September 14, 2010

Zucchini with Avocado Pesto

It may not come to you as a surprise to hear that I used to be a vegetarian. It wasn't as much as a conscious choice as it was just a natural progression of my lifestyle: I have always been very active and health-conscious, and essentially I just didn't feel well eating large amounts of meat. My vegetarian days lasted for a good few years, but when I moved to Sydney I felt it was easier for everyone that I included some meat in my diet. To this day I still eat vegetarian meals 90% of the time.

As much as my partner is unbelievably flexible when it comes to food (he eats pretty much anything I put in front of him), he does prefer his protein in the form of lean meat. Last time I made him a fully vegetarian dinner I mentioned it was because he had told me he was going to opt for one vegetarian day a week. He replied "Was I? I think it was your thought honey, not mine"... So admittedly there is still a bit of work to do in convincing him to give up meat ;-)

This pesto recipe is, in my mind, almost revolutionary. I love pesto, but often feel it can get a bit heavy with all the oil and the parmesan. Why I never thought to use avocado to achieve the creaminess, I don't know, but I'm glad I found this recipe, because I don't think I'll ever go back to the normal pesto again! This pesto is lovely with zucchini, but I see no reason why you couldn't have it with fish, chicken or pasta.

Zucchini with Avocado Pesto
(Recipe adapted from the 80/20 Diet by Teresa Cutter)

1/2 avocado, peeled and stoned
1 garlic clove, crushed
juice of one lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
small handful basil

small handful flat-leaf parsley

20g green, unsalted pumpkin seeds

40g natural almonds, chopped

1 tsp honey

pinch of sea salt

4 small zucchini

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 1 tbs balsamic vinegar

To make the pesto, put the avocado, garlic, lime and lemon juice, herbs, pumpkin seeds, almonds and honey in a food processor. Process until smooth, add 30ml water, and season well with freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Cut the zucchinis into thin strips (julienne) and place into a large bowl. Add the pesto and toss well. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes with the parsley and the balsamic, toss and spoon on top of the zucchini.