May 04, 2011

Kelp noodles with broccoli pesto

You may have noticed that every now and then I stumble across a new (to me) ingredient that I like to experiment with. Finding these new ingredients is usually a result of browsing the web or the shelves of the health food stores and I really can't think of anything more exciting than creating a recipe around the newly found ingredient.

I found a packet of kelp noodles during my recent trip to one of my favourite health food shops in Sydney. 
I had heard of these gluten-free, 'raw' noodles before and was very intrigued to try them. The hefty price tag of nearly ten Australian dollars for a 340g packet means this will not be a frequent treat, but I found the noodles very tasty, wonderfully crispy in texture and most definitely a healthier alternative to most instant or packet noodles out there. 

I served the noodles with a broccoli pesto which is another favourite of mine. I really love the versatility of pesto - you can use pretty much any greens you have, combine them with any seeds or nuts, spices, dried or fresh herbs and some good quality oil - and hey presto, you have pesto! Broccoli, when in season, is a superb alternative to leafy greens and of course its also packed with nutrients!

Soaked sunflower seeds is a delicious, inexpensive alternative to pine nuts in a pesto. Soaking the seeds for a couple of hours is definitely worth the extra time and little effort as the soft seeds result in much nicer, smooth texture. You could easily alternate this recipe to your liking - try adding ground paprika or cumin, fresh herbs like coriander (cilantro), basil or even mint. Or use different oils like sesame oil, walnut oil or pumpkin seed oil. The choices are endless!

Kelp noodles with broccoli pesto*

300g broccoli, steamed or cooked in boiling water until soft
100g sunflower seeds, soaked for 2 hours
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

340g kelp noodles, rinsed

cashew nuts, toasted, for serving

* this will make more pesto than needed for this dish. You can use the remaining pesto with chicken, fish or pasta, for instance. 

1. Drain the soaked sunflower seeds and discard the water.

2. Place the cooked broccoli, sunflower seeds, parsley, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest and juice in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper and add some water to thin the mixture. Blitz until smooth adding water if necessary to achieve a desired consistency.

3. To serve, place the rinsed noodles in a large bowl. Add a scoop of pesto and mix evenly through the noodles. Serve with the cashew nuts.