Vegan Pesto Zoodles with Broccoli
These vegan pesto zoodles with broccoli features a low-fat pesto sauce made from nutritional yeast, spinach, cashews and green peas. Combined with healthy zucchini noodles and steamed broccoli, this dish makes a light, fresh and tasty, high-protein, low-carb vegan meal.
Before we get there, let’s catch up. So, I’m really getting the hang of this eating for volume idea, hence the extra love for zoodles lately. If you’ve been following along with my macro journey, you’ll know I’m almost 3 weeks into a 12 week nutrition challenge right now and things are just rockin’ along!
Yesterday, I weighed in at the lowest body weight I can remember in recent history and PR’d my split jerk on the same day! Woo woo! It’s so good to know that I’m still getting stronger while slowly reducing body fat. And when I say slowly, I’m talking less than half a pound per week. Slow and steady for the win!
While I’ve got you here, I wanted to bring something up today that’s been on my mind this week. As I’ve been posting about my experiences with flexible dieting, I’ve received a few comments online saying something like “why can’t you just be happy with how you are”, “you already look good”, “you don’t need to count calories,” you have to enjoy yourself, “that’s no way to live”….you get the idea.
Well, for one, I’m not counting calories. This is not a diet, it sounds cheezy but it really is a lifestyle. Each day, I aim to eat a particular amount of macros nutrients in order to optimize performance and reduce body fat ie. I eat a lot of food. For two, there is absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself but still wanting to improve!
Trust me, I am happy. I love my body and when you’re focused on performance goals, you don’t even really think of your body in terms of it’s appearance. You think of it in terms of what it allows you to do and mine can do some pretty incredible stuff!
Having goals, whatever they may be, is so important in life and reaching those goals is one of the best feelings in the world! I want to see what I’m capable of. I enjoy the journey and the hard work, it makes me feel good, it gives me confidence and it takes a dedication that I’m proud of.
I’m passionate about CrossFit, health and fitness and eating a healthy, nourishing diet that allows me to perform at my best, in and out of the gym. It’s not about being restrictive, it’s not a chore, it’s not obsessive. I am dedicated, strong and happy and I love my life, so while I thank you so much for your concern, I’m doing just fine over here! Better than fine, personally, I couldn’t imagine living any other way. I feel better than ever and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
Of course, I’m not 100% accurate tracking macros and I’m don’t eat 100% healthy, 100% all the time. Pfft, who does? Umm, hey there chocolate and sushi and vegan pizza and and cookies and other things I’ll never live without. I still enjoy my life but I’m also very motivated to acheive my goals and there is nothing wrong with that.
What do they say? Haters gonna hate? Is that’s what going on? Maybe..and that’s cool, imma just keep on doing my thing!
K, k, I digress but thank you for listening.
Back to all things pesto, aka one of my favourite foods. Store-bought pesto is typically made with a ton of oil and some are made with parmesan cheese, so I always make my own at home. In the past I usually added olive oil to my pesto recipes but it’s not really necessary. At the moment, while I’m keeping an eye on my fat intake and I decided to try an oil-free pesto and I must, I didn’t miss the oil one bit!
About that high-volume food life. I eat with my eyes and I love big portions so I love, love, love zoodles! I feel like I’m eating a great, big bowl of pasta but it’s at a fraction of the carbs you’d find in a grain-based pasta dish.
Let’s see what other good stuff we’ve got in here: 14 grams of plant-based protein (woo!), lots of vitamin A and C, 25% of your daily recommend allowance of iron (yeh!!), B12 from the nutritional yeast and less than 5 grams of fat in the whole dish (heyo!), which is mostly coming from the raw cashews, Pretty darn good, wouldn’t you say?
So, get yourself a spiralizer and get making these low-fat vegan pesto zoodles!
Try it topped with extra vegan parmesan cheese.Print
For the pesto:
- 1 cup (170 grams) green peas, thawed if frozen, or use fresh
- 3 cups (100 grams) raw spinach
- 4 tbsp (60 mL) fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup (30 grams) fresh basil
- 4 tbsp (16 grams) nutritional yeast
- 4 cloves (18 grams) garlic
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) water
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) raw cashews
- 1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
For the zoodles and broccoli:
- 4–5 medium zucchinis (1000 grams), spiral sliced into noodles
- 6 cups (600 grams) raw broccoli, chopped and then steamed
- To make the pesto, add all of the ingredients to a food processed or high-powered blender and mix until smooth and creamy.
- To make the zoodles, using a spiralizer, make thick noodles out of the zucchini.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high then add the zucchini noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Do not overcook. They should still be a little crunchy but still tender to the bite
- Let them sit in the pan for a few minutes then strain them to remove any excess water.
- Add to the zoodles to a bowl, mix in the pesto and steamed broccoli and serve immediately.
- Serves 4.
Nutrition facts listed below are for the entire recipe. If you’re just making the pesto, an entire batch comes in at:
17 grams fibre
*You may need to cook your zucchini noodles a little longer based on how thick they are. I like them quite thick, so I usually let them cook about 6-8 minutes. Either way, just make sure you drain them after cooking so you don’t end up with watery pesto!
**To add more protein to this dish, try adding in baked tofu, shelled edamame or chickpeas.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 194
- Sugar: 10
- Sodium: 133 mg
- Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 30 g
- Protein: 14 g