Tuesday, March 01, 2011

raw zucchini "linguine" and vegan sag paneer

Zucchini "Linguine" with Lemony Spinach Pesto
Surprise of the century [gasp!]: just because one is vegan does not necessarily mean one follows a healthy diet. Now, I've been dubbed the vegan hedonist, but recent health problems remind me that I should be eating more raw food [and consuming less coffee, alcohol and Vegan Treats goodies]. Like many of you, I'm just dipping my toes into the raw vegan waters. Learning to incorporate more living foods in your diet is a paradigm change, for sure. But when you taste thoughtfully prepared raw chow, your taste buds wake up, stretch and do little backflips of happiness. My new cookbook will include a chapter with a raw menu, including a recipe for Zucchini "Linguine" with Lemony Spinach Pesto. 

This is a gorgeous entree to serve – celadon and white curls of zucchini pasta punctuated with fire engine-red pepper flecks and topped with an intense green dollop of pesto. And it has substance as well as style: a slightly sweet-sour spinach sauce coating the freshest, healthiest pasta you've ever tasted. [Plus, you don't have to worry if it's al dente; raw pasta never gets overcooked.] Using a spiral slicer to make the pasta is your best bet. You can find them online or in most gourmet shops. But patient, skilled cooks can also hand-cut noodles from zucchini. It's best to drain the linguine for as long as possible, for at least 8 hours, to help the pesto coat it better.

Zucchini pasta, draining

spiral slicer is an indispensable tool for making raw pasta

Really looks like spaghetti, doesn't it?

Vegan Sag Paneer
Another tease from the upcoming cookbook.  Unfortunately, finding vegan sag paneer is a rarity here in US restaurants [even though I was able to score lots of paneer-less sag when I was in India]. I decided to create a vegan Sag Paneer recipe partly because I am a spinach-holic, and partly because I had been ordering take-out channa masala and daal a bit too frequently. My paneer is made from pressed, dry-fried tofu, which looks and tastes eerily similar to dairy-based paneer, but without all the saturated fat, hormones and cruelty. Be sure to use organic spinach. Spinach is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, according to the Environmental Working Group. [Download their free, pocket-sized list of the "Dirty Dozen" most polluted crops and get a free Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides iPhone app here.]

Dry-fried tofu looks and tastes eerily similar to dairy-based paneer.

Tofu paneer, waiting patiently for its spinach coating

Your kitchen will swell with fragrant aromas when you make this dish


Kari said...

I've been thinking recently about increasing my raw intake, and this looks great. Thanks for the inspiration.

julie hasson said...

That linguine looks fantastic Dynise!

I hope that you're feeling better. I've cleaned up my diet a bit lately as well, and I've noticed other bloggers doing the same. It seems to be in the air now.

Maria said...

Looks absolutely scrumptious! I need the tools, though, to make those noodles!

kellywhitephillips said...

This all looks really delicious. I love the Tofu Saag Paneer from the new Skinny Bitch book, but you're right, it's so hard to find anywhere that you just have to make it yourself!

Thanks for doing a raw chapter in the new book. I love exploring raw food methods and it does make me feel so much cleaner and energized.

It has been fun to see little peeks of the upcoming recipes here and there.

Little Miss Cupcakes said...

That pasta looks to die for.... yummmmmmmmy Cant wait to check out the recipe when your next cookbook comes out.
Eating raw just means more room for tasty vegan deserts... like cupcakes

T said...

My friend recently made me a vegan indian feast, and I was also shocked at how much tofu can take on the texture and taste of paneer, done right. Looking so forward to your new cookbook!

Erica said...

i just did a week of raw food two weeks ago, my body was SCREAMING for a break from carbs. i have to keep the raw stints to a minimum, though, as long stretches of time spent raw or high-raw makes my hair fall out :(

Sarah said...

I love this post because I've been toying with the raw food thing for some time now. I go from being 80% raw vegan on my good days, back down to...well...less raw on my not-so-good days! I need some inspiration and more yummy raw recipes like this one to motivate me so thank you!!

vko said...

Am totally onboard with the eating healthier/raw thing....am eating way too much processed stuff...hope you are feeling better! xoxxx

lori said...

This looks so yummy! Where can I find the recipe for the tofu saag paneer?

Hannah said...

This looks delicious! I'm not vegan, but I sure love veggies and I'm not afraid to eat them by themselves. :-) I'll have to try this sometime!

Get Skinny, Go Vegan. said...

Don't you love the Zucchini Linguine?? Can't wait until the summer when they are super cheap. I also adore Kelp noodles, but Zucchini has edible packaging!! And the Saag is awesome. Have you ever made "Raw" saag? It's pretty good too.

Omen shara said...
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