Triple-Green Zucchini Pasta With Broccoli-Arugula Pesto

15 Aug

I think I already mentioned that I’d taken a blood test to finally figure out what my food sensitivities are. It turns out that all grains are off the menu, as are soy, beans, legumes and dairy. Well, we knew about dairy already, so no surprises there.

But it made me think seriously about my diet. Beans, legumes (i.e. lentils, my absolute FAVES) and soy are some of the first things I reach for when I’m going for a vegetarian or vegan alternative. Er, those are out the window. Basically I’ve found out that my diet falls under the “Paleo” title, which makes it easier as there’s some cookbooks out there to inspire me.

Now, please don’t think that I’ve fallen for this whole “pre-agriculture everyone was healthy and that’s how we should eat now to avoid every ailment” theory. I know it’s not scientifically accurate, but that’s not what was bothering me. It was reintroducing meat into my diet.

Eat your greens!

I’m seriously unhappy with how the livestock is treated in this country, the industrialization of our feedlots. The idea of “animal husbandry” seems to have been well and truly thrown right under a bus, except for a small but determined band of farmers out there across our fair nation.

When I lived in the U.K., I didn’t realize that the distance between farm to table was so short and simple. Not until I returned to the States. In fact, it was out there that I found out that the U.S. had been farming genetically modified crops for years, only because the Britons were up in arms about it happening in Europe. Even the freaking Prince of Wales was against it, and get this: Prince Charles is actually an organic farmer. (That said, I don’t know how dirty his hands get, if you get my meaning. But lord knows he owns enough land to farm on.)

Back away from the noodles and put the tongs down. Do not approach the noodles, and PLEASE don’t eat them.

So eating more meat for me is tricky. I know how many lies are out there, and I promise you: My stomach can tell if beef is truly grass fed and free range, or just labeled that way because the poor animal got to eat grass for the last 30 days of its life. I’m so grateful and happy that I found this Da-Le Ranch that I keep going on about. Not only do they have happy animals on their websites, pigs rolling in the proverbial mud and all that, but they actually give tours of their property. I’m sure it’s not feasible to let the cows out roaming for one day a month just so some suburbanites like myself can ooh and aah over their rangey-ness. I do intend to take a tour, and I’ll share some photos when I do. Besides, I’ve met Dave on a few occasions, and this guy seems like the real deal. And the meat truly does taste decidedly different than that muck you get in the supermarkets—and yes, I include Whole Foods in that.

So thanks to Da-Le Ranch, I’ll integrate more meat into my diet, but in small amounts. But in the grain department, I’m going to have to do some fancy footwork. And that’s where this latest post comes in—I know, I know, FINALLY, you’re saying, she’s getting to the point!

Who doesn’t like a good pesto?

And my point is: Please, for the love of all things holy, ever buy the shirataki noodles from House Foods. Yes, I know that they are “Hungry-Girl Approved” and all that, but just….don’t. You’ll thank me for this, I promise.

I bought them thinking that, being made with yam flour, they would fit into my new Paleo diet. Plus, they were 0 calories. ZERO? There’s got to be a catch here, for sure. And yes there was, my friends. Yes, there was.

The instructions say to wash the noodles and then boil for 2-3 minutes to “eliminate the distinctive smell”. Okay, so I dump these bad boys into a colander to rinse, and all of a sudden my nostrils are assaulted with an ungodly odor. I swear if you went up to a New York construction worker on a July day, pulled his arm over his head and took a whiff of his armpit, it would smell like these noodles. I can’t make any promises, of course, and I don’t condone this action, but what I’m trying to tell you is that these noodles’ smell almost made me vomit.

I wish I hadn’t mixed the noodles in with the zucchini. It ruined the dish!

I admit, the smell vanished from the noodles after cooking, but the odor really never left my memory. Plus the noodles are slimy in texture, and I just can’t be doing that. It almost ruined the dish, to be honest, and I ended up throwing this batch out without finishing it.

Stick with the tried and true zucchini noodles, that kick some serious culinary butt. You just run the outside of a zucchini (or a courgette for my mates in the U.K. and Australia) through a mandoline on a julienne blade, and BAM! You’ve got pasta! They’re perfect just to pour hot sauce on, just as they are, or sauté them with a little oil and garlic just for two minutes to soften them up a bit.

Then coat them in this broccoli pesto and you’ll be in vegan, almost raw heaven. And a little halo will light up over your head because you’re not eating processed noodles and you’re digging all this veggie goodness on your plate.

You’re welcome.


One zucchini per person, per serving

Using the julienne blade of a mandoline, very carefully slice each side of the zucchini until you get to the seeds. Turn zucchini over and repeat on all three remaining sides.

Broccoli and Arugula Pesto
1 head broccoli, florets and sliced stems
6 tablespoons sliced toasted almonds
1/4 cup fresh arugula
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil—get this started before you start chopping the broccoli. Cook all broccoli until bright green and just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl and let cool slightly. Reserve the water, especially if you are going to cook regular pasta, but keep a bit to help toss with the pesto later.

