Sunday, July 18, 2010

Watercress Pesto Dressed Zucchini Pasta and Veggies

I imagine someone is reading this is wondering how I can call this pesto when it doesn’t include any basil. Easy, pesto does not have to include basil. The pesto that most Americans are familiar with is Genovese pesto which is made with basil but the options are endless for pesto. The word pesto comes from the Italian word pestare which translates as to crush, pound or bruise. This is because pesto is typically made in mortar and ground into a paste with the pestle. Now you can make you pesto that way if you want to go old school. Many Italians will tell you the pesto tastes better made my hand. I do have a mortar and pestle and have made it by hand. Seriously, I could not tell the difference. I use my food processor it is easier. ;-)

When I made pesto I typically (though not today) make extra to have on hand. It is great on a sandwich (made with collards for bread of course), on pizza, in a baked potato, as a coating for tofu, stirred into salad dressing, added to soup just before serving. I think you get the idea. Pesto is not just for pasta anymore.

Here is what I made today for the mid-day meal with my parents:

Watercress Pesto Dressed Zucchini Pasta and Veggies
Serves 6

Pesto Ingredients:

1 bunch watercress, approximately 4 cups lightly packed well washed and spun dry
¾ cup walnuts
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
water enough to achieve the texture you want (the amount will depend on the juiciness of your lemon)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional if you want a cheesy undertone (add to taste)

Veggie Ingredients:

approximately 12 cups spiralized zucchini , it may have been more (4 big zucchini)
2 carrots, julienned
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 tomato, finely diced and drained of liquid so it doesn’t make your dish too wet


Combine the pesto ingredients in your food processor and blender and process until smooth. Add as much water as is necessary to get a thick but creamy consistency. The nutritional yeast is optional but 2 tablespoons is enough to add a little cheesy umami background but not enough to overwhelm the sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper, as or if desired. Refrigerate until needed.

Combine the veggies and toss to distribute evenly. Add the pesto and toss again. Serve cold.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories-  209.5
Calories From Fat (53%) - 111

Total Fat - 13.31g
Saturated Fat - 1.29g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 68.88mg
Potassium - 1180.57mg
Total Carbohydrates - 21.39g
Fiber - 7.94g
Sugar - 6.75g
Protein - 8.57g


This dish is somewhat mild intentionally because my parents were coming for dinner. Since they are definitely meat and potatoes people I know there is only so much intense veggie flavor I can push on them. However if you wanted to add a few kale leaves to the pesto I think that would be great and would add to the flavor as well as nutrition.

Everyone (vegans and omnis) enjoyed this dish today. I suppose you would say it was another success. Not on the same level as using salsa for salad dressing, but a success none the less. ;-)  Anytime they eat my food and don't reach for the salt shaker or olive oil I am quite happy.

Quick Question:

Laura just bought a Saladacco and is looking for tips on how to make it easier to use. Any of you that have that particular brand of spiralizer please let us know if there are any tips or tricks you have found using it. Thanks so much!

Unrelated notes:

Poor Dan has been sequestered in his home office most of the weekend. He has come out periodically to eat or get fresh juice but mostly he has had his nose to the grindstone all weekend. I really wish he would rest a little but I know letting things get further behind would stress him out more so I am trying to understand and not fuss. *sigh* You have no idea how hard this is for me.

With my hubby working I have had the weekend to myself. I have taken the time to do a few things around the house that I normally wouldn’t get to on the weekend. Hopefully that will make Monday more laidback so that I can watch a few things on the tube. I have a few health related DVDs I want to get to soon. Shocking, right?

I need get going for now. I will talk to you all again soon. Enjoy what is left of your weekend.


  1. I MUST get more zucchini. I have really been wanting zucchini pasta.... Thanks for the reminder. This looks so good.

  2. Heather,

    We are up to our eye balls in zucchini at the moment. But I am not complaining I really love using it in place of pasta.

    talk to you later,

  3. Zucchini pesto pasta, one of my favorites. I have three zucchini in my fridge just waiting to be turned into noodles ;)

  4. Carissa,

    Pesto and pasta is a classic combination. ;-) Since you have zucchini in the frig can't wait to see what you make with yours.


  5. I love the idea of watercress pesto...I'll have to try it soon. I'm sure it's delicious. That zucchini pasta looks so toothsome and satisfying. Looks like you're having a yummy weekend!

  6. Rose,

    I love any flavor pesto, but you know that by now. ;-) Watercress makes a great pesto because of its flavor and nutritional value. I forgot to mention but I added the pumpkin seeds for the zinc, since most of us are deficient.

    Today I have a really good recipe to post that I made last night. It is definitely a man friendly recipe but one you don't mind if they eat.

    I hope you have a good Monday,


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