I’ve been making lots of veggie noodle dishes lately. While it’s not necessary to own a closet full of kitchen gadgets to eat well, this gadget is fun and won’t break the bank.
And if you want to get kids involved in cooking, this vegetable slicer rivals a Play-Doh factory, in my humble opinion. Just be careful of the blades. If you don’t have this handy slicer, a hand-held vegetable peeler or julienne peeler will do the trick.
My love of pesto is much deeper than that of pasta. Besides eating it by the spoonful straight from the food processor, I add pesto to stir-frys, soups and slow-cook recipes. The same goes for salsa. Don’t discount these nutrient-packed sides and condiments. They can make all the difference in the flavor and health benefits of a meal. One of my favorite condiments to have on hand is roasted cherry tomatoes, so I’ve added that recipe below as well.
My latest dairy-free pesto concoction uses avocado for an ultra creamy texture. Pesto is best when made using a food processor, but you can get by hand-dicing all the ingredients very finely and it will be more of a salsa than a pesto. If you’re looking for a more traditional pesto without avocado, try one of the pesto recipes in my cookbooks, this kale pesto recipe, or the dairy-free version of the kale recipe mentioned in the headnotes using pine nuts and salt in place of Parmesan.
Zucchini Pesto Noodles
You might think this is a warm-weather dish, but I eat it year-round. My preference is to make it a warm meal by stir-frying the zucchini noodles for a few minutes before slathering them with pesto and other additions. Feel free to eat them raw though.
I also prefer the texture of the noodles once they’re cooked for just a few minutes. You can also cook them for a few minutes and then store them in the refrigerator and use them when you’re ready.
I don’t peel the green off the zucchini, but feel free to do so if you prefer.
- 4 medium zucchini (about 150 g each or one zucchini per person)
- pesto (recipe follows)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Prepare the pesto.
- Use a vegetable slicer, peeler or julienne peeler to create the noodles.
- Warm a skillet on a medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Add the zucchini noodles to the skillet and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook them until they’re the texture you prefer.
- Turn the heat off and add the pesto to the noodles and mix with a fork to blend well.
- Serve with roasted cherry tomatoes (recipe follows), or your favorite topping.
Avocado Kale Pesto
I use Dino kale (also know as lacinato kale) for this recipe, but any kale will work. If you don’t have kale on hand, use spinach or a combination of spring greens that are not bitter and skip the blanching step (#1).
- 1 medium bunch (about 6 large stalks or 8 ounces) of kale, stalks removed
- 2 medium green onions (trimmed) or shallots (peeled)
- 1 (200 g) small avocado, peeled and seeded
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- salt & pepper
- Add about 4 cups of water to a saucepan and bring to a steady low boil. Alternatively, you can set up a steamer to steam the kale.
- Turn the heat off of the water and add the kale to the boiling water for just a minute or two, and then remove them using a slotted spoon or tongs.
- Add the kale, onions, avocado, garlic and lemon juice to a food processor and pulse until mostly chopped and somewhat creamy in texture. Add more lemon juice or some water if it’s too thick.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Sometimes I swap out the honey with balsamic vinegar, or I add both in and remove the salt. It will depend somewhat on how sweet your tomatoes are, so remove the honey if the tomatoes are in season, or exceptionally sweet.
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed and sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil
- 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C or gas mark 6).
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat the tomatoes.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick mat and spread the tomatoes across the baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the tomatoes are beginning to caramelize but not burn.
- Cool and store sealed in the refrigerator for a week or so.