Zucchini “Pasta” with Coriander and Cashew Pesto
This fragrant summery coriander pesto makes for a wonderful dressing for shaved zucchini “pasta”. Quick to make, gluten-free, Paleo and no cooking required!
I’m proud to say that I’ve reserved enough pre- and post-nap time this holiday season to read the book I’ve been meaning to read for ages: Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II almost in its entirety. What a wonderful storyteller he is and his recipes, woven into the narrative of his daily life, evoke the simplest of comforts. Nigel and I agree on a lot. Be it the abundant use of cream in many dishes or cooking with real butter. We both enjoy black pudding. And it is nice to see too that we share a similar philosophy on using “a little of the good stuff, instead of a lot of the mediocre”. Great book and a thoroughly recommended one.
Indeed, a few of my goals for 2014 are in one way or another related to cookbooks. I will be developing recipes for a few, testing for some and shooting for others. The Smoothie eBook will be out next week, too! But I really want to get into reading a few. Nigel’s books sound an absolute must and I am adding a couple to the wishlist.
Speaking of simple comfort food, I was once again thrown into the wonderful whirlwind of all-day shooting for Sarah Wilson’s IQS Program last week and one of the dishes, Zucchini Spaghetti caught my eye. The recipe required thin strands of grated summer squash to be blanched, but I skipped that step because they are so fragile and, to be honest, I enjoy the “al dente” crunch. Leftover coriander, Parmesan and raw cashews from the shoot made a more perfect than basil pesto base. A handful of pine nuts and a small half-eaten packet of almost mismatched goat’s cheese hiding in the depths of the post-Christmas fridge, completed the mise-en-place of our zucchini “noodles”.
I am being told by a dairy-free friend, Parmesan has one of the lowest counts of lactose so can be enjoyed from time to time by those who are lactose-intolerant. Apparently, nutritional yeast flakes can be used instead of Parmesan cheese for making pesto if you need to completely avoid dairy or are vegan. Oh and if you’ve ever wondered why your homemade pesto tastes bitter, it could be the olive oil. It can turn bitter when processed, so opt for macadamia oil or cold pressed sunflower oil instead.
- 2 bunches fresh coriander (about 2 packed cups once chopped)
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 red long chilli, seeds removed
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese (you could use nutritional yeast flakes)
- ½ cup macadamia oil
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- good gring of black pepper
- Chop coriander leaves, stems and roots roughly and place in a food processor (or jug if using a stick blender). Add garlic and chopped chilli, cashews, Parmesan, oil, salt and pepper. Process until semi-smooth.
- Store in a glass jar in the fridge for upto 2 weeks. Makes approx 1½ cups.
- 4-6 (450g / 1lb) small zucchinis
- ½ cup coriander pesto (see recipe above, or your favourite pesto)
- 2 tbsp pinenuts, toasted
- ¼ cup goat's feta
- Wash zucchinis and trim both ends. Grate, using a julienne grater, lengthways to make "pasta noodles". Place grated zucchini in a bowls and drizzle with dressing. Using your hand, toss the strands to coat with the dressing.
- Divide "pasta" between serving bowls and serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and goat's feta.