Mediterranean Zoodles

Mediterranean Zoodles

Mediterranean Chicken with Zoodles

 

This saucy tomato Mediterranean Zoodles recipe has been on high rotation ever since I borrowed my mum’s spiralizer (about a year ago!)… and let’s be honest here, this dish is so delicious the spiralizer is probably never going to be returned!

Even though it’s a warm dish, the Mediterranean flavours make this recipe multi-seasonal so we’ve enjoyed it in Summer through to Winter. To keep things interesting I change the herbs and spices depending on whether I want more of a Moroccan, Italian or Spanish influence, but the base of zucchini, tomatoes and your favourite protien essentially stays the same.

The recipe below is the Moroccan version, and you should be able to find the spices ras el hanout and sumac in most supermarkets. If you want to make the Spanish version simply leave out the ras el hanout and add more paprika and sumac, and for the Italian version leave out the ras el hanout, sumac and paprika and replace them with Italian herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary.

Even though this is quite a simple dish made entirely in one pan (which means less washing up!), it’s packed with big flavours, colours and lots of plant phytonutrients.

If you don’t own a spiralizer you can still make this recipe by using a vegetable peeler to make zucchini ribbons, or simple zucchini strips with a knife. If you think a spiralizer might be something you’d get a lot of use out of, you can pick up a really simple one for about NZ$9.

Any leftovers are great for lunch the next day, and this recipe also freezes well if you want to stock up your freezer. Enjoy x

 

Do you have a favourite zoodle recipe?

Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Mediterranean Chicken with Zoodles

Mediterranean Zoodles

Note: see the notes above for tips to change this to a Spanish or Italian version.
Serves: 2 hungry or 4 standard
Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

4 zucchini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
Your choice of protein: e.g. tofu, tempeh, caniellini beans, 2 free range chicken breasts
1 x 400g can cherry tomatoes in juice
1 x 400g can finely chopped tomatoes
70g concentrated tomato paste
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ras el hanout
1 tsp sumac
1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional)
1 cup black olives, pitted
pink himalayan salt & pepper

Fresh coriander to serve

First prepare the zucchini by washing well and cutting off the ends. Then either spiralize them, use a peeler to create ribbons lengthways or cut into rounds and set aside. Peel and cut the onion into fine 1 cm pieces, peel the garlic and put it through a garlic press and set both aside. Prepare the protein by cutting into small strips approximately 5cm x 2cm if needed (obviously not for beans!).

Heat the olive in a good heavy based fry pan over medium heat. When hot add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add the protein and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until protein is almost cooked through. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the cherry tomatoes and finely chopped tomatoes, paprika, raw el hanout, sumac and chilli powder. Stir to combine. Lastly add the black olives and zucchini and stir well. Leave to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it is simmering too hard, turn the heat down at this point. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve piled on a plate (or in a bowl), topped with fresh coriander leaves. Leftovers will keep for 2 days in the fridge, heat well before serving again. This Mediterranean Zoodles recipe also freezes well.

 

Mediterranean Chicken with Zoodles

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

 

The Lightest Raw Cheesecake You’ll Ever Eat

These Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecakes are like no other raw cheesecake I’ve eaten to date!

They have the most amazing light and creamy, almost mousse-like texture, which is reminiscent of the cheesecakes and mousses I used to make as a pastry chef.

BUT the difference is this one is made entirely without any dairy products, gluten, eggs or refined sugar. Nick even said “I think this is the best thing you’ve made yet!”, which is saying something given he’s not usually a fan of the raw dessert variety.

 

The Secret Is In The Proportions

The cheesecake layer in this recipe has a base of soaked cashews which gives it its super creamy flavour and texture. Coconut oil provides the set and vanilla and raw cacao provide the flavours.

The key difference in this recipe is the proportions of these ingredients, and using coconut milk and a blender to create an amazing light texture. 

The base for this cheesecake is the same recipe I used for these Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes. It’s a combination of coconut, almonds, cashews, dates and raw cacao. The mild chocolate flavour of this base goes so well with the creamy chocolate and vanilla flavours of this cheesecake.

