One of my dearest girlfriends recently decided to complete a 35 day juice cleanse, followed by transitioning to eating real food through a vegan diet. I was invited to her 40th birthday picnic on Treasure Island and wanted to make sure I brought something that she and her husband could enjoy – I decided on Raw Zucchini Pasta Salad w/Creamy Lemon & Dill Dressing.
I searched online and found Ashley’s recipe for Lemon Dill Pasta Salad on her blog Edible Perspective. I made ingredient changes – based on the fact that I knew there would already be a sweet potato lasagna at the picnic. I didn’t want to enter more noodles into the mix. I also subbed maple syrup for honey to make it vegan. I know not all vegan’s view honey as a “no” – and I wasn’t really sure what my newly vegan friend’s views were on the subject, so I just went with the syrup to be safe. I also changed a bunch of the measurements and have included them below.
4 Broccoli Crowns
1 Bunch Asparagus
3-4 Large Zucchini
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Orange Bell Pepper
2 Cups Grape Tomatoes
1/2 Large Red Onion
3/4 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
3/4 Cup Raw Pepita Seeds
Lemon Dill Dressing Ingredients:
1 Large Avocado
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Dorat Garlic Cubes – defrosted or you could use 2 cloves minced
1 Teaspoon Salt – plus more if needed.
1 Cup Dill – loosely packed.
2/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice – might dial this back a bit next time.
1 1/2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
Black Pepper to taste – I used about 10-15 grinds, I like my pepper.
I purchased as many organic items as I could possibly find between 3 different stores. I was excited to find live herbs in my search.
I got my avocado ready for the blender…
I added all of my dressing ingredients to the blender and let ‘er rip.
I then transferred the sauce into the fridge and got to work on my other veggie prep.
I steamed my asparagus and broccoli in the microwave for about 3 minutes and got them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. I prefer the thinner asparagus in salads. I find the thick stalks a little too woody.
I chopped up my bell peppers, halved my grape tomatoes, chopped up my red onion, measured out my seeds and spiral cut my zucchini pasta. I did end up cutting the zucchini noodles with kitchen shears – some of the pieces were easily over a foot long. I didn’t catch them all, one party goer got the bonus extra long noodle. 🙂
A cyclone hit my kitchen, leaving an artsy mess in my sink.. I really am a messy cook. I just chuck things into the sink, it drives the husband crazy. Think packaging, paper towels. He doesn’t understand why I can’t just open the cabinet door to put them in the trash. I try to explain… I’m an artist. When I’m in “create” mode, things fly everywhere. The same holds true to my desk at work. Designs hung on file cabinets, a million icons on my computer’s desktop… it’s how I roll. Messy Marvin for sure.
The next step was to add all of my veggies to a large mixing bowl. I spooned the dressing in a little at a time. I probably only used 1/2 the amount. I didn’t want things to get too soggy, especially with the hour plus drive to Treasure Island. I did end up adding more fresh dill and salt and pepper to the final salad.
I really loved the raw seeds, it added just enough crunch and texture to the overall dish. I am a huge dill fan, you could easily sub for another herb like basil if you aren’t a fan. Ashley used quinoa spiral pasta for her salad and I might try that next time as well.
I think everyone liked the salad and it was a good compliment to the other green salad at the picnic and the sweet potato lasagna – which was delicious! I also made vegan cornbread, recipe coming soon.
I hadn’t been to Treasure Island since I was a kid. My girlfriend planned a photo scavenger hunt and we had a blast.
Cupcakes were also consumed. A very fun day surrounded by great friends, their family and lots of amazing vegan food.