My current obsession with raw zucchini dates back to that weekend that Paul and I didn't go to Palm Springs. I was rallying, remember? That Sunday afternoon, with the resilient two-year-old having completely recovered from the gungarunga, we took our children to the most kid-friendly bar in town, Golden Road Brewing. There, between witnessing a spontaneous toddler dance party spring up on the huge patio, watching enormous (and louder than my youngest child!) trains barrel by, sipping a beer, admiring the hats on hip dads patiently escorting fledgling walkers up and down the ramp out front while stylish moms sat in the shade, and marveling at how well-behaved our children were as they enjoyed their vegan kid's meals, Paul and I shared a young coconut noodle salad in a spicy creamy coconut milk dressing. It was just excellent - the perfect thing to eat with a beer on a patio in the summer. We rallied.
And then I went home and experimented with the only thing I could find in my fridge that would pass for a raw noodle - zucchini.
I got out my mandoline, and made some long shreds and tossed them with sea salt to soften them up and season them before squeezing out quite a bit of their juice. This gave them a wonderful, slurpy, noodly texture.
Then, inspired by our superb lunch, I tossed them into a salad with shredded napa cabbage and carrots and a creamy south east asian-ish dressing. Felix, eschewing everything else in his bowl, and holding a dangling zucchini noodle between his fingers declared, "My don't like salad. My just like noodles." before slurping it down.
Following that success, there were a gazillion more iterations with all sorts of different combinations of flavors. There were thin spicy noodles and thicker noodles tossed with pesto. We ate razor-thin ribbons with red onion and lime juice and cumin. Olives and capers and walnuts and maybe sun-dried tomatoes (?) were involved in an overcomplicated dish that I didn't write down.
Paul and I finally did make it to Palm Springs, by the way, for a belated birthday weekend where the raw lasagna with layers of zucchini noodles was the highlight of our otherwise cooked meal at Palm Greens.
Several of the zucchini I had bought for shredding with the vegetable peeler into wide noodles got waylaid into a bundt cake for preschool graduation. (Desmond's headed to kindergarten in a couple months!)
And then when school and Paul's last job ended on the same day, we took our perhaps annual summer road trip and got to run around with the cousins in Sacramento, where my radical sister-in-law made us raw spaghetti with curly zucchini noodles and a chunky tomato sauce.
I have my eye on this excellent looking recipe for raw lasagna, ooh and look at these rolls (!), but for now I'm keeping it super simple. Though I should tell you - now that I have this recipe precisely to my taste, the kids will no longer eat it - too much garlic, too much parsley. For the dudes, I'm going to try just tossing the vegetable noodles with a little lemon juice and a lot of walnut parm (scroll down for recipe and then commit to memory - it's a vegan game changer - I always keep it in the fridge, put it on everything, and like it better than my old almond meal-based version). But I also think it's possible that they've simply OD'd on the raw summer squash. More for me.
Raw Zucchini Noodles
makes: 2 light meal servings
takes: about 25 minutes (15 active)
- 3 smallish zucchini (about a pound)
- large pinch sea salt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped italian parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or walnut parm
- 1 avocado, diced (optional, but always nice)
Shred the zucchini into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandoline or heck, a spiral slicer if you have one. In a colander, toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and set aside for 10 minutes or so (this morning 10 minutes turned into 4 hours - that’s fine too). You don’t need to rinse the zucchini, but gently squeeze out some of the liquid. In a large bowl, season the zucchini, parsley, and garlic with the lemon and olive oil and toss well. Taste for salt and pepper. Gently fold in the walnuts and avocado and enjoy!