Cook along with me! Let's make this together on YouTube!
I first discovered raw food in 2009 in the middle of my quest to be my healthiest (fittest) self. I loved how I felt when I ate it: truly nourished and like I was really doing something good for my body. I loved exploring new recipes that didn't require me to use the hotplate in my apartment (simple living at its finest) and finding crazy ways to use the new veggies and produce I was discovering around Vancouver.
Trouble was, I never quite felt full, and the fat + fruit sugar I ended up relying on to feel satisfied was not at all what my body needed. (I maintain that I am probably one of the only people ever who gained weight on a raw food diet. Oops.)
I still really enjoy raw foods, and with the additional training I've received in the meantime, I completely understand the value of this kind of diet (and the best way to find balance and satiety when taking it on). Raw foods provide living, nourishing enzymes, whole nutrients, and really powerful cleansing properties that can be lost in cooked foods. As a bonus, they're simple to prepare and often more delicious than their cooked counterparts. It's incredible when you can start to notice the subtleties in flavor of real, unprocessed, untouched food. That, if nothing else, is a great reason to give raw food a go! Even incorporating it in small amounts throughout the day can be beneficial, and can add texture and variety when meals start to seem a little same old, same old.
Thankfully, it's summer, which means it's summer squash + zucchini season. (I have soft spot for this versatile veggie. Check out my recipe posts for zucchini pizza and zucchini chips, and this link to Oh My Veggies' stuffed zucchini boats with quinoa in peanut sauce, which we've modified several times with awesome results.) It's such a tenacious vegetable, most farmers' market stands are giving it away (or just about), so it's nice to stock up and find some fun uses for it throughout the week.
I finally bought a spiralizer - Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer - which, if you're unfamiliar with it, turns just about any firm fruit or veggie into seriously fun shapes, including pasta! Armed with my cloth bag of zucchini, a fresh bunch of basil, some walnuts, and a new discovery (avocado oil!), I set off on a summertime adventure of pasta-making... the gluten-free, grain-free, raw, vegan way!
- 6 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 bunch fresh basil, washed + large stems removed
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup avocado oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp raw almonds
- 1. Follow spiralizer instructions to turn your zucchini into linguine-like strands. Cut strands in half if they're too long. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
- 2. Combine walnuts, basil, nutritional yeast, oil, and s + p in food processor. Blend until smooth (about 1-2 minutes), adding more oil if needed to thin it out.
- 3. Add pesto mixture to zucchini pasta and toss to coat evenly.
- 4. Toast almonds in a skillet (no oil) for about 90 seconds until fragrant. Top each serving of pasta with a few almonds and serve.