The proper season of vegetable noodle-ing (and tons of watermelon yay!) is here for our household. I know that spiralizing is a cool thing to do all year, but consistently mild temperatures make me crave big bowlfuls of these faux noodles a lot more. Usually I do a straight up marinara saucing with lots of vegetables and herbs, or a rough pesto mix with extra greens and a plant-based protein. I had been thinking about doing a creamy sauce, all tinted green with spring onions. I didn’t want to go for a cashew base for fear that it might be too rich (and possibly too predictable), but what could I use instead if I wasn’t reaching for nuts or seeds?
Lentils, of course! Since it is the International Year of Pulses and I’m still totally on board with my Pulse Pledge (How ’bout you?), I just had to share this delicious sauce made super creamy with lentils. Seriously, is there anything they can’t do? The versatility in application blows me away every time. Lots of additional cooking tips here. Some other recipes for pulse love that I’ve got my eye on: peanut butter, coconut + pea protein bites, vanilla lavender cupcakes with chickpea flour, and these broccoli, chickpea and avocado pita sandwiches.
I purchased some white lentils (which are actually just de-hulled black/beluga lentils) on a whim last Fall and tried them in a dal one weeknight shortly after. The dal was delicious, and I’m not sure if it was just my eyes perceiving the more mellow tone of the dish itself, but it felt richer and creamier than usual (also maybe I was extra heavy-handed with the coconut oil because honestly, that wouldn’t be surprising at all). Anyway, I started thinking about other applications for this new-to-me pulse, and a creamy sauce was the first thing that came to mind. If you can’t find these particular lentils where you live, feel free to substitute with one of the more common lentil varieties (brown/green lentils or even red split ones). Just be aware that the colour of the sauce will be a bit different.
I filled this sauce out with all kinds of spring-y onion greens, miso, and lemon. It appears a little thick at first (kinda like smooth guacamole), but I think this saucing strategy works best for zucchini noodles. Once you season vegetable noodles or dress them in any method that involves salt, they start oozing water out. So my strategy was to start out with a thicker sauce to avoid the watery mess at the end, and it totally worked! While the lentils cook for this, you’ve got ample time to noodle up the zucchinis, make the sunflower sprinkle, and assemble all of the other sauce ingredients. It’s 30 minute meal territory, which is preferable for me these days because I’m trying to spend more time with my flowers and other little plant babes. Maybe more of this sorta thing to come? Love to you all this week! :)
CREAMY ZUCCHINI NOODLES W/ WHITE LENTIL SPRING ONION SAUCE + CHEESY SUNFLOWER SPRINKLE RECIPE
Print the recipe here!
Notes: I purchased my white lentils at a Canadian bulk food chain and have seen them at Whole Foods, health food stores , and shops that specialize in Indian foods. When I tossed the zucchini noodles with the sauce, I added a little drizzle of chili oil too (this one). I find that I almost always need a spicy thing in a bowl food situation, so that’s a highly recommended extra step! ;) Also, I know it seems weird to see a sweetener used in the sauce ingredients, but it’s honestly just there for balance as opposed to a full on sweetness. Finally, as I mentioned above: If you can’t find white lentils where you live, feel free to substitute with brown/green lentils or red split lentils. The colour will be a bit different, but the flavour and texture will still be all there.
CHEESY SUNFLOWER SPRINKLE INGREDIENTS (makes extra)
⅓ cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon mellow/light miso
WHITE LENTIL SPRING ONION SAUCE INGREDIENTS
⅓ cup white lentils, picked over + rinsed
¾ cup roughly chopped spring onion greens (like chives, green onions or ramp greens; or a mix)
¼ cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons filtered water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon mellow/light miso
¼ teaspoon pure maple syrup/agave nectar
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
FOR THE NOODLES
4 medium zucchinis (just as a note: I usually allot 1 zucchini per person when I’m making the zoodles)
roasted vegetables (I did a mix of asparagus and kale)
extra basil, chopped, for garnish
For the cheesy sunflower sprinkle, combine the sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and miso in the bowl of a food processor. Run the motor of the food processor on high until you have a crumbly, dusty consistency. Transfer cheesy sunflower sprinkle to another bowl, wipe the food processor bowl out with a dry towel, and return it to the base.
For the white lentil spring onion sauce, start by bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lentils to the water and stir. Bring the lentils back up to a hearty simmer. Cook the lentils until slightly mushy, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor.
To the food processor bowl, add the chopped spring onion greens, basil, olive oil, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, miso, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Run the motor of the food processor on high until you have a smooth and creamy consistency, stopping to scrape the sides down a couple times. Check the sauce for seasoning, adjust, and set aside.
Run the zucchinis through a spiralizer or make strands out of them with a julienne peeler. Place zucchini noodles in a large bowl. Toss zucchini noodles with the spring onion miso sauce, and some salt and pepper to taste. Once noodles are coated, divide them among 4 serving bowls. Top the creamy zucchini noodles with the cheesy sunflower sprinkle, roasted vegetables, and chopped basil. Serve immediately.
*This post was created in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!