Roughly chop 1 cup cooked florets and set aside for garnish. In a food processor or blender, puree remaining broccoli, almonds, arugula, garlic, and lemon juice. Add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.


Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add one clove of minced garlic per serving. Cook garlic for one minute before adding the zucchini. Toss over the heat for two minutes; add heaping spoonful of pesto for each serving and stir well, adding some of the reserved broccoli water to loosen the pesto. Top with halved heirloom cherry tomatoes and reserved broccoli and serve immediately!

And now, for the recipe.


17 Responses to “Triple-Green Zucchini Pasta With Broccoli-Arugula Pesto”

  1. girlinafoodfrenzy August 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Oh my! Big changes in the Tiny Kitchen Household indeed. I’m feeling it, you’re a roman on the edge but you somehow manage to turn it all around and find alternatives for what you need! Hubby must be happy that you can eat meat again (but if he’s anything like my guy) he’d be a little skeptical when the word zuchini noodle is passed around! Looks like a gorgeous dish, a definite crowd pleaser for vegans, vegetarians and healthful folk alike!

  2. eof737 August 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    It looks tasty and blends in nicely… I’ve had this dish at a restaurant and it wasn’t bad at all. Great photos you shot too. 😉

  3. Somer August 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    Oh man, I would hate to be in your dilemma, I don’t think I could live without beans, legumes and soy. More power to you for creating this beautiful dish! And for finding and organic farmer for a trusted meat source.

    • tinykitchenstories August 16, 2012 at 6:35 am #

      Thank you! And it’s killing me when I think of Indian lentil dishes–my absolute favorite. But then I just have to remember I can still get curry flavor on a ton of veggies. And I might cheat once in a while…it’s not going to *kill* me!
      And I’m so glad to have found Da-Le Ranch. I feel much better about eating meat–it was a real dilemma for me.

      • Somer August 21, 2012 at 9:18 am #

        Ah yes, we made panang eggplant and okra this week. There are all sorts of ways to curry the heck out of veggies! And you’re right, a legume now and then won’t kill you 😉

        • tinykitchenstories August 21, 2012 at 11:13 am #

          That panang eggplant sounded divine! The Husband is not a fan of eggplant, so I’m rationed. But I’ll get my spices out and curry the heck out of some veggies, for sure! 🙂

          • Somer August 21, 2012 at 11:14 am #

            Oh, that is sad. DO IT!

  4. An Unrefined Vegan August 16, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    Wow, Jennifer! Just echoing everyone else here, but, no legumes? Oh my. Okay, not going to dwell on that cuz undoubtedly it’s challenge enough without me wailing about it. When we switched to plant-based and low oil I had panic attacks all of the time wondering how on earth I was going to be able to produce a decent meal (or dessert for that matter) – but it turned out that there is still lots of room for creativity and very delicious food. Anyway…support and love to you.

    • tinykitchenstories August 16, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      Seriously, my last meal would entail tarka dhal, so it’s a huge loss for me. But I’m doing a 30-day no alcohol, no sugar, no grains to do a complete “restart” and hopefully I’ll be able to sneak in a few lentils here and there!
      And you are so creative, always an inspiration! Thank you for the support and love—soaking it up!

  5. Talon Sims August 16, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    This dish looks and sounds great! Sorry to hear about your ‘goodies’ being limited, just makes ya get that much more creative, if that is even possible since you rock it so well now!!! You are so talented, we know you will find a way to add all the flare you need to make your dishes as yummy as always! This is a good example! Arugula is the Goddess of the greens for us here, and I can’t wait to make your pesto YUMMY! Your commitment, (and ‘Hubbies’) to caring so much about the environment and the beasties is a beautiful thing! I am glad there are some farmers and ranchers that care like we do, and provide us with what we need, the animals and the planet too! : )

    • tinykitchenstories August 16, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Yes, De-La Ranch is a godsend! And I hope you enjoy the pesto–we’ve still got a little left. Yay!
      Can’t wait to share more recipes, and so far it hasn’t been tough. Still pining for some lentils, though…

  6. lucylox August 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    OMG those noodles sound scary! I’d go for your courgette version instead, any day!

    • tinykitchenstories August 17, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      Yes, please don’t try the yam noodles. *shiver* The courgette ones are DELISH!

  7. emmycooks August 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    I love triple-green anything! It sounds like a challenge to modify your diet, but hopefully you’ll end up feeling great!

    • tinykitchenstories August 17, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      I’m already feeling great, so I’m very hopeful. I like a challenge, so here we go! Thanks for the support. 🙂

  8. violetsandcardamom August 28, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Looking forward to seeing the Paleo-inspired dishes you share! And I agree that those shirataki noodles do have quite the smell but after having made them a few times now, I find that the smell doesn’t bother me as much. 🙂

    • tinykitchenstories August 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Wow, thanks for that comment–nice to know but I’m really not sure I could go through that again. The texture wasn’t doing it for me either. I think I’ll stick with the zucchini! 🙂
      And I’m looking forward to coming up with some good paleo recipes–just need this heat to calm down a bit!

Does it make you hungry, baby?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: