Shhhh … they aren’t really “noodles” … they just look sort of like noodles. They don’t really taste like noodles either, but I love the noodley look of this colorful vegetable medley. The Pesto Rosso (a.k.a, sundried tomato pesto) really complements the sauteed veggies too, especially when you add some crumbles of cheese on top.
It was getting very close to bedtime last night when I realized I was hungry. I didn’t want to have a big, heavy meal right before bed, but I didn’t want my stomach waking me up in the middle of night either. So I decided at the last moment to cook up something light and healthy but filling enough to tide me over till morning. I’ve been toying with the idea of using zucchini and summer squash as noodles with sauce over top, but when I went to make it, I thought “why just zucchini? why not toss some other vegetables too?” … and so I did.
For me, this was a late night snack, but I could envision these lovelies as a beautiful bed for meat, fish or chicken. Can you imagine how appetizing that would look? Or you could eat them as is for a wonderfully healthy vegetarian dinner. If you want a heartier meal, toss them with some whole grain fettucine or linguine. The wonderful thing about eating vegetables for dinner is you can pretty much eat as many as you want without guilt or worry.
Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”
This makes about enough for 1 hearty plateful or two side servings. Multiply if you have more mouths to feed!
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 – 1/2 of a small sweet onion
- 1/3 of a large bell pepper (I used a yellow one)
- 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini (yielding a heaping cup or so of zucchini “noodles”)
- 1 roma tomato
- About 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I used Basil and Terragon)
- A splash of wine (or water)
- About 1 Tablespoon Pesto Rosso (Sundried Tomato Pesto … recipe here)
- About 1/2 Tablespoon white wine (or water)
- To top: crumbled feta or queso fresco — or thin “shards” of freshly cut Parmesan & a cherry tomato or sprig of fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
- Peel and chop the garlic finely and, in a small bowl, mix it with the olive oil. Set aside to allow the garlic to infuse into the oil while you chop up the vegies.
- Slice the vegies into thin noodle shapes. For the onion, slice it vertically and very thin. The zucchini: slice it in half, then slice each half into very thin slices. Cut the slices into noodle-sized strips. The tomato: cut it vertically, then slice like you did the zucchini. The bell pepper: just cut it into very thin strips.
- Now heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic with olive oil, onion and bell pepper and sautee until the onion is soft. Then add the zucchini and tomato and sautee until the zucchini “noodles” are tender. If the pan gets dry while you are cooking, add a splash of white wine (or water) to keep the vegies moist and tender and make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
- Mix the pesto rosso with a bit of white wine (or water) to thin it out, then toss it with the vegies.
- Top with crumbled cheese or shards of parmesan, garnish with a cherry tomato and/or fresh herbs and serve immediately.
This is one of those salads that came to me in the middle of the night. I was trying to think of something different to do with cucumbers beyond the regular cucumber salads … hadn’t come up with anything, but then about 3 a.m., I woke up and thought “Pesto! Pesto would be awesome on cucumbers!” So yeah, I guess I never stop thinking about food, even when I’m sleeping.
I have a bunch of English cucumbers my mom gave me from her garden. They are the BEST cucumbers, so crunchy and sweet, tiny little seeds that are never too big, and no sharp bitter taste at all. She had brought in a box of them and said to me “this is today’s pick … tomorrow we will have another bunch like this. So you may as well take them all.”
I found a bit of buttermilk in my fridge and thought I should use that up, so I mixed it with the pesto along with some yogurt to make the dressing. Together they made this lovely creamy blend that made me smile. I had actually intended to put some chickpeas in this salad as well, but I completely forgot about them until the salad was gone. Oh well, the chickpeas will go into something else!
Cucumber Pesto Buttermilk Salad
with Tomato, Feta Cheese and Pinons
- 2 cups chopped English cucumber (or other fresh garden cucumber … )
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, or chopped fresh tomato
- Feta cheese crumbles
- Pinons, toasted
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (if desired)
- 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons pesto (my recipe is here)
Chop up the cucumber and toss them in a bowl with the tomatoes, saving a few tomatoes for garnish on top of the salad. Mix up the buttermilk, yogurt and pesto till smooth and then toss the cucumber/tomato mixture with enough dressing to just coat the vegies. Top with feta cheese crumbles, pinons, the reserved tomatoes and fresh basil leaves and serve.
This was the salad I had in mind when I created the sundried tomato ranch dressing. A super simple, very tomato salad bursting that really focuses on the tomato. I forgot to put the feta cheese on BEFORE I took the pictures … ooops! But don’t forget to add the feta. The tangy salty feta is so good with the juicy tomatoes and ranch.
Triple Tomato Ranch Pasta Salad
You could add other fresh vegies to this salad as well … this recipe made enough for two meals for me, but I’m not a big eater.
- 1 cup dry cellentani pasta (rotini, bowtie, or penne would work well for this too)
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onions
- 2 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
- Mixed greens
- 1/4 cup sundried tomato ranch dressing (recipe here)
- Several sundried tomatoes, chopped into bits
- Feta cheese crumbles
- Leftover grilled meat (optional … I tossed in some of my Spiedies) … or try some cooked chickpeas (or other beans) instead and maybe some sunflower seeds?
- For garnish: Green onion, snipped
First, make the dressing and set it aside while you create the salad.
Cook the pasta in boiling water till done, then drain. In a bowl, mix together the pasta, sweet onions, tomatoes and ranch dressing.
Cover your salad plate (or bowl) with a layer of mixed greens, then add a healthy bunch of the pasta salad mixture. Top with the chopped sundried tomatoes, chunks of meat, feta cheese crumbles and snipped green onions.
Enjoy! (I did take ONE photo after I added the feta … I had already started in on devouring the salad by then though …)
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I was scrounging for lunch again yesterday … my body was so hungry for something good, delicious, healthy. My organic salad greens in the fridge were almost gone. There wasn’t much to be had in the fridge except some cut fruit and a bit of cheese.
But I ALWAYS have plenty of food in the freezer. AND I have a yard full of edibles! I went out and collected some wild violet and dandelion leaves, a bit of fresh basil, some Johnny Jump Ups (as my mom calls them … they are also known as Violas), cooked up a frozen chicken patty, toasted some pecans from the freezer and voila! I had a beautiful salad definitely worth jumping up for.
Jump Up Chicken Orange Salad with Feta and Pecans
- Greens (I used wild violet and dandelion greens)
- Cooked chicken, cut into chunks (I used a breaded chicken patty, but grilled chicken or even rotisserie chicken would work too)
- Orange, peeled and cut into small chunks
- Toasted pecans
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Viola flowers (Johnny Jump Ups … preferably from a source that isn’t sprayed with herbicides or pesticides)
- Fresh basil leaves
Fill your bowl most of the way with greens. Tuck in the chicken, orange pieces, sprinkle with pecans and feta. Add the flowers and the basil and drizzle with a pleasing vinaigrette. I used my Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette, but I think the Tequila Lime Vinaigrette would be lovely on this salad too … I need to make some more of that beautiful dressing.
on Wild Greens with a Honey Citrus Poppyseed Dressing
We made rainbow fruit kebabs for my daughter’s birthday party. Both of her parties, in fact (one for her school friends, one for her dance friends). The second party was smaller, so now my fridge is filled with fruit. Fruit in literally all the colors of the rainbow.
That just screams for a salad, doesn’t it?
Now, you could arrange all these pretty fruits over the greens in the shape of a rainbow I suppose. I just wanted a sprinkle of fruit amongst my greens, though. And a crunchy nut flavor with some salty, creamy cheese. The best part of this salad, I think, was each time I encountered a new fruit, the taste was a little different. But the greens, the dressing, the cheese and the walnuts held it all together so it was a constant symphony of taste with changing fruit highlights. Sort of like different singers singing the same melody, or different instruments playing the same tune. It felt a little like listening to a really good orchestra playing a beautiful piece of music … like being at the Symphony.
Rainbow Symphony Fruit Salad on Wild Greens
with Toasted Walnuts & Feta Cheese
- Greens of your choice (I used dandelion greens.)
- Fresh blueberries
- Honeydew melon
- Chopped fresh pineapple
- Fresh orange, peeled and cut into chunks
- Fresh strawberries
- Toasted walnuts
- Feta cheese
Fill your salad bowl most of the way with greens. Tuck the fruits in amongst the greens, sprinkle with a few toasted walnuts and a bit of crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle with Honey Citrus Poppyseed Dressing.
Honey Citrus Poppyseed Dressing
Okay this isn’t really a NEW salad dressing recipe … it’s a salad dressing transformation. I wanted that honey lemon, but I also wanted a bit of creaminess, a bit more sweet citrus taste, and some poppyseeds, so I just added them. I think you could get away with using the Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette as is. Or you could go a different direction and just add some honey to the orange juice, yogurt and poppyseeds.
- 1 Tablespoon Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
- 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon poppyseeds
Mix all ingredients and drizzle over the salad.
Enjoy the symphony.
I’m guest blogging over at Nutri-Savvy today! Lauren challenged me to create a recipe with a set of unusual ingredients for her Mix it Up Mondays. The list included salmon, capers, tomatoes, kale, and feta … that sounded to me like it would make a perfect pizza!
And it did.
Pop over to Nutri-Savvy for the recipe.
This recipe was shared at Mealtime Mondays.
I am guest posting at Full Belly Sisters today! Justine is one of my favorite facebook foodie friends and when she asked me to share a fish dish, I immediately thought of this one. I’ve been meaning to blog it forever because it’s one of those dishes I have made over and over again over the years …
So head over to Full Belly Sisters for the recipe! I think you’re going to love it …