Feeling like summer has zoomed on by much too quickly, I’ve been attempting to make the most of the summer produce before it all disappears. For some inexplicable reason, I’ve only now getting around to the fresh basil.
To use up the whole bunch of basil in one go, I made pesto. Oil-free pesto. I’ve been reading about Andrea’s adventures in oil-free cooking over at her blog, cookeasyvegan and that got me thinking maybe I should try my own experiments in cooking with no oil. I’ve made pesto before but the amount of oil involved always made me cringed a little.
Pesto turns out to be the ideal first thing to try oil-free. Avocado makes up for the missing fat and calories from the usual oil and provides a very smooth and creamy texture. To serve this ultra-healthy pesto sauce, a tri-color vegetable “pasta” – ribbons of king trumpet mushrooms, zucchini, and carrot. Keeping with the no oil theme, I sautéed the mushrooms in a tiny bit of water and added the zucchini and carrot at the very end so they’re barely cooked.
While I’m happy to never add oil to my pesto ever again, I’m not quite convinced on the sautéing with no oil part. Coming from the culture that invented stir-frying, it just doesn’t seem the same without the oil. But maybe reducing the amount of oil to the barest minimum for sautéing is the way to go…
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 medium avocado
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Mash the avocado in a bowl then place in a food processor along with the garlic and lemon juice, process until smooth. Add the basil, salt and nutritional yeast and process to smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides. It might take awhile so keep at it. If necessary, add a bit of water to thin out to desired consistency.
Tri-color Vegetable “Pasta” with Avocado Pesto
Serves 2 as part of a meal
4 large King Oyster mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
1 medium carrot
Cooking oil (optional)
Fresh basil for garnish
Nutritional yeast (optional)
Make the avocado pesto sauce and set aside. Wash and slice the mushrooms thinly into long, flat noodles. Using a Y peeler, peel the zucchini and carrot into long ribbons.
Heat a sauté pan to hot, add a bit of water or oil and then the mushrooms, cook until just tender. If the pan appears too dry, add a small amount of water as needed. Add the zucchini and carrot, tossing to mix. Transfer to a bowl and add a tablespoon or two of pesto sauce. Gently toss to coat. To serve, garnish with the basil and sprinkle nutritional yeast on top if desired.