 

Why & How To Soak & Activate Nuts

The reason for soaking the cashews in this recipe is two fold. Firstly it’s to soften them so that they blend into a smooth cream. The second is to activate them. Activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible.

If you’re not familiar with soaking and and ‘activating’ nuts, I’ve put some notes down below on this, as well as how to melt raw ingredients and keep them in their raw state, choosing a good quality coconut oil, and what to look for when buying pure maple syrup.

 

Make As Individual Or One Large Cheesecake

I usually make these cheesecakes in a 6 hole texan muffin pan to create 6 good sized individual servings. I find this size works for this cheesecake as it’s not overly sweet or rich. However, if you think you’d prefer a smaller serving by all means use a 12 hole standard muffin pan, and if you prefer your cheesecake as a slice, feel free to make it in an 8″ round springform pan instead.

 

Eat Chilled Or Frozen

It’s best to allow these raw cheesecakes to chill until fully set, and serve chilled. But if you need them faster, you can put them into the freezer to speed things up. If you accidentally end up freezing them, don’t worry! They defrost fast, but equally, they taste pretty amazing frozen as they slowly melt and turn into a creamy mousse cake.

Hope you give this amazing recipe a try, and if you post any pictures to Instagram I would love to see your creations! Tag @swoonfood and #swoonfood so I can find them.

Enjoy!

 

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

 

Note on activating nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in the cheesecake filling of this recipe are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the cashews and almonds in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 41ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for about a day. The aim is to keep the nuts below 41ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 41º. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, do so by placing the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 41ºC.

Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you choose. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it is easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.

Note on choosing maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal! There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains minerals and antioxidants such as calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which contains none. Maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of coconut milk.

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

Makes: 6 or 12 mini cheesecakes or 1 x 8″ cake.
Prep time: 1 hour Soaking time: 2-4 hours Chill time: 30 minutes

Base

1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch sea salt
5 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note above)

Vanilla Coconut Filling

1 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup coconut milk (I used Little Islands Original Coconut Drinking Milk)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder)
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted (see note above)

Chocolate Coconut Filling

1 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup coconut milk (I used Little Islands Original Coconut Drinking Milk)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder)
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (see not above)

Start by soaking the cashew nuts. Place 2 cups of raw cashew nuts in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 2-4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.

Line either a 6 hole texan muffin pan, a 12 hole standard muffin pan or an 8 inch springform tin with cling film. Place the desiccated coconut into a food processor and blend until it starts to break down. Add the almonds and blend until they are half ground, then add the cashews, cacao powder and salt. Blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until they are well combined. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each standard muffin hole or a couple of spoonfuls into each texan muffin hole (or the whole lot into the 8″ tin) and place the pan in the fridge to set.

To make the vanilla coconut layer first gently melt your coconut oil using the instructions in the notes above. Place the 1 cup measure of soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Blend until smooth, you may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. This should blend really easily but if you do find it taking a little longer make sure you don’t over heat (i.e.cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the melted coconut oil gradually through the top while the blender is running. Divide the vanilla mixture between the muffin holes (or pour into the 8″ tin) and smooth the top. Set aside while you make the chocolate layer.

To make the chocolate layer, again gently melt your coconut oil using the instructions in the notes above. Place the 1 cup measure of soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the coconut milk, maple syrup, raw cacao powder, vanilla and sea salt. Blend until smooth, you may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. This should blend really easily but if you do find it taking a little longer make sure you don’t over heat (i.e.cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the melted coconut oil gradually through the top while the blender is running. Gently pour the chocolate mixture on top of the vanilla layer of each cheesecake and use a spoon to swirl the tops. Place the cheesecakes either in the fridge or freezer to chill until set, approximately 30 minutes to an hour.

To serve, remove the cheesecake(s) from the tin and peel off the cling film. Place on a serving plate and decorate with edible flowers. These cheesecakes will keep, covered for up to 5 days in the fridge and 1 month in the freezer if well sealed.

 

Raw Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Swirl Cheesecake

 

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