Once upon a time, I delightfully ordered pasta with the cheesiest and creamiest sauce possible when dining at Italian restaurants. The more indulgent the fettuccine, the better. I didn’t understand at the time why I felt so sleepy afterwards, but I ate it with the biggest smile. One that would put the Cheshire Cat to shame.
Fifty plates of pasta later (equal to about one decade), I read up on nutrition books thanks to my stubborn acne. I soon learned that consuming refined carbs, such as my beloved fettuccine and other precious noodles, caused a sugar high followed by a food coma. Some dishes more or less than others. The news felt like a borderline breakup for I had to develop a long-distance relationship with my favorite comfort foods. I knew had to be done. Processed food was one of the reasons why I had so many pimples and skin can be very revealing of what’s going on inside your body.
Thankfully there are tasty alternatives. Sure, there may be no “perfect” substitute for any ingredient. When a substitute replaces your usual teacher at school, it’s not the same. Sometimes it’s even better. But of course, there will be students who will say just the opposite.
In today’s recipe, we make a dish loved by many vegans. Good news: you don’t need to be vegetarian to enjoy it. Maybe you need a break from a weekend filled with carnivorous feasting. This might be a dish to help balance out the diet. I find it quite filling without the sluggish consequences 🙂
Ps: For those who still ask about my diet, I am not vegan, but love vegan food. I eat refined carbs as seen in my mukbang and travel videos. Off-camera I balance it out with leafy greens and vegetables.
For the noodles:
- 9 large zucchinis (or 12 medium zucchinis)
For the pesto sauce:
- 3 big ripe avocados
- 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
- 6 cloves garlic
- 5 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoon sea salt (more or less depending on your taste)
For the toppings:
- 3 cups of grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of pine nuts
- basil leaves as desired
- black pepper to taste
Servings: 8 ladies or 4 gentlemen
(Obviously a generalization as some girls eat more than dudes.)
Cut off both ends of each zucchini. Insert one end through the spiralizer and twist carefully. Don’t spiralize your own hand (if you are using a hand-held version).
Note: If you rotate the zucchini in the opposite direction, the long noodles may break apart. So when re-orienting your hand to twist the zucchini, do so slowly while allowing the other hand to hold the zucchini.
After spiralizing each zucchini, you’ll end up with leftovers that look like pencil stubs (see bottom left in photo below). Put them to the side. We will use them later.
Sauté the zucchini noodles with olive oil on medium high heat. Cook until soft, but not too soft.
Blend avocados, basil leaves, sea salt, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor. Add in olive oil. Continue to blend until consistency is thick and creamy. If needed, add water one spoonful at a time until your sauce reaches the desired texture. If the flavor becomes diluted, no fear. Add in more lemon juice, garlic and/or salt.
Pour your mixed noodles on a plate and season with black pepper. Toss on grape tomatoes, pine nuts and fresh basil leaves.
Remember those leftover zucchinis that look like short pencil stubs? Don’t toss them out! They are edible. Let’s treat them with love and oven-roast ‘em. Preheat the oven at 450f degrees.
Meanwhile, place the zucchini stubs on an aluminum foiled tray. In a small bowl, combine olive oil with dried herbs and a pinch of salt. Make enough of this concoction to cover the zucchini stubs. I used Herbes de Provence seasoning, which contains dried parsley, thyme, poppy seeds, tarragon and marjoram.
Brush the oil mixture over the zucchini stubs. Pop the tray into the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes or until tips begin to show signs of burning. Remove and let cool for consumption.
Bubbling bottoms of zucchinis while hanging out in the sauna.
Once cooked, admire their golden exterior.
Enjoy! Watch me eat this exact recipe on my mukbang video: