The farmers’ market is abound with so many of my favorite seasonal delights – fresh cherries, asparagus, strawberries, romanesco cauliflower, tomatoes, & summer squash! I’ve been waiting for the moment that summer squash arrived at my CSA stand & yesterday I caught my first glimpse! Why the excitement? Raw “pasta” of course! Last summer I bought a spiral slicer, & made my first batch of zucchini noodles with raw tomato marinara & my life changed that instant! I love pasta, but my ever slowing metabolism doesn’t. And really what’s pasta without the sauce? Isn’t it the topping – a spicy tomato marinara, a creamy cashew alfredo, a zesty basil pesto – where all the flavor is anyway? So the beauty of zucchini noodles is that they are practically, if not totally guilt free! And they’re way more fun to prepare than dropping a bunch of dry pasta in boiling water. I enjoy the meditative process of cranking the handle & watching the dense squash become delicate noodles. And I recently cashed in the Joyce Chen for the Benriner, which gives you 3 blade options for varied noodle sizes, & I find the middle size to be perfect for zucchini squash noodles.
While I was instantly inspired by the arrival of squash at the market, I was further inspired by the friendly marketeer at my CSA’s stand. After a brief hiatus, I am back to my bi-weekly share & anxiously rooted through the contents of my box to see what I had to work with. A bundle of “basil fino verde” caught my attention. It certainly smelled like basil, & that was a delight, but looked a bit like thyme. So what should I do with it? Use it as a garnish? Mmmm, sprinkled on pizza, or pasta? Perhaps. I asked the marketeer if he had any suggestions, & boy did he! Win! And turns out he’s vegan. Win! Win! He said he had recently used it to make a “Basil Cashew Pesto” that he used as a spread on toasted bread, & as a dip for artichokes. Wow. Right? Get me some artichokes & baguette! But then, with zucchini & summer squash in hand, my inspiration bell rang. Ding ding! Raw “Pasta” with Basil Cashew Pesto Sauce. I quickly called upon my blog friends for some recipe assistance & came across Dreena’s recipe for “Lemony Cashew Basil Pesto”, & looked no further. What I created was more like a cashew cream sauce than a pesto, & that was certainly the result I was seeking, if you desire more of a “pesto” double up on the basil as Dreena did in her recipe.
- 3 medium zucchini, 3 medium summer squash
- 3½ Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- ¾ tsp. dry yellow mustard
- ¾ tsp. sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 Tbsp. water, plus more to reach desired consistency
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked over night, rinsed & drained
- 1 cup basil fino verde leaves
- 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
- Spiralize the squash & set aside in a colander to drain excess liquid.
- In a food processor, combine lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, oil, & water, & purée until fairly smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Add cashews & basil fino verde & purée until smooth & creamy. Add more water to thin out the sauce if desired.
- Toss zucchini noodles with desired amount of sauce. Top with fresh black pepper, a sprinkle of pine nuts, & basil fino verde leaves.
Tastes like summer around here! While I can imagine that this luxurious topping would be wonderful smothering my favorite brown rice spaghetti noodles, the pairing of crisp raw noodles with the rich & brightly flavored sauce creates a wonderful balance of decadence & freshness.
This would also make a wonderful sandwich or cracker spread, if left on the thick side. It would also make a wonderful creamy salad dressing! Yum yum! As I plan on going at least 60% raw this summer, this will become a staple in my raw kitchen! Enjoy