The first post I wrote for this blog, over 2 years ago, was about Tallarines Verdes, the Peruvian version of Italian pesto. This recipe was my first choice because it has been one of my favorite dishes since childhood. When I lived in England, as a university student, I must have eaten ready-made pesto in 30% or more of my meals. I never seemed to get tired of the basil-nut-garlic combination; on the contrary, the more I ate it, the more I liked it.
If I had known back then that making pesto -or “salsa verde”– was beyond easy, I probably would’ve had a more wholesome diet, without all the preservatives added to the commercial kinds found in the supermarkets. Of course, once I started getting a kick out of home cooking, I began experimenting -and still do- with all kinds of pesto sauces, including anything from peppers, to olives, to different kinds of greens, cheeses and milks.
This is by far the healthiest version I have come up with so far: it’s vegan, it’s raw, and it’s gluten-free. I was never convinced about how great raw pasta made with zucchini could actually be. I saw it in cookbooks, and in raw food restaurants’ menus, but I never quite bought into it until I finally tried it. My mother gave me Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Kitchen a while back, and I found a recipe for squash pasta with sage pesto in there. It was divine. I would go as far as saying that I enjoyed it as much as the real thing. So try it! You have nothing to lose, and much to gain from making this nutritious meal.
- 1-2 zucchini
- 1-2 summer squash
- ½ cup cashews
- ½- ¾ cup water
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 2 cups basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cherry tomatoes, cut in 4 (optional)
- ½ avocado, sliced (optional)
- Soak the cashews in water overnight. Drain when ready to use.
- Cut the zucchini and summer squash lengthwise in strips, with a mandolin or vegetable peeler.
- Mix all the other ingredients except the zucchini and squash, in a blender until a smooth cream forms.
- Taste for seasoning.
- Pour the cream over the zucchini and squash, and mix everything well so that the sauce covers all the raw pasta.
- Serve, and decorate with basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, and avocados (optional).