Our vacation was pretty awesome. And pretty overdue. While road tripping from Toronto to Houston was fun, it definitely was not a vacation. Since tickets to Burning Man can be very hard to get, we planned this trip last winter. Rob has been a few times and only had positive things to say about it (other than the insidious playa dust). In my mind, I thought: Hey, Texas is pretty close to Nevada. We should go to Burning Man! True enough, Houston is closer to Nevada than Toronto is to Nevada, but Houston is still 2000 km from Reno. Not that close.
I plan to summarize Burning Man in next week’s posts, as I recoup and regroup this week. Suffice it to say, I thought it was hot while camping in Nevada’s desert. We boarded the plane from Reno and landed in Houston. A week away and I had already forgotten how HOT, HOT, HOT (and humid) it is in Houston. Since Rob turned off the air conditioner while we were gone, we were greeted with an empty fridge and a hot kitchen. Other than thawing some (delicious) freezer meals, I had little interest in cooking anything. Zucchini noodles to the rescue!
Zucchini noodles have been my go-to lunch this summer. Gabby warned me that Houston’s heat would lead me to more raw foods and she was right. My meals have become simpler. Zucchini noodles are simple enough and of course, are just a vector for the sauce. The end of summer is a prime time for juicy tomatoes, at least in Ontario. I have yet to find tasty tomatoes here in Houston, so I have resorted to cherry tomatoes, which, in general, have more flavour. A portion of the fresh tomatoes are pulsed with a red bell pepper and sun-dried tomatoes along with a bunch of fresh herbs (basil and oregano) and garlic. A dash of chile flakes give a bit of kick and a date balances it out with a bit of sweetness. I topped it with some hemp seeds, too. I actually used a lot more than what I photographed since I knew it wouldn’t be as photogenic. ;) I usually add the sauce and hemp seeds just before I eat the salad but I took photos of my partially packed lunch. Of course, this sauce will work equally well with your favourite spaghetti-type noodle.
What is your easy, no-cook go-to meal?
Raw Chunky Tomato Marinara Sauce with Zucchini Noodles
Adapted from Raw and Simple
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes (6)
1/4 cup fresh basil (20 g)
~1 tbsp fresh oregano (8 g)
1 small pitted date
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
3 cups chopped tomatoes, divided (I used cherry tomatoes)
4 large zucchini (4 lbs), spiralized (or your choice of cooked noodles)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1. In a high-speed blender, combine red bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, date, garlic, salt, chile flakes and 1/2 cup of the tomatoes. Process until smooth.
2. Place sauce into a food processor and add the remaining tomatoes. Pulse a few times until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped and incorporated.
3. When ready to serve, spiralize your zucchini. Chop any remaining zucchini into cubes. Top zucchini noodles with sauce, chopped zucchini and sprinkle with hemp seeds.