The days are starting to heat up in my part of the world. It is time to farewell the comforting soups and stews of winter and early spring, and commence RAW FOOD indulgence!
This pesto is a concoction that I developed after discovering that my family’s preferred nut and herb combination (for pesto) was macadamia and basil. I added english spinach on an occasion that I was a little short of basil, and it became a regular addition to the recipe.
The marinara sauce is adapted from Alissa Cohen’s Living on Live Food. We discovered zucchini ribbons (or ‘noodles’) when we first became interested in raw food 5 years ago.
Macadamia and Basil Pesto
Quantity -2 cups
You will need:
4 cups basil leaves, tightly packed
1 1/2 cups English (baby) spinach leaves, tightly packed
2 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts
2-5 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup plus 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
English spinach and basil leaves
Wash basil leaves and baby spinach leaves, pat dry or use a salad spinner.
Place leaves in food processor with macadamia nuts and garlic. Process for 30 sec. Turn off, then remove lid. Use a spatula to scrape mixture down the sides of the jug. Replace lid, process again and add 1/3 cup of oil and salt while blades are spinning. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape ingredients down side of jug with a spatula.
Once ingredients are well incorporated, do a taste test. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp oil or additional salt if it is required. Process again to combine.
We use the full amount of oil. We only use 2 cloves of garlic, as my children comment that the pesto is ‘spicy’ if we add any more. By all means, add more if that won’t be a problem in your house. I’d certainly add more garlic if it wasn’t for fact that my kids find the strong, spicy flavour of raw garlic overwhelming (when someone calls out ‘water, water’ I know I’ve gone overboard with the garlic!).
Set pesto aside.
Quantity – 1 3/4 cups
2 cups fresh tomato, chopped
15 sundried tomatoes soaked for 2 hours
5 dates, pitted and soaked for 2 hours
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process on medium until ingredients are blended well, and desired texture is achieved. I like it to be a little chunky.
You will need:
1/2 – 1 medium zucchini (courgette) PER person
Wash and dry zucchini. Use vegetable peeler (or spiraliser) to create ribbons. If using vegie peeler, peel zucchini along the entire length. Discard skin if preferred. I use it. Use as much of the zucchini as possible. Set ribbons aside.
Additional ingredients, PER person:
2 small button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup diced red capsicum (bell pepper)
1 tbsp sliced olives
A sprinkling of savoury yeast (nutritional yeast)
4 slices of avocado
A few sprigs of fresh parsley
For each person:
Place ribbons in a bowl. Add desired amount of pesto. Mix with a spoon to coat the ribbons, or you can use your hands to work the pesto through the ribbons.
Add desired amount of marinara sauce, mix well.
Add vegetables, stir.
Sprinkle with savoury yeast flakes (nutritional yeast) and place avocado slices on top. Top with parsley.
with nutritional yeast.
without nutritional yeast.
Variation: My kids aren’t keen on raw zucchini (or cooked, or any form really. But they do like zucchini cake – especially when I call it Maple Syrup and Walnut Cake 😉 ).
So, we serve their meal with wholemeal wheat spaghetti instead of ribbons.
Leftover pesto can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge, for about a week. My daughter and I enjoy pesto on whole wheat toast for breakfast.
Leftover marinara sauce can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
What is your favourite pesto combination?
Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe – one that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too.