Though I get on OK with cucumbers, courgettes have always creeped me out a bit. Maybe it's something about their furry skin or that they go mushy when cooked. With the exception of ratatouille, up until a week or so ago you'd have been hard pushed to find me voluntarily eating courgettes.
Saf last weekend has done weird things to my view on food, specifically to do with eating hated vegetables in raw form.
Kale (one of my top 5 most hated veg) was grotesquely disgusting when I first tried it a couple of years ago. It had been cooked up with a bit of oil, garlic and was apparently very nice according to the person I ate it with. Not so, my gag reflex went into overdrive.
This week I actually chose to go out and buy a bag of curly kale and try it raw in a smoothie. Having blended a handful up with a banana and some apple juice it actually was drinkable. Not the nicest thing I've ever tasted, but the banana did a good job of hiding the taste and it was very similar to the spinach smoothies I've been having recently. Spinach (in case you're wondering) is OK when raw, as it's more like a salad leaf than yucky cabbage. It's bearable in certain instances when cooked, such as in lasagne. Yesterday morning I blended a handful spinach, handful kale, 2 bananas and apple juice. Again it was OK - not amazingly tasty, but OK and more raw greens than I've possibly ever consumed in one go.
So anyway, back to the purpose of this post. Since last weekend I've made 3 'pasta' dishes from raw courgette. The first 2 used shop bought pesto, yesterday's (and that which is detailed / photographed here) with fresh pesto. It doesn't take an awful lot of prep and does taste good. It's better with some chopped up sundried tomatoes added, but we'd run out when I made this batch. I sometimes add other nuts and/or balsamic vinegar to pesto, but balsamic isn't strictly raw (the grapes are cooked during the process).
Ingredients (per person):
- 1 large courgette (or several small)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Extra vigin olive oil
- Pine Nuts
- Sundried Tomatoes
- Chopped garlic
- Sea Salt
You have 2 options - shave off slices then cut into noodles, or do long cuts along the length, so each slice comes off already in noodle form. If using the second method, I found through trial and error that cutting slices 90% of the way through leaves enough connecting tissue to hold it together whilst you slice. Otherwise it can get a little unmanageable.
When you've created your noodles, sprinkle with salt and set them aside in a bowl. I'm not a great fan of salt, but if you don't add it they won't soften and become pasta like.
Blend all other ingredients together in quantity of your choice, or chop the basil, olives, tomatoes and crush the nuts in a pestle & mortar.
Toss together with the courgette and serve.
It would go exceptionally well with some warm crusty bread, but all thoughts of such things must be banished! :O