raw Zucchini ‘Pasta’ With Pesto Sauce

Time to freshen up, folks. Spring has officially arrived and we are all looking to slim down, perk up, and feel (and look!) great for the new season.

Eating a greater proportion of raw vegetables is a fantastic way to achieve all of the aforementioned goals. Straightforward enough, but certainly not easy. Coming off of heavier, fattier foods from the winter season, it can be downright difficult to switch over to raw foods, even in small increments. We all want to eat better. But we don’t actually want to sit down and eat that huge bowl of salad for dinner. So what’s a hungry person to do?

Here’s a culinary secret from one cook who has done every diet in the spectrum, from vegetarian to vegan to raw to Paleolithic back to vegan — and finally at a happy median of plant-based: disguise your food as the thing you want it to be. Huh?! By making certain dishes reminiscent of other foods you are craving, you can fill that void without indulging completely.

Here’s a recipe to exemplify just that: a completely vegan, raw dish that mimics Bolognese pasta. Yellow and green zucchini are sliced thinly into “pasta” noodles, and a savory “meat” sauce is made from sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. Just a handful of pecans in the mix give the sauce a chunky consistency reminiscent of the meat in traditional Bolognese. This dish is hearty in essence but lean and mean in actuality. Fill that carb-craving with a plentiful dose of vegetables and healthy fats, and be proud of all the spring cleaning you have deliciously been taking care of.

Zucchini “Pasta” with “Bolognese” Pesto Sauce
Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:
1 small green zucchini, thinly julienne
1 small yellow zucchini, thinly julienne
¼ cup prepared pesto
2 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
“Bolognese” Pesto:
¼ cup oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup basil, torn
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup pecans
1 lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ – ½ cup water, as needed

Procedure:

  1. Prepare pesto: Place all ingredients but water in food processor; pulse until well chopped. With food processor running, slowly add water until pesto becomes just smooth enough to mix into a thick paste. Do not put too much water in or will become runny.
  2. Place sliced zucchini in mixing bowl. Top with pesto and toss until well combined. Serve immediately or chilled.
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