This Spinach, Basil and Zucchini Noodle Salad came about as a redo of a bow tie pasta salad recipe I make every year at my grandson’s request for his birthday dinner. The fact that this 9 yo boy wants a salad with spinach and basil in it makes me proud of him and his mama, who’s such a great cook, bringing veggies to the table daily.
But with a few grain free eaters in the crowd, I decided to try a rendition without pasta, using zucchini noodles instead. It turned out so well that the old recipe will now have a companion salad that the gluten/grain free crowd can enjoy.
Hang on to your hats for the bow tie recipe, coming just in time for your 4th of July celebrations. But for now let’s make the grain free salad.
I had this roasted walnut oil in my fridge, so I used it to enhance the flavor since roasted walnuts are in the salad. If you don’t have some and choose not to buy any, you can use olive oil.
Once your ingredients are collected, toss the spinach, basil and zucchini together in a large bowl.
The next steps go so quick. Saute garlic, add prosciutto and crisp it…throw in the seasonings and vinegar and you’re good to go.
The warm vinaigrette gets poured over all of the greens and you toss away. It’s like a wilted spinach salad. Sort of. It makes me think of my late mother in law’s garden fresh wilted lettuce salad that my hubs raves about from in his growing up years. I love how he talks about his mom. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting her, her memory lives on in his glowing reports about this virtuous woman. She will be with us in spirit when this salad shows up at our table. I appreciate that she helped cultivate a healthy appetite for veggies in him as a young boy.
This makes an excellent side to any BBQ get together. I recommend serving it soon after it’s dressed.
In cooking class news, the Salad Dressings Workshop was awesome and fun and well attended.
There was a good assortment of dressings to taste. Someone mentioned the variety of tastes appealed to all of our taste sensations. Hmmm, I didn’t intentionally plan that, but it turned out that way. If you have a group that would love a dressing workshop, I’m happy to do a private class. With summer right around the corner, this class will give you easy, affordable, fresh, and healthy options for your fresh summer meals. E-mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
This little sweetheart is with us for the week. Lucky for me, she slept throughout the whole cooking class segment. Her parents are off vacationing in an exotic place that’s not warm.. Can you guess where that may be?
She’s up from her morning nap so I’m signing off.
Blessings until next time,
Spinach, Basil and Zucchini Noodle Salad (serves 6)
2 medium sized zucchini, spiraled on the thinnest setting (2 -21/2 cups)
6 cups fresh spinach
1 cup fresh basil, cut chiffonade style (thin strips)
4 tablespoons of roasted walnut oil
6 cloves fresh garlic, smashed, peeled and halved lengthwise
4 thin slices prosciutto, torn into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup roasted and chopped walnuts*
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Place zucchini noodles in a large bowl. With kitchen scissors, cut through the strands to trim noodles. Toss in spinach leaves and prepped basil. Set aside.
Heat walnut oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the garlic. Saute and stir for 2 minutes until garlic softens and starts to brown. Add the prosciutto, stirring to bring the meat to a crisp. This should take 1 – 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Pour warm vinaigrette over zucchini noodles, and spinach mixture. Toss well.
Arrange salad on a serving platter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped toasted walnuts. Serve soon after it’s dressed.
* To roast walnuts: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and place in 350 degree oven on middle rack. Set timer for 8 minutes. If walnuts are done, they will have a wonderful fragrant smell and have a slightly golden color. If not done yet, give them another 2 minutes. They burn easily so err on the side of caution.