Pasta, pasta, pasta…..that word means so many things to so many people. I venture to say that no single food has seen as many looks and styles. Just say the word “pasta” and watch people start salivating thinking of their own perfect pasta dish. A dish that goes back thousands of years and is still one of the most recognizable foods in the world. Although Italian pasta is the most famous, China is technically home to the first noodle. Since the, every culture has adopted their own traditional pasta dish using regional toppings and sauces. Italy can take credit for molding and shaping into long thin strands made from wheat.
Traditional Italian pasta is usually made by mixing and kneading durum wheat semolina flour, eggs, water and sometimes oil together, before shaping and adding to boiling water to cook until soft. The result is a tasty and wonderful dish for sure, but the combination of refined starch and fat (and the other heavy ingredients usually added to pasta dishes) can take a big toll on your waistline and your well-being. And in this day and age with gluten-intolerance so rampant, traditional pasta needed to be rescued by fresh ingredients that would add both flavor and health benefits Fermented Beet Pasta with Creamy Sage Mushroom Gravy. Vegetable pasta to the rescue.
Fresh vegetables make the best pasta. When I first heard about this, my first reaction was, why didn’t someone think of this sooner? You simply peel or spiralize firmer fresh vegetables like zucchini, turnips, beets, carrots, etc. and you have instant unprocessed, unrefined gluten-free, and super-healthy pasta. No cooking, no mixing and no kneading required. Aside from the obvious benefits, it’s delicious and versatile. You can use just about any solid vegetable and create whatever taste and look you want. You can even twirl it around your fork.
For this recipe I chose cucumber for the pasta. Cucumber is refreshing, neutral tasting enough to blend with other strong flavors, and had the firmness needed to shape into pasta. It’s also a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Cucumbers are now known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol—three lignans that research has shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as several forms of cancer including breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
Cucumbers contain anti-oxidants, are an anti-inflammatory, and are very high in Vitamin K.
Cucumbers have a high-water content (95%) making them perfect for keeping hydrated.
Cucumbers help control cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
I wanted to go green all the way so I made a delicious creamy kale sauce. Kale is a resilient green leaf, stunningly nutritious, and audacious in flavor. Once you’ve eaten it, you’ll know it. It’s the main ingredient but doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors. So easy to make. Blend and serve. And don’t be fooled by the color: this sauce is divine.
I topped my pasta dish with a mix of blanched almond meal, seasoning and nutritional yeast. This Parmesan “Cheese” looks and tastes like the dairy version although I think it’s even better. Great for adding flavor and sprucing up dishes like Italian Style Pizza with Quinoa Crust.
This stunningly green pasta dish is refreshing and delicious; a refined and healthy meal for the pasta lover in all of us. I hope you enjoy it.
This recipe is raw, dairy and gluten-free, and serves 2-4 persons.
Cucumber Pasta w/Creamy Kale Sauce & Parmesan “Cheese”
How your pasta looks depends on what you want and what tools you have handy. If you use a spiralizer, I suggest using either the fettuccine or larger pasta attachment. Use narrow English cucumbers so that the seeds and excess moisture will be removed through the center catch of the spiralizer cutting area. You can also use a potato/vegetable peeler to cut and shred the seeded and peeled cucumber into long thin strips.
- 1 – 2 medium-sized English cucumbers per person
- Peel the cucumbers.
- Use a spiralizer or whichever tool you choose to cut the cucumber into pasta.
- Add the pasta to a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Yields about 4 cups.
Creamy Kale Sauce:
- 3/4 cup unsalted cashews
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 packed cup of kale leaves (pressed gently into the measuring cup)
- 2 soft dates, pits and stems removed
- 2 garlic cloves or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 -1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (optional)
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
- Set dill aside to be added later.Yields about 1 cup.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 3 days.
- 1/2 cup blanched almond meal or almond meal or other nut meal of choice
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt to taste
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl.
- Stir with a fork until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Yields about 1/2 cup.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
- Add Creamy Kale Sauce to the bowls with the Cucumber Pasta.
- Toss until well mixed.
- You can serve it al dente style (firmer noodles with a bite) or allow the noodles to soften for 10 – 15 minutes, then serve.
- Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan “Cheese”.
- Serve and enjoy.