Basil Pesto Zucchini Noodles

 

Fresh basil pesto may be the best thing ever! The combination of peppery basil, pungent garlic, tart lemon juice, and a touch of sea salt combine for a flavor explosion in your mouth. Yes, it is that good!

The trick is to use the freshest ingredients. Fresh picked basil, homegrown garlic, real lemon juice, good quality sea salt, and toast your own sunflower seeds. Store bought toasted seeds will not deliver the same taste. They are usually cooked in poor oils and taste rancid from the get go. Traditional pesto usually calls for pine nuts but they are super expensive. Sunflower seeds are my go to seeds for pesto. They give it a nice nutty flavor and take only minutes to toast. This recipe is so easy.  Keep everything fresh and you'll be making it every day. Substitute parsley, cilantro, or spinach for a variety of flavors. In this recipe I used 2 cups of basil and 1 cup of spinach so I had extra basil for garnishing. The Basil flavor was still robust and delicious. 

Basil not only tastes amazing it packs a powerful punch when it comes to heath benefits. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and provides protection on a cellular level. It also contains tons of vitamin K which is essential to building strong bones and preventing heart disease. Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin K so grab some basil today and boost your health too!

Using fresh zucchini noodles keeps this dish light. I could have easily eaten the whole bowl myself but I shared with my daughter. When we finished we were both looking for more. So double or triple the recipe and share with those you love! Keep noodles and pesto separate until serving for best results. Both can be made up ahead of time and kept refrigerated until needed. 

If you don't have a spiralizer stop and order one now! You'll love it. I recommend the larger model that the veggies clamp in and you turn to spiralize. You can use almost any size zucchini and it can do so many other fruits and veggies. It's worth it and zucchini season has just begun. 

Enjoy!! Let me know how yours turns out. 

 

Basil Pesto Recipe:

* 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, toasted

Heat frying pan on medium heat, spread sunflower seeds in a single layer, cook about 3 minutes turning occasionally, cook until lightly browned, and remove from heat. Seeds burn quickly so don't leave unattended. Let cool a few minutes before using.

* 3 cups fresh basil leaves 

* 1 large or 3 small garlic cloves crushed

* 2 Tablespoons EEVO (extra-virgin olive oil) If you'd like to make it oil free omit the oil and add 2 tablespoons water in place of the oil.

* 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

*2 Tablespoons water

* 1/8-1/4 sea salt, start with 1/8 and taste and add more if needed

 

In the small bowl of food a processor place toasted sunflower seeds. Process about 30 seconds. Stop and add Basil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, and salt. Turn on processor and drizzle in olive oil and water while running. This only takes a few seconds. Don't over blend. Taste, add more salt or water if needed, pulse a few more times, and pour into a glass bowl. 

 

Refrigerate until ready to use. This should last at least 3-5 days in the fridge so double the recipe and use for veggie sandwiches or more Zucchini noodles.

 

Zucchini Noodles

I medium or 2-3 small zucchinis 

1 large ripe tomato, diced or 1 cup grape tomatoes

1 ripe avocado sliced

Extra basil leaves for extra flavor

Using smallest blade on spiralizer, spiralize zucchini and place in a big bowl. 

Top with tomato, avocado, and pesto. Keep pesto separate until ready to eat for best results. 

Makes about 6-8 cups. Great for two big servings or 4-6 side dishes.

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

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