zucchini pasta with raw mushroom cream sauce and italian-spiced tempeh

Good morning all!

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Going strong after day 2 of the sugar-free challenge. No more pictures to show but my breakfast was the chia pudding I shared yesterday, lunch was leftovers from the recipe I’m going to share today and dinner was a leftover veggie burger with quinoa, arugula and a chipotle cashew sauce. Turns out as long as you do a little reading of labels and have fresh-fruit available, being sugar free isn’t so bad ;)

Today I am going to bring you a sugar-free dinner recipe! I know it’s not intuitively a problem area in terms of added sugar, but a lot of those store-bought sauces and spice mixes contain hidden added sugar, as do a lot of salad dressings and soups. So starting with a recipe that is completely homemade ensures you control every ingredient that goes into it, including being sure it’s completely free of sugar!

This recipe started with inspiration from Rebecca at Vegan Sparkle’s recipe for Cashew Cream of Mushroom Soup. The soup looked to die! But it’s not winter here like it is in Australia so I wasn’t looking for a warming bowl of soup and I was out of cashews. So I decided to create a raw creamy pasta sauce using mushrooms and raw sunflower seeds to make a more summer-friendly version! The sunflower seeds are packed with anti-inflammatories like vitamin E as well as magnesium and selenium, so the sauce is not only just tasty, but is also very heart healthy!

Since we’re in the middle of a heat wave here, I chose to go with raw zucchini noodles instead of pasta. This kept the dish nice and light and had the added bonus of providing lots of extra veggies!

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I had half a package of tempeh in the freezer so instead of opting for a completely raw meal I decided to add some simmered tempeh into the mix. Now soy gets a bad rep, but tempeh is a great form of soy to include in your diet. In addition to being a great source soy protein that is minimally processed, it is also fermented which means it’s got loads of healthy probiotics, which are gut-friendly bacteria! In addition to promoting good bacteria it also produces the enzyme phytase which helps the body absorb iron and rhizopus, a compound that actually fights bad bacteria. Not a bad little complete protein huh? I simmered it in Italian-inspired spices and flavours that I thought would pair nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms in the sauce. If you make nothing else from this recipe, make this tempeh, you won’t be disappointed!

This dinner was at once both hearty tasting from the mushroom sauce and tempeh, yet light from the zucchini noodles. The miso really adds complexity to the sauce so don’t skip it! Throw in some cherry tomatoes for colour and sweetness and you have yourself a delicious summer meal with absolutely no added sugar or sweeteners!

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Zucchini Pasta with Raw Mushroom Cream Sauce and Italian-Spiced Tempeh (Vegan, Gluten-free*, Sugar-Free and High Raw)

This sauce recipe makes more than you will need so save the rest to serve on cooked pasta or another grain, or halve it if you think your blender can handle the smaller quantity.

Serves 2.

  • 2 zucchini, cut into noodles. I discuss the method I use here, or use a spiralizer if you have one
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Raw Mushroom Cream Sauce

  • 1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds (I used seeds that had been sprouted and dried)
  • 2/3 cup dried mixed mushrooms, rehydrated
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water, can use more or less to desired consistency
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp white miso paste
  • large pinch of salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Italian-Spiced Tempeh

  • 4 oz. tempeh, cubed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or Bragg’s *ensure this is a gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil or another neutral, high smoke point oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary

First mix the marinade ingredients together and place the tempeh in the bowl to marinate. Stir occasionally to ensure all tempeh is soaking up the marinade. Set aside while you make the sauce and cut your zucchini.

Blend all the sauce ingredients together until smooth.

Cut your zucchini into noodles, halve cherry tomatoes and finely chop parsley if you haven’t done so already.

Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the tempeh and marinade. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 8 min.

To assemble, place zucchini noodles onto a plate. Add about 1/4 – 1/3 of the sauce, top that with half the tempeh and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle parsley on top and serve!

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Such a happy looking plate :)

Happy Friday everyone!

