It’s zucchini season! This doctor’s garden is currently full of fresh summer staples like zucchini, basil, juicy tomatoes and kale. Every summer there is one particular crop that tends to grow more abundantly than the rest. Last year it was tomatoes; we had so many juicy bright tomatoes that we almost ran of out ideas of how to use them up. We canned salsa, made tomato sauces, and even gave them away as gifts to neighbours. While our tomatoes are still doing just fine, this year the humble zucchini has taken over as the queen of the crops in our little backyard farm.
Zucchinis are a quintessential summer food. This summer squash is abundant in our farmers markets, local grocers and gardens at this time of year when they’re at peak freshness. Prime zucchini season begins in June and peaks in late August, so make sure you stock up on this seasonal vegetable when it’s ripe. Vibrant health comes naturally we are in-tune with our external environment which is why it’s important to focus on local, in-season foods that help bring your body into harmony with the change in weather. Zucchini, especially when lightly cooked or raw, is considered a ‘cooling’ food in both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine, making it the perfect addition to your late summer meals.
This bright & fresh pesto zucchini noodle dish is one part healthy summer salad and one part comfort food. We eat this meal at least once a week in our house, partly to use up our zucchini bounty but mostly because it’s delicious, nutritious and wildly easy to make. The best part: almost all of the ingredients are plucked directly from our garden! Not a big gardener? Don’t worry, all of the produce used in this recipe can be sourced easily at your local farmer’s market.
Zucchini Noodles + Garden Pesto
This bright & fresh pesto zucchini noodle dish is one part healthy summer salad and one part comfort food. Zucchinis are abundant in Ontario at this time of the year and this recipe is a healthy and delicious way to incorporate more of this cooling summer squash into your diet.
- 4 medium zucchinis, spiralized (you can purchase this veg pre-spiralized at most grocery stores but if you're feeling crafty we use this handy little machine to make DIY noodles at home)
- 1 cup of kale, chopped
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbs nutritional yeast or parmesan
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbs pine nuts
- salt + pepper to taste
- Grilled shrimp + a few pats of organic goat cheese for serving (optional ... but highly recommended!)
You can purchase zucchini pre-spiralized from most super markets or make zucchini noodles yourself at home with a machine called a spiralizer (cheap & easy, available on amazon). 'Spiralize' your zucchini and place on a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil + salt and pepper to gently warm while you make the pesto. For the pesto: combine kale, basil, lemon (juice + zest), pine nuts, garlic and nutritional yeast in a food processor. Process for 1 minute then slowly add the olive oil until a smooth pesto forms. Toss the 'noodles' with the pesto a serve along side an organic protein like wild shrimp + a little organic goat or cashew cheese.