My head is spinning after a weekend away at a food conference and a late arrival home last night. Food is one of my favorite subjects, so I’m feeling inspired after discussions about nutrition, and the latest trends and innovations. Fellow food nerds, definitely check out The Food Lab next year, especially if you live in the NYC area.
I’m glad I went, and I’m glad to be home with my Cookie girl and my own bed. I slept in a dorm room this weekend, which was clean and very cozy. It brought back memories of sharing a room with my best friend freshman year (we definitely didn’t follow the rules), and my semester in France, where we learned to hang cheese outside the window to keep it cold.
Now I have a comfy queen-sized bed and a refrigerator, so I must be doing something right. Right?
Right. Today, I’m sharing a recipe from Heather Christo’s lovely new cookbook, Pure Delicious. Heather and her daughters were diagnosed with a long list of food allergies a couple of years ago, and their health has dramatically improved since they removed those foods from their diets. Heather offered to send me a copy, and after watching her talk about her experience in her heartfelt book trailer, I couldn’t wait to flip through the pages.
Heather is a trained chef and an avid entertainer, so her new cookbook is full of simple, elegant recipes that are free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish and cane sugar. I should note that it is not a meatless book. I think it’s magical when people find good health through their diet, and this book is a great resource for information about living with food sensitivities.
Her recipe for zucchini noodles with pesto and cherry tomatoes looked so fresh and bright that I just had to try it, and I really wish I had ingredients for another batch right now! It’s a simple summer meal that is bursting with flavor, and ready in under thirty minutes. Bam!
- ½ small yellow onion, roughly chopped*
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (arugula works, too)
- ½ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), toasted**
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, to taste (or lemon juice)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt, to taste
- 3 large zucchini
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (Heather served her tomatoes whole; I halved mine vertically)
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnishing
- To prepare the pesto: In a food processor, combine the onion (if using, see notes), garlic, basil, toasted pepitas, olive oil, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth and season with salt, to taste (I added about ½ teaspoon—if the mixture tastes overwhelmingly oniony, don't worry, it will mellow in a few minutes. I added another teaspoon of vinegar to help balance the flavors).
- To prepare the noodles: Spiralize the zucchini with a spiralizer (here's how), or turn the zucchini into noodles with a julienne peeler, or grate the zucchini the long way on a large box grater. Toss the zucchini with pesto until well coated, and season with salt (I added another ¼ teaspoon).
- Transfer the pesto noodles to a large platter and sprinkle with the cherry tomatoes. Tuck the fresh basil in to the corners to garnish.
*If you're sensitive to the flavor of raw onion, just skip it.
**To toast the pepitas, pour them into a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the seeds are fragrant and the pepitas are starting to make little popping noises, around 5 minutes.