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31 thoughts on “zucchini pasta with raw mushroom cream sauce and italian-spiced tempeh

  1. I just made the tempeh! However, I cut it into thicker strips and cooked it on the grill! I also let it marinate in the fridge all day. It was awesome! Thanks for the great recipe. Even my meat eating husband liked it! :)

  2. Pingback: Vegan & Gluten-Free Kids…Compromises | Nanny Naturale's Yogi Care

  3. I’ve been disappointed by raw mushroom sauces before, but I would definitely give it another shot with your recipe. Sounds like just the right balance of rich, savory and flavorful! Besides, I love any excuse to break out the spiralizer and make zucchini noodles.

  4. That looks sooooo delicious! I had planned to do the same sugar-free challenge, but then life happened, and I decided to wait a week or so. (I know there’s never a perfect time, but traveling to an unexpected funeral is kind of a legit excuse, right?)

  5. Oh wow, I saw Vegan Sparkles’ recipe and thought that sounded AMAZING too…. it IS getting chilly over this side of the globe…. but I LOVE raw zuccinni pasta so much. Good on you for doing the sugar free challenge… I did 2 last year, Alex is such a sweet heart… the challenges made me realise how LITTLE sugar I actually eat these days. It wasn’t a huge challenge for me to cut it out completely which is a good sign I guess. I think the main thing is being aware of packaged.processed foods, as these are so sneaky when it comes to added sugar. The good thing is I make most of our food from scratch these days, so added sugar isn’t such an issue. AND there are always dates mmmmmmm ;)

    • I know what you mean- while it is a little challenging, I’m actually proud of how smoothly it’s gone. I am rediscovering how good things are without adding stevia or another sweetener. I’ve been forced to rely on dates and other fruits for sweetness and it’s been awesome! They are so good on their own and need no enhancement from sugar!

      and yes, dates are fan-freaking-tastic. Nature’s candy :)

  6. i love the mushroom sauce! and the cutely plated meal:)
    heat? wheres the heat.. we are still in 50s with rain and clouds.. just about touched 70 yesterday when the clouds parted.. back to cold and rain for the next 5 days.

    • Thank you Richa! I would kill for your weather. I’m a temperate weather kind of girl, not too hot and not too cold. Fall and spring are my favourites- I live for light cardigans, motorcycle boots and jeans. Lets do a weather swap shall we? ;)

    • Il me revient des souvenirs affreux … Qu’est-ce que je me faisais ch… à l&©qluo;ÃÂrcose !!!Très honnêtement si j’étais en âge scolaire à l’heure actuelle, je serais …. absente !!!!

  7. Oh my that mushrooms sauce, I would totally slather that on everything! What an amazing idea…..okay I know I am going to be totally obessesed with this sauce – I need to make it this weekend for sure!

    This week has been in the high 90’s, yesterday I literally spent 40 minutes in the garden and threw the towel in – it was miserable – ac is definitely a must this week !

    • Haha I hope you like it! P.S. if you sautee the garlic and add some onion and sautee that as well then add the sauce and heat it up its delicous too ;)

      I know what you mean. Even the act of driving to work was terrible. No AC in the car is bad news lol.

      Hope you are keeping cool and happy Friday!

  8. Delicious recipe Gabby! Your’re right, if you want to be suuuure of everything that’s in what you eat — you gotta make it yourself! I’ve definitely learned that being on the Body Ecology Diet!! This sauce sounds incredible! and your plating is so beautiful! love the splash of red with the tomatoes:) hehe have a great weekend!

    • Thanks so much my dear :) I learned that the hard way when I first went vegan and I’ve been relearning that as I move towards a more natural whole foods diet. Good thing we like to cook eh? ;)

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. Haha yeah yesterday was definitely not a soup day! OMG it was so miserably hot! This meal looks perfect though. Raw or mostly raw meals on scorching hot days are perfect. This looks perfect because it is raw and light and refreshing but has a rich creamy aspect too. Such a perfect combination! The Italian tempeh sounds so delicious!

    I hope that you are able to stay cool! It’s cooling down a few degrees today but we’ll see more relief over the weekend (thankfully since I have to work all weekend!). Hope that you are staying cool! :)

    Happy Friday Gabby!

    • Thanks! Ya it was perfect for a hot day :) It definitely satisfied my craving for something creamy. I enjoyed using sunflower seed too- mush cheaper ;) I’m so glad it’s not as bad out today! I’m especially gkad for your sake :)

      Happy Friday to you too!

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