Many people enjoy a traditional basil & pine nut pesto, but few are aware of the great variety of flavours that can be subsumed under the heading “pesto”. After all, it the word just means pounded, and one can pound/crush just about any food into a paste…. sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, rocket/arugula, all sorts of herbs, etc. This week’s pesto is based on a recipe I used to make years ago, from a book called Asian Noodles: Deliciously Simple Dishes To Twirl, Slurp, And Savor. That was a cooked dish, but to the best of my recollection (I don’t have the old recipe any more), the flavours are similar. Here the pesto is served over vegetable noodles, but it’s also delicious spread on raw crackers (or bread), or as a dip for vegetables.
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 bunch fresh coriander/ cilantro (roots and tough stems removed)
1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves only
1 large clove garlic
1 piece of ginger (slightly smaller than garlic clove)
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tsp tamari
2 Tbsp sesame oil
pinch of red chili flakes (optional)
Instructions: First place cashews in the blender or food processor and process until broken down. Add garlic, ginger, coriander and mint and process until combined. Add liquids (and optional chili) and process until combined, adjusting amounts to taste.
Your pesto will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week.
Asian pesto noodles with marinated vegetables (serves 4)
1 batch of Asian pesto (above)
12 baby marrows (courgette/zucchini) or 2 large marrows
Himalayan or Kalahari salt
vegetables: Use whatever you like, this is just a suggestion
1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
4 pieces of baby corn/mealies, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
2 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Instructions: For the vegetables, toss the chopped vegetables with tamari and sesame oil in a low dish. Dehydrate at 45 degrees C for about 1-2 hours to soften.
For the noodles, peel the marrows and then use either a spiralizer, a mandoline, or a food processor to slice them into noodles. If you don’t have any of those, you can use a peeler to make long strips, and then stack those and slice them into noodles. Toss with salt, put into a colander (strainer) and leave them for about an hour. Some of the water content will drain out of the noodles.
When you are ready to serve the dish, squeeze the noodles to release excess water. Toss the noodles with the pesto (about 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp per serving) to combine. Add the vegetables and toss to combine.
Add a small dollop of pesto on the top and voila…. dinner is served.
Cherry almond bars (makes 9)
These bars are yet another variation of Ani Phyo’s lemon bars (from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes). I have turned them into cranberry orange bars, chocolate orange bars and now cherry almond bars. The options are endless.
1 c raw almonds, soaked at least 4-6 hours
3/4 cup pitted dates (about 9)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of Himalayan or Kalahari salt
1 c shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried cherries
Instructions: Process almonds in food processor until ground. Add dates and process until combined. Add remaining ingredients (except cherries) and process until mixed. Add cherries last and pulse to mix in (you don’t want to grind them into paste).
Coat a square pan with a little coconut oil, or line it with plastic wrap. Press dough into the pan and let set in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.