Friday, January 8, 2016

quinoa pesto + zucchini noodles

Working with raw foods for Mana Health Foods deli I was introduced to the pesto zucchini noodle dish. It is so simple, raw, and refreshing. Adding cherry or grape tomatoes adds a fresh zing while the avocado smooths it out and fattens it up. It was always just a raw dish to me until I found this blog post by Simply Quinoa. Adding quinoa to the mix was a serious game changer for me. It isn't a raw pasta dish anymore but I feel like it is much more complete and filling, something I can make at home for my hungry man of a husband.

This dish is great for a quick dinner (after a late surf maybe or a summer picnic?) or to pack for lunch! As with anything raw though, it is best if eaten right away!

quinoa pesto + zoodles

 the pesto:
  •  2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro 
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup spinach or kale
  • 1/3 cup walnuts

You can play with the amounts of herbs and greens in this recipe, this is my go-to ratio but it also depends on what I have on hand! 5 big cups of any kind of herbs and greens should do the trick! Blend all ingredients except the walnuts in a food processor until finely (I mean finely) chopped. Add the walnuts and process one minute until smooth.

the rest:
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup green onion

I have a julienne peeler to noodle my zucchinis but a spiralizer will work too. After noodling both zucchinis add the quinoa and all of the pesto, combine completely (I like to use my hands to massage everything together, damaging the zoodles as little as possible).

Chop the tomatoes, avocado, and green onions. You can toss these right in or just serve them on top, either way it's a winner! A bigger bang than the raw version but still fresh, light, and delicious!

This pesto recipe is extremely versatile. Try it with real pasta, a potato salad, or the sauce for a pizza.

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