Recently, one of the amazing photographers I follow on Instagram, posted an image of a few books that she gets inspired from while cooking vegetarian. It struck a chord with me.
For one, there are fewer of us eating a vegetable heavy diet and fewer still of non-meat eaters. Even I am guilty of the same. A lot of times, it is simply convenience. The thing is, meat is so easy to cook. They are pick up flavors easily and in a lot of cases, their own flavors are so bold that you need little else to do. When you get a good piece of fish or a lovely leg of lamb, the simplest and easiest of preparations suffices. It can be almost mindless.
Another reason, I used to give for eating far fewer vegetables than what I grew up with was the much reduced selection of them I have to contend with. Over the recent few years, when I have been consciously eating more veg, I realize that while it is indeed true that my choices now are limited in comparison to living in a tropical country, say, it is by no means limiting.
I commented on the photo saying that eating vegetarian feels simply like luxurious dining and honestly, I do believe that. When I decide to cook a vegetarian meal I find that I am lot more involved in the creative process. I take more time to think about the flavors and composition. Sometimes, an idea begins, germinates and gets cooked over several days. I will see something on the tele or in a magazine or increasingly online and that may not even be a vegetarian meal. But it set my subconscious in motion and it then comes up with a composed dish of sorts. One I am always excited to try and test. Every time.
It certainly is more rewarding to make vegetarian. The thought that goes into it, connects me more to the food and brings me closer. And, the fact that I have less to work with means I am more focused and more creative to make the most and present them in interesting and inspiring ways. One can test the depth of creativity in being a vegetarian. Of course, you can cook the same few dishes and love it but I am a restless eater and I really do not like eating the same meal twice in a month, much less twice in a week! LOL.
Anyway, that long prelude was to say that today's recipe is entirely vegetable based to be point of not using any grains or dairy. It is gluten free, vegan, wholesome and absolutely delicious!
You may have seen zucchini noodles pop up around the webosphere, especially, those that post gluten free recipes. Before my predicament with wheat, I hardly ever gave that a second thought. Now, I know I was being rather silly! To miss out on something so delicious is plain myopia. They are really awesome. A few out there call for it raw. I tasted it that way and it did not do much for me. But, quickly blanched? Now, that was something to write a post about! Light, chewy and flavorful. What more need I say?! Just this. Even you love traditional pasta and no reason to not live your life without it, make this vegetable one. You will love it, even if for nothing more than variety and writing a song about being adventurous... ;-)
Also, I realized I had let the Me(al) Times series of posts with recipes for solo eaters hibernate for far too long. It is time to revive and shake out the cobwebs. So, here we go!
To see more vegetarian recipes, click here.
This is very much a Summer dish. The zucchini is best eaten in the season and I would highly recommend getting local as much as you can. The earthiness of it is a wonderful addition to the flavor profile
I used a cheap peeler to get my 'spaghetti'. Really you don't need a fancy machine for it. You can even use a knife but it takes too long unless you are a ninja in knife skills.
1 zucchini, julienned
1/2 small yellow squash, diced
1 radish sliced thin
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 head of small broccoli
1 shallot, diced
1 cloved of garlic, minced
1/2 avocado, sliced
basil to garnish
1 tsp of lemon juice
salt, pepper and olive oil as needed
Bring a pot of water on medium heat and salt it lightly.
In a pan sauté the shallot and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the tomato and cook till water is released. Add the yellow squash and broccoli flowerlets and cook for a few minutes until soft but not mush.
Meanwhile, add the julienned zucchini to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Remove and place aside. You don't need to use an ice bath to stop it cooking if you remove in a minute. If you leave it longer then plunge into ice bath to stop cooking.
Toss the 'pasta' into the quick vegetable sauce and transfer into bowl.
Top with the avocado, squeeze of lemon juice, basil and a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately.