NOTE TO OTHER RECIPE AUTHORS: I have read at least a dozen different recipes for this dish. And I am SURE mine resembles at least 3 of them. I have done a little tweaking here and there, but I just want to let you all know that I am not trying to steal anyone’s work or plagiarize, and if you find it too close to your own and want me to credit you and link to you, I am MORE than happy to do so, just hit me up with an ounce of good natured “couldjya” and I will be happy to comply. No need for waded up panties.
Layer (in any manner you desire) the following:
Thinly sliced zucchini
Sundried Tomato “Marinara”
Yellow Tomatoes (optional)
Baby Spinach (Also optional)
I’m gonna assume you can work out the “thinly sliced zucchini” bit on your own. Here are my basic recipes for the other three ingredients:
Truth be told I don’t measure (that would be why my book Lonestar Salad is NOT a cook book) but I will try to guesstimate amounts for you. If anything seems off, it is easily fixed by adding MORE of something else.
2 cups raw walnuts (Or however much you want/need–I like to make up extra so I can sprinkle on salad and eat with a spoon…you know, like you do.)
Large handful basil (how much really depends on how intensely flavored you want your pesto)
Medium-small handful oregano (this stuff is so potent and I’m not a huge fan)
2 Tbl spoons Nutritional yeast (this is optional but it gives it that parmesany flavor)
OR you could use pre made vegan parmesan–I have done both
Drizzle of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil (or whatever you have-let’s face it, sometimes I know some of you crazy people will be trying to use your olive oil PAM spray when the cupboard is bare)
Salt to taste (I like a LOT)
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until uniform–I typically taste it frequently and add bits as I go–starting with the walnuts and then the basil, then oregano, then olive oil, nutch, and the salt last.
CASHEW CREAMY GARLIC “CHEEZE”
2 cups RAW cashews, soaked in just enough water to cover them
2 cloves garlic
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
salt to taste
Soak cashews for 10 minutes or so (I have made this without soaking and it was fine, just not as smooth and creamy).
Drain off about a third of the liquid
Blend cashews, water, and remaining ingredients until creamy and smooth. Taste and salt as desired.
This will get VERY garlicky after sitting, so be warned.
SUN DRIED TOMATO “MARINARA”
2-3 packs of the sun dried tomatoes that come packed in a bag (not in oil)
If they are the extra hard dried out type then you will want to soak them in water. I try to buy the kind that comes kinda soft like a prune–or better yet, dehydrate my own tomatoes–that is the BEST.
Fresh tomatoes of choice (I like to use super sweet red or yellow cherry tomatoes, but anything will do–it cuts the bitterness of the sauce quite a lot)
Onion (maybe 1/4th of a whole onion)
Garlic (Small clove–since it is raw it goes a long way!)
Drizzle of EVOO
Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt almost exclusively)
1-2 dates OR 1-2 Tbl spoon of REAL Maple syrup (not Hungry Jack, OK?)
In a Vitamix (or maybe a really good food processor):
Chop up the onion and garlic and herbs (the amounts here are really a personal preference. I like more herbs and less onions, and keep my garlic minimum because I make a very garlicky cashew cheeze.)
Add the sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and herbs with enough water to make it the right consistency for a sauce–start with a little and work up to more. I keep it pretty thick at first so I can add olive oil to get it to the final level of creamy blendyness.
For some things I make it thicker and for some, thinner (like to eat on top of spiralized zucchini!! YUM!)
Salt is always last for me–I add, blend, taste, add, blend, taste, until I get it right. Usually it is WAY more salt than you would think is OK, but I am not too concerned about salt intake right now.
I know I am impossible as a helpful recipe sharer–so feel free to hit me up on Facebook or in the comments for further clarifications.