This menu idea came to mind when I was walking in the street the other day on my way back from the bank after having spent an hour waiting in line, somewhere between Avenida Paulista and the MASP Museum. I guess Brazilian bank bureaucracy gets my brain waves on a roll like that. I was in search of a good vegan menu idea and had been wanting to make zucchini noodles for a while. Especially since I bought a brand new gadget the other day: a julienne peeler.
It’s very quick to make and the sundried tomato pesto recipe comes from Sarah Britton’s inspiring, whole foods recipe blog, My New Roots, which I have recently discovered and literally not stopped screening since. I was making lunch for one, hoping to have leftovers for my little daily lunch Tupperware the next day, but I ended up sharing with the two men of the house who had no other plan for lunch except microwaved rice. It felt like the right thing to do… They gobbled it down and spread some of the leftover sundried tomato pesto on bread with cheese and oregano. Creative species they are!
Zucchini Noodles with Grilled Sesame Tofu and Sundried Tomato Pesto
Makes 2-3 servings
For the Zucchini Noodles
2 medium zucchinis
Salt, Pepper, to taste
Utensile: julienne peeler or mandoline
1 cup (200g) of dry Tofu, cubed
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of sesame seeds
1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
1/2 tsp of cumin
For the Sundried Tomato Pesto (adapted from My New Roots)
1/2 cup (75g) of dried tomatoes
1 cup (230ml) of warm water
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
1/2 cup (60g) of sunflower seeds
1 tsp of fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Soak the sundried tomatos in 1 cup of warm water for 30 minutes. Do not discard the water as it will be used for the pesto.
2. Make the zucchini noodles: Using a julienne peeler or a mandoline, slice the zucchinis into long, noodle-like strands (you can also use a regular vegetable peeler and make zucchini “tagliatelle”). Press the noodles between two sheets of paper towel to absorb excess water and set aside.
3. Grill the tofu: Slice the tofu into square cubes and saute in a skillet with the olive oil for 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Add the sesame oil, cumin, salt, pepper and sesame seeds and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
4. Make the sundried tomato pesto: blend all the ingredients together (except salt), including the water in which you soaked the sundried tomatos, in a blender on high for 2 minutes, until smooth, adding more olive oil if you find it too thick until it reaches your desired consistency. Add salt according to your taste (in my opinion, it did not need salt).
5. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook the zucchini noodles in 1 tbsp of olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the sundried tomato pesto and tofu and serve hot.