A couple of weekends ago marked the last hurrah at the local farmer's market. I walked away with as many fruits and veggies as I could cram into my re-usable tote bags with the forty dollars cash I had on me. On the drive to the supermarket to fill in the gaps and get anything else I needed, I reached into my last local batch of cherry tomatoes and started to munch. I savored the sweet, juicy, burst of flavor that I knew could simply never be matched by any store-bought variety. It was a bittersweet delight, to say the least.
When In Rome
I got to the store and grabbed all of my usual fruits and veggies, and went over to peak at the potted plants, in hopes that I could adopt an adorable new succulent, as I often do. A familiar aroma captured my immediate attention and delivered me to another place and time--they say that scent is the sense most closely tied to memory, and I believe it! In an instant I was back in Rome, seated outside a quaint, little Italian restaurant, marveling at the Spanish steps with my hubby, in newlywed bliss. My first meal abroad was most definitely going to be a classic angel hair pasta with fresh tomato basil sauce.
No succulents today; a bright, leafy green basil plant had won me over, instead.
I like to think of all of my living plants as my friends, even whispering sweet nothings to them from time to time. As silly as it sounds, I think it does a world of good for the both of us! I was determined to get my new plant home and whip up a super-fresh--raw-vegan-fresh--classic spaghetti sauce with my farmer's market heirloom tomatoes, and top it off with my last helping of cherry tomatoes.
Whether or not wheat noodles or gluten are good or bad for you is of little importance to me, because either way, I prefer freshly spiralized zoodles! Zucchini noodles are highly versatile because of their mild flavor, and can be topped with almost any kind of sauce or dressing--plus, they're fun to make! If you don't already have one, I highly recommend picking up a spiralizer!
Zucchini is low in calories and loaded with vitamin C, so enjoy it to your heart's content!
But What About The Parmesan?!
When I was transitioning to a whole food, plant-based diet, the toughest thing for me to give up was cheese. I had gotten so accustomed to eating veggie subs with provolone and topping literally every soup, stew, and pasta with parmesan. Enter: nutritional yeast, aka "nooch" in the vegan world--I like to think of it as the plant-eater's best kept secret, and weapon of mass nutrition!
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of yeast and is a fantastic source of complete protein and B-complex vitamins, including B12. Most people, vegan or not, don't get enough vitamin B12, and nutritional yeast is a great cholesterol-free food source. Nooch can be sprinkled on top of virtually anything; it comes in a plastic container similar to parmesan and has a mild, nutty, cheesy flavor that works well in many vegan dishes that would otherwise call for cheese. If there's one thing you can do for your health--cut the dairy--it's acidifying and causes inflammation, and we simply don't need the empty calories and unhealthy fats!
Raw Vegan Spaghetti With Savory Tomato Basil Sauce
If you're looking for a healthy dose of Italy, you're going to to love this gluten-free, totally raw version of spaghetti. Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, and garlic blend together to create a colorful and effortless twist on a classic tomato sauce, and "zoodles" make for a more nutritious and hydrating pasta...er, rawsta. Now that's amore!
Raw, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, refined-sugar-free, savory and classic
serves: 1 // time: 10 minutes
- 2-3 medium tomatoes
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 small and 1 large zucchini, skinned
- 12-15 sun-dried tomato pieces
- 1 date, pitted
- 1 clove garlic
- handful fresh basil
- handful spinach
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- handful cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Place tomatoes, celery, 1 skinned zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, pitted date, garlic, and fresh basil in a high-speed blender or small food processor and blend until smooth, thick consistency is achieved.
- Use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make zucchini noodles, or zoodles. Place spinach in bowl and put zoodles on top.
- Pour spaghetti sauce on top of zoodles and top with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, cherry or grape tomatoes, nutritional yeast, and a sprig of fresh basil. Grab a fork, and dig in!
- Try adding other veggies on top, like freshly diced bell peppers.
- For maximum benefit, try to get sun-dried tomatoes that are oil-free and sodium-free. Tomatoes should be the only ingredient!
- When your sauce is blended and you go to pour it on, it may look like a lot, but trust me, you can eat it all! This entire recipe only has 350-400 calories, which is the perfect light meal that should keep you feeling full but not sluggish and bloated.
Cherry On Top
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