I think it’s hard for some folks (me) that are transitioning over to a Paleo-style or grain-free diet to really embrace spiralized veggies. There are ways to amplify them (here or here) but for the quick and dirty applications, they can be a bit lack-luster.
I’ve been working on ways to love raw zoodles despite their tendency to get a bit soggy. I’ve found that the secret is in the sauce.
You can pair pesto with anything and suddenly that food is amazing, right?
I’ve kicked up my normal pesto variation with fresh, peppery arugula. It somehow makes an already perfect sauce even better. Add some blistered tomatoes (gently brown the skin until they’re soft and sweet inside) and shrimp sautéed in all those blistered tomato juices…and yeah, I can embrace zoodles!
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Arugula Pesto Pasta with Shrimp & Blistered Tomatoes
Yields: 2 servings
For the Arugula Pesto Sauce:
1 ½ c. arugula
1 c. fresh basil leaves
½ c. pine nuts, lightly toasted
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
For the pasta:
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
½ lb. raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
Avocado oil or other high-heat cooking oil, for sautéing
Prepare the Arugula Pesto by combining all the sauce ingredients in the bowl of a large food processor. Process until the mix is fairly smooth and thick, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Set the sauce aside to let the flavors meld for about 15 minutes.
While the pesto is resting, add the cherry tomatoes, about 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, and a large pinch of sea salt to a wide sauté pan. Cook over low heat until the tomatoes have softened and turned a golden brown color on the outside (this is called blistering). Carefully remove the tomatoes from the pan and turn the heat to medium high.
Season the shrimp generously with sea salt and black pepper and add them to the hot pan. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of avocado oil to the pan to keep the tomato bits from burning onto the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until browned, just 2-3 minutes per side.
To serve, spiralize the zucchini and toss it with the pesto (add as much or as little sauce as you prefer and store extras in the fridge for up to a week). Add the blistered tomatoes and warm shrimp and enjoy immediately.