By Author & Culinary Chef, Meredith Baird
Poor pasta has gotten a pretty bad rap lately as most of us are actively trying to avoid gluten or refined flours.
What happened to the simple weekday dinner of pasta with some sauce? If you’re seeking to be health conscious, you’ve probably been scouring the internet for alternatives, and not all gluten free alternatives are appealing. Too much rice flour and other refined gluten free flours are still heavy and not much healthier.
Fortunately, pasta is one of our favorite traditional dishes to give an alternative spin – literally – and summer is the perfect time to introduce the kitchen gadget we can’t live without. The spiral slicer.
For minimal investment you can make beautiful noodles out of almost any firm vegetable — zucchini, parsnips, celery root, beets and carrots all work great. These ingredients make the perfect base for adding any homemade pasta sauce, pesto, or even a grilled protein – and are a great way to eat more vegetables. Compromise isn’t even a consideration.
The best time to approach making pasta with vegetable noodles is seasonally.
Since we are here in the heart of summer, it is the perfect time to make beautiful zucchini noodles with fresh herb pesto or heirloom tomato sauce. Or, skip the sauce and just simply toss noodles with tomatoes, herbs, and a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. If you’re looking for something a little hardier, top your zucchini noodles off with something grilled.
For fall, think beet noodles with walnut pesto and roasted mushrooms. Celery root with toasted pumpkin seeds and sautéed kale. Winter, bean ragout with roasted root vegetables, or something creamier and heartier.
The options are endless…
To exercise my not noodle creativity, I’m very excited to have crafted two entrees in collaboration with Beaming.
Zucchini Pesto Pasta – Zucchini and Celery Root Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto, Shaved Carrot and Marinated Mushrooms.
This deeply savory and satisfying dish is perfect for spring, summer or fall. Pumpkin seed pesto is rich and flavorful without being too heavy for the summer months – we make it dairy free using miso and nutritional yeast for added health benefit. This dish makes a perfectly complete meal on its own.
Zucchini Tomato Pasta – Zucchini Noodles with Heirloom Tomato Marina, Olive Crumb and Cashew Mozzarella.
Utilizing all of the best ingredients of the season this dish is a spin on the BEAMING classic lasagna – all while being a bit lighter and refreshing. The heirloom tomato sauce has a slightly spicy kick with the addition of cayenne, the cashew mozzarella adds the perfect amount of decadent creaminess, and the olive crumb gives a salty crunch. This combination is seriously craveable!
And if you feel like getting creative at home…
This is one of my favorite recipes to spice it up for summer. It works well as a main course, or can be served as a side along with grill fare.
RECIPE! ZUCCHINI NOODLES with COCONUT ALMOND SATAY
The satay can be kept as a staple in the kitchen at all times. If you don’t serve this as a pasta dish, use the sauce as a dip or spread for crudités and sandwiches. Zucchini noodles work great, but I also like this recipe with carrot or parsnip noodles because of their heartier texture and lightly sweet flavor.
5–6 cups packed carrot ribbons, made using a spiral slicer
1 cup shredded cabbage
Pinch of sea salt
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup edamame (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced young coconut meat (optional)
Toss zucchini noodles with cabbage, sea salt and lime juice. Allow noodles to marinate for at least 10 minutes before serving. Combine with edamame and coconut meat.
COCONUT ALMOND SATAY
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup young coconut meat
1/4 cup water, or more as needed to blend
2 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari
1 teaspoon miso
1 tablespoon coconut nectar, maple syrup, or agave 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Pinch of cayenne
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)
1 teaspoon minced onion (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add water as needed. It is best to make the sauce at least 1 hour before serving so that the flavors can marinate.
Torn cilantro leaves
Torn mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)
Toss zucchini noodles, cabbage, coconut meat, and edamame with at least 3/4 of the sauce, depending on how much you prefer. Allow flavors to marinate a few minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro, mint leaves, and chopped almonds.
Makes 2–4 servings.
NEW! Summer Menu
Whether you’re lunching from home, the office or the beach, stop by one of our six cafes and try our new Summer Menu. Brimming with abundance, we collaborated with chef and author, Meredith Baird, to create game-changing Zucchini Pesto and Zucchini Tomato Pastas, plus the sensational Summer Lime Tart that you won’t want to put down.
About Meredith Baird
With a lifelong passion for a healthy lifestyle and love of plant-based cuisine, mama-to-be Meredith Baird has never been one to take the traditional route.
After graduating with French and Art History degrees she pursued her culinary passions to become a certified raw food chef and instructor.
Embracing the raw food movement gave her a unique set of skills and an understanding of the benefits of plant-based ingredients that stretches far beyond what is typical in most culinary schools.
She is the co-author of three books, Raw Chocolate, Everyday Raw Detox, Plant Food and her recent solo title – Coconut Kitchen.
Her current endeavor is Nucifera Body – a raw, plant-based line of beauty products centralized on the healing properties of the coconut and the belief that what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in it.
Meredith believes in living life beautifully by nourishing yourself with life-filled, health-giving foods. Her offerings are designed to inspire and let nature do most of the work.