Hello beautiful spring vegetables ..asparagus, peas, avocados! …I’ve been waiting for you!
We are lucky here on the west coast, we have had a really mild winter. Usually Seattle gets a few snow days each winter, o.k. don’t hate me (all you East Coast peeps who are still up to your eyeball in snow)…but I love those days!. We get just enough snow to cover the ground and make it all beautiful, and maybe enough to make a snowman or two. But this year we only had one snow day and dang it, I was in CA and missed it!.
Then, around mid March…the cherry blossoms start to peak their cotton candy pink heads out to signal the arrival of Spring. Then the daffodils…the tulips…and all the glorious spring produce.
Everything turns green! And, green things start to come into season. Tall gleaming green stalks of asparagus, pods of sweet peas, fennel, leeks, ramps, kiwis, artichokes, green onion, fiddle head ferns (oh yum!) , nettles, mint etc., etc. All this glorious emerald greenness…Spring has arrived!
Have you made zucchini noodles before? I’m a bit hooked on them! Ever since I discovered how easy they are to make (you can see my first recipe for Zucchini Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta here). I initially made them with a Julienne peeler and then my friend gave me a spiralizer for Xmas. Both work great, and are super easy! I’m a bit partial to the spiralizer now though because it makes really long fabulous “noodles”. For the smaller zucchini (or extra-large ones that don’t fit as great in the spiralizer), I use the Julienne peeler.
The trick I found is to go for the medium size zucchini,they work the best! Just a couple of quick turns in the spiralizer…And Voilà! about 30 sec. later you have a perfect plate of noodles (or “zoodles” = zucchini + noodles)
I’ve been making them pretty much weekly. The beauty of zucchini noodles is that you can use them for SO many things. You can serve them raw or even give them a quick sauté in a little olive oil to cook them. Use them in place of traditional pasta noodles for a light or low cal option.
Today we are whipping up an avocado walnut pesto to serve over the noodles. This pesto is made with fresh avocado, basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon and olive oil ..no cheese (got you covered my Vegan friends! )
You’ll mix the pesto with the noodles so they all get coated with creamy avocado goodness. The veggies (asparagus and peas) get a quick blanch and then top the noodles. Add a little extra dimension of flavor with some chopped walnuts and crumbled feta (omit the feta if you’re keeping this Vegan).
Easy peasy!…you can have this quick healthy meal on the table in under 10 mins.
* Avocado Pesto inspired by Eating Well
- 2 medium zucchini
- ½ large bunch fresh basil (about ⅓- 1/2 cup chopped or 1.25 oz.)
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted and skin removed
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 cloves garlic (depending on your taste)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
- 6-8 stalks fresh asparagus
- 2 Tablespoons crumbled feta (omit if keeping this Vegan)
- chopped walnuts for topping (optional)
- Use a spiralizer or Julienne peeler to make zucchini noodles (according to device directions).
- Remove stems from basil. Add basil leaves, avocado, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil and continue to process (should form a thick paste). Add fresh ground pepper to taste.
- In a small saucepan, bring enough water to boil to cover vegetables. Add vegetable and cook for 1 minute. Drain and let vegetables cool to room temperature.
- Mix zucchini noodles with pesto until all noodles are coated. Top with peas, asparagus, crumbled feta and chopped walnuts.