Locavore Pesto Power
It’s zucchini season! Gardeners can’t go a day without returning to vines laden with zucchinis the size of baseball bats. Recipes for handling this type quantity have to be equally numerous, and frankly, creative enough to keep us enjoying this tenacious summer squash.
Personally, I never thought raw zucchini would make its way onto my kitchen table — let alone blow my mind. But I discovered that it has many health benefits that are lost when cooked. Raw zucchini aids in weight loss and cholesterol control. It also provides a healthy dose of potassium (reduces blood pressure), vitamin A (for healthy eyes, skin, hair), vitamin C (immune booster), and antioxidants (protects against cancer).
In pursuit of healthy indulgences that nourish my bod without sacrificing flavor, I discovered a recipe for raw zucchini noodles with pesto. This recipe lightens up a summer supper, yet leaves you deliciously satisfied.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
4 zucchinis (trim ends)
1 cup pecans (or any other nut), toasted and cooled
⅓ cup grated parmesan
1 garlic clove
1 cup herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley) or kale greens
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
juice of one lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
Slice the zucchini with a mandolin or julienne peeler into ribboned “noodles.” Arrange in a bowl and set aside.
For the pesto: mix pecans and garlic in the food processor. Pulse until coarse. Add olive oil, sea salt, Parmesan, herbs or greens, and lemon juice. Pulse until the ingredients are mixed. Don’t overwork the pesto to preserve maximum nutritional value and gourmet appearance.
Add the pesto to the zuke noodles and mix. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and/or red pepper flakes (highly recommended if you like a bit of spice).
Enjoy immediately! The noodles can get watery over time.
Erin O'Brien, writer for "Five Pillars Yoga's Weekly Wisdom," is a yoga teacher, wellness coach, and the author of Soul Food, a book full of inspiration and exercises that support positive, healthy relationships with food and body image.