Ever since I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I have tried very hard to only buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. This ensures that we are eating foods that taste the best and that haven't been shipped half-way around to world, wasting valuable resources. Every once in a while I will cave in, though, when I experience a moment of weakness at the imported organic tomato section. Yes, the tomatoes cost $6 per pound, but memories of how delicious my garden-grown heirloom tomatoes taste overpower my environmental guilt and I go for it. But no matter how perfectly ripe it looks and feels, and no matter how much dang money I spend on it, that mid-winter tomato never tastes good. I have done this enough times to be sure of it: tomatoes are not meant to be eaten in February.
But what about zucchini, I wondered? Yesterday there was an unexpected pile of organic zucchini squash in the produce section and as soon as I saw it I could almost taste what I was going to make with it: pasta! Now, I almost never purchase zucchini because I grow so much of it in the summer that the absence of it during the winter is a bit of a relief. But yesterday I just had to have it, grown in Peru or not. Throwing conscientious eating out the window, I snapped up a bag full, grabbed a bunch of fresh basil and hot-tailed it home to see if I could make what I was tasting in my imagination a reality.
To my surprise and delight, I did! First try, too, which is a rarity for me in pretty much anything I do. Sitting down to enjoy my bowl of freshly made pasta was so luxurious - especially for someone who hasn't been able to eat ANYTHING resembling noodles for almost two years (nope, not even the gluten-free ones, dang). My husband was pretty excited too - pasta without the after-pasta bloat? Make a double batch next time!
RAW ZUCCHINI PASTA WITH LEMONY GARLIC VINAIGRETTE
5 small straight green zucchini
1 small sweet red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup nicoise style olives, pitted and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 T fresh basil chopped, or 3 T dry basil
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1.) In a medium sized bowl, combine the olive oil and lemon juice and whisk until well combined. Stir in the minced garlic and set aside.
2.) Using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler, make "noodles" out of your zucchini. (I have a spiralizer but used my peeler this time - just peel and peel until your zucchini are turned into a big beautiful pile of skinny fettucini-like ribbons.) Add these zucchini noodles to your lemon juice vinaigrette along with the onions, olives, and basil.
3.) sprinkle on your salt and pepper and mix well until all the vegetables are well coated. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least a few hours to allow the flavors to marry.
4.) You could add more salt and pepper before serving depending on your flavor preferences. This would also taste great with the addition of some feta cheese, if you are lucky enough to be able to eat things like that! This recipe serves two people - the perfect guilt-free Valentine's Day treat so that you can indulge in dessert. 🙂