Monday, July 11, 2011



Does anyone like to diet?  I mean really, what’s to like about depriving yourself of some of your favorite foods…the very foods that caused you to have to go on a diet in the first place?  Well, I’m dieting and I’m bitching about it everyday even though I find Atkins a ‘livable’ diet (I’m a protein girl)…

The other night, however, I stopped bitching.  Richard grilled some salmon and made pasta.  Raw pesto pasta.  I know.  I know.  No pasta on Atkins.  But like South Beach Diet’s mashed cauliflower recipe to dim the craving for mashed potatoes – this dish was conceived to dim the craving for spaghetti… or linguini…  or …  you get the picture.  It’s actually zucchini cut into julienne strips that “impersonate” noodles.  It’s a visual.

Does this dish taste like pasta?  No.  But, since we eat w/ our eyes as well as our mouths – your eyes can trick you into believing it does.  I don’t know if my eyes fooled me or not, but I loved this raw pesto pasta “invented” by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld, the founding chef of Blossoming Lotus in Portland, Oregon.   Not being a vegan (not even close) this dish was perfect w/ the salmon and would be perfect w/ a steak off the grill.



2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into ‘noodles’ (approximately 4 cups)

Pesto sauce ingredients:
2 cups fresh basil, firmly packed
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 medium/large clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
¾ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
1 teaspoon seeded and diced jalapeno pepper, optional

12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
8 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
4 teaspoons pine nuts, optional


To make the ‘noodles,’ cut the zucchini into ¼-inch-thick slices, and then lay each slice on its side and cut into ¼-inch-thick julienne strips.  Place in a mixing bowl.  Alternatively, use a mandolin

on the small julienne setting.
To make the pesto, in a blender or food processor, combine the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast (if using – Richard didn’t) and jalapeno (if using – Richard didn’t) and blend until smooth.  Be careful not to over blend.  Depending upon the strength of the blender motor, you may need to add a little more olive oil to process smoothly.

Add the pesto to the zucchini ‘noodles’ and toss gently but thoroughly.  Let sit for 10 minutes so the zucchini softens.

To serve, divide the mixture into four bowls or plates, and top each serving w/ 6 cherry tomato quarters, 2 olive halves and 1 teaspoon of pine nuts, if desired.

Variations: pesto made w/ walnuts or macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts.

4 servings

9g total carbs – 7g net carbs – 2g fiber – 4 g protein – 21g fat --- 220 calories

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