I used to be the world’s biggest pasta lover. Weren’t we all? Pasta was the staple, the go-to and the ultimate comfort food. A quick and easy friend who mixed well with anything. It was a mutual love affair. As with lots of yummy things there is an underbelly and the boring thing about refined carbs is that, unfortunately, the more you consume, the more you crave. It’s like a bad cycle that never ends.
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 tasty. It’s quicker than cooking regular pasta and the vegan pesto recipe uses nutritional yeast which is an excellent cheese substitute in savoury vegan dishes should you want to avoid dairy. I don’t rule out dairy completely myself but love to experiment with vegan substitute to see how it compares and nutritional yeast is a great way to include in your cheesy dishes if you have chosen the dairy free road. You can find it in most health food stores as well as online.
The good news is that you avoid the pasta pot belly by consuming only veg and grains that are actually good for you and your digestion. Here is the low-down on the nutrients from my favourite menu items;
- Courgettes – contain potassium (good for lowering blood pressure) and vitamin C which strengthen your immune system.
- 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.
- Olive oil – great source of monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants and vitamin E.
This lunch or dinner dish is simply jam packed with nutrients and healthy fats to re-charge your body and mind. Add veggies of your choice, such as steamed broccoli, tomatoes and peppers. It looks lovely and will add a crunch to your dish.
Quick and Easy Pesto ‘Pasta’ (serves 1)
1 large courgette, julienned or spiralized
1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
1/3 nutritional yeast
Salt + Pep
Stick all ingredients in your food processor or high speed blender. Be prepared to stop the machine occasionally to scrape the mixture off the sides until you have the consistency you like. I prefer a slight crunch to my pesto instead of a fine puree but that is entirely personal. You do what works for you.
Slightly wilt the courgetti in a pan of boiling water (but with heat turned off). No longer than 2 minutes, then drain, toss and pour the pesto over the warm vegetable noodles. Add your vegetables of choice (broccoli, tomatoes, peppers or spinach for example) once the noodles have been thoroughly coated in pesto. Serve immediately.