My favorite way to cook is to enter the kitchen with no plan, and see what I can come up with using only the ingredients I find! I rarely (literally never), go grocery shopping with a list and a specific 'recipe' in mind. I believe using my no-method, method has taught me to be the great chef (my opinion) that I am today. I always LOVE the dishes I create when I thought there was no food in the house. And if they don't turn out tasting delicious then at least I learn what not to try again in the future.
Traditionally pesto is made from pine nuts, but walnuts, cashews, hemp seed, and macadamia nuts all make great substitutes. Cashews and macadamia nuts will give the pesto an extra creamy and rich flavor, whereas hemp seeds will give a less thick consistency, but are a great swap if you want to boost the protein and omega-3 content of this recipe. I love using hemp seeds and basil to make a creamy basil salad dressing that I will post soon.
Raw Cashew Pesto Zucchini Noodles
Cashew Pesto Ingredients
- 4 Heads of basil
- 1 Cup raw soaked cashews
- 1/2 Avocado
- 1 Cup spinach (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder (swap for garlic if you like garlic)
- Sprinkle of black pepper
- 3 Large zucchinis (or however many you want!)
- Cherry tomatoes (as many as your heart desires)
- Sprinkle of sundried tomatoes (optional)
1. Use a spiralizer to turn your zucchinis into zoodles. I use the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Vegetable Spiral Slicer, and it can be bought it from Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond. You can also use a mandolin to thinly slice the zucchinis if you don't have a spirilizer.
2. Zucchinis have a naturally high water content, around 95%, so lay the zoodles on a clean towel and gently pat them to absorb some of their moisture. This step will help the zoodles absorb more of the pesto!
3. Combine all sauce ingredients in a high speed blender, I used a vitamix. I like more lemon than most people so for this recipe start with the juice of two lemons, taste it, and then add more if you'd like. The spinach is optional, and doesn't affect the taste of the pesto so I like to add it to increase the nutritional content of this sauce. I also really like to add frozen peas to pesto, and all green sauces for that matter, for the same reasons.
4. Pour the pesto onto the zoodles, garnish with some sliced cherry tomatoes, and add extra nutritional yeast to the top! Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor, and is one of the only vegan foods that contains B12, so hurray for nutritional yeast!