Pesto ‘Pasta’ with Kale Salad and Falafels

IMG_5755I used to be the world’s biggest pasta lover. Weren’t we all? Pasta was the staple, the go to, the comfort food only second to mashed potatoes. I loved past and pasta loved me. Mixed with veg, meat, seafood, fish, pesto, cream, baked, cooked, you name it, I ate it. The odd thing about refined carbs is, unfortunately, that the more you consume it, the more you crave it. Like a bad drug.

These days I still crave the satisfying feeling that only a dish of pesto pasta and a salad can give you. But I recreate it into my new vegan, gluten free version which is surprisingly very nice. The vegan pesto recipe uses nutritional yeast which is an excellent cheese substitute in savory vegan dishes. You can find it in most health food stores as well as Whole Foods.  And the good news is you don’t get the pasta pot belly either. Instead, you are eating only veg and grains that are actually really good for you.  Here is the low-down on nutrients from my favorite menu items;

Courgettes – contain potassium (good for lowering blood pressure) and vitamin C which strengthen your immune system.

Kale – superfood high in vitamin K, A, C, calcium, protein, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory.

Basil – good source of magnesium, vitamin A (good for eyes) , anti-bacterial.

Pine nuts – vitamin A, C, Magnesium, iron, can aid weight loss due to feeling full faster.

The nutritious kale salad is a staple in my kitchen and to it you can add most veg. I used pear and tomatoes for a bit of sweet n’ sour. One top tip to remember when you are holding the stalks of cardboard kale in your hand, wondering how on earth you’ll eat that raw… It NEEDS massaging with something acidic – like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar – for a few minutes at least. The acid breaks down the cell walls of the stiff kale and makes it wilt. Otherwise it is like eating paper.

This lunch or dinner menu is simply jam packed with nutrients and healthy fats to re-charge your body and mind. Enjoy! x

Pesto ‘Pasta’ with Kale Salad and Falafel

(serves 2 very hungry people)

Courgette Pasta

1 large courgette, julienned or spiralized

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 Charlotte onion, finely chopped

1″ ginger, finely sliced into thin batons

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Vegan Pesto

1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup pine nuts

4 cloves garlic

1/3 nutritional yeast

Salt + Pepper

Kale Salad

2 handfuls of kale, washed and stalks removed

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 – 1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp olive oil

1 pear, finely chopped

1 tomato, finely chopped

How to:

1. Place the washed kale into large bowl and add the lemon juice, oil, salt and tahini. Massage thoroughly until wilted and soft, this could take a few minutes but don’t give up. Get stuck in with your hands – it is actually quite therapeutic.

2. One mixed, add the chopped pear and tomatoes and gently mix until all is well-distributed – set aside.

3. Add all the pesto ingredients into a food processor and mix until you have a paste like consistency. If too thick add a splash of water. You don’t want it totally pureed and smooth, there should still be small ‘bits’ of pine nuts detectable. Add salt/pepper until you’ve got the perfect flavour. Put aside in a jar. There will be plenty of leftover pesto which you can eat another day. It lasts for about a week in the fridge.

2. Julienne the large courgette until you’ve got an impressive pile of ‘spaghetti’. Add rapeseed oil, garlic, onion and ginger to a pan and soften. Lower heat and add the courgettes. Toss them over with tongs until slightly wilted and warm. You  certainly don’t want them cooked – only gently warmed. Transfer ‘spaghetti’ into a bowl.

3. Mix a couple of table spoons of pesto into the warmed ‘spaghetti’  and gently stir until you’ve got just the right amount for you.

4. Place some ‘spaghetti’ and kale salad on plate together with a few heated up falafels. I used  Biona organic falafels which was a lazy yet delicious way of completing the meal.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. Much love! x

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