When it comes to cooking, fresh flavors, nutritious food, and easy preparation are ideal for any day of the week, and this recipe is no exception. Our Plum Tomato-Basil Pesto with Zoodles masterfully combines chewy zucchini, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy hemp seeds to create a dinner sensation ready in under 15 minutes. Tomatoes add fabulous nutritional value to this recipe, as they are naturally rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and lycopene, which is a carotenoid that is responsible for the vibrant red color and may also help with cardiovascular disease. Currently, the available clinical research supports consuming tomato-based foods as a first-line approach to cardiovascular health. According to some studies, (with the exception of blood pressure management where lycopene supplementation was favored), tomato intake provided more favorable results on cardiovascular risk endpoints than did lycopene supplementation (1). Therefore, incorporating tomatoes into your daily routine will ensure you are meeting the requirements for a healthy, well-balanced body. Enjoy!
Plum Tomato-Basil Pesto with Zoodles
2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes (see note)
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup basil, packed
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium zucchini, spiralized
To cook the plum tomatoes, bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Place a bowl of ice water nearby. Core the top of each tomato with then score it with an X. Gently place tomatoes in the pot and boil for about 15-20 seconds, then remove them to the ice bath. Pull off the skin using your fingers or with the tip of a paring knife. Gently squeeze each tomato to remove the seeds. Rough chop the tomatoes.
Add the garlic, hemp seeds, pine nuts and sea salt to a food processor or blender, and mix until finely chopped. Add the tomatoes and process until smooth.
While the ingredients are processing, add the basil and olive oil. Mix until well combined and set aside.
If using canned tomatoes, squeeze the seeds out of the tomatoes.[br]Yellow squash or pasta could be used instead of zucchini.[br]If you have a nut allergy, you could use sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts.[br]Prepare extra spiralized zucchini to use for another meal. Dry the prepared spiralized zucchini with a towel to remove any extra moisture, then place them in a airtight container or resealable bag.
(1) Burton-Freeman, B., Sesso, H. Whole Food versus Supplement: Comparing the Clinical Evidence of Tomato Intake and Lycopene Supplementation on Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Adv Nutr. 2014;(5):457-485. doi: 10.3945/an.114.005231