Raw Zucchini “Spaghetti” with Kale and Coriander Salsa Verde and Garlic Pangrattato

Prep time 20 mins | Cooking time 0 Mins | Serves 4-6

8882 edit

This vibrant green “spaghetti” will surely brighten up your dinnertime this spring. Photos Nicholas Rider.


Hi foodies, it’s been a while since my last recipe post. I’ve been juggling a new job while running a few cooking workshops at some universities in Sydney. The most recent of these being a series with a new student group at Macquarie University called Locavores MQ. The team have transformed a weekly produce market into a thriving non-for-profit business. The staff are student volunteers who encourage the staff and students of Macquarie to learn more about where their food comes from. The produce, provided through Harvest Hub, is sourced almost entirely from farms within the Sydney basin area.

Each week I’ve worked with the group to present simple, seasonal recipes that not only taste delicious, but are packed with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Last week I cooked one of my favourite go-to recipes for when you need dinner on the table in a hurry. It’s my Raw Zucchini “Spaghetti” with Kale and Coriander Pesto.

You may have heard of the Raw Food Diet. Raw diets retain all, or at least most, of the nutrients in fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes, which are usually lost through heat application. I have a secret though The main reason why I absolutely adore raw cooking is that the meals are a lot simpler to prepare because there is virtually no ‘cooking’ involved. So not only will your food taste absolutely delicious, you could save countless hours slaving away in the kitchen on a busy weekday.

This zucchini spaghetti recipe is the perfect example of a great raw food meal because the spaghetti is made from strips of zucchini. You can use a food processor with a slicing attachment, or one of those funky ‘zoodle slicers’ where you place the zucchini into the barrel and twist the handle to produce curly strands of vegetable pasta. At home though I have neither of these so I simply slice the zucchini into thin strips, or use a speed peeler to shave ribbons of zucchini to form a pappardelle shape.

The first time I ever made this dish was for a brunch catchup with friends before a great day at the beach. Many of them were surprised when they realised they weren’t actually eating pasta. That’s the great thing about raw zucchini is that it perfectly mimics the al dente texture of pasta. Though basil is the most common herb in pesto, I love the pungent flavour of coriander leaves which contrast the bitterness of the raw kale and provides a burst of freshness on the palate.

Something I discovered at my most recent demo on Thursday is the addition of garlic pangrattato to the dish. It sounds fancy but pangrattato refers to a simple condiment of peasant-origin (like all great foods) used instead of expensive cheeses like parmesan or pecorino. The Italians took stale bread, turned it into crumbs and fried it with olive oil, garlic and herbs. These crumbs, sprinkled on the zucchini spaghetti provide crunch and extra flavour. You could think of it as powdered garlic bread. If you are gluten-free you could make the crumbs from gluten-free bread, use chopped almonds or pepitas or simply leave out the crumbs altogether.

8848 edit
For the “Spaghetti”
  • 500g zucchini
For the Pesto
  • 150mL olive oil, plus 4 tbsp extra
  • 1 cup firmly packed kale leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 cup firmly packed coriander leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
For the Garlic Pangrattato
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 100g breadcrumbs

Make the ‘spaghetti’. If you happen to have a vegetable noodle tool here is the chance to use it. Alternatively you may find that your food processor has a Julienne setting which will allow you to cut the zucchini into thin ribbons, or you could use a mandolin slicer. Have no fear if you don’t have any of these. The way I do it at home is by hand. Use a potato peeler to shave ribbons from the zucchini. Then gather a few ribbons in a stack and carefully cut into strips using a small sharp knife. Place the ribbons into a large mixing bowl and set aside while you make the pesto

Make the pesto. Place the oil, coriander and kale, garlic and ¼ cup water into a blender and pulse for 5 – 10 seconds for a chunky pesto or blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and blitz until combined.

Make the pangrattato. Peel the garlic then chop finely. Place into a frying pan with the breadcrumbs and 4tbsp oil and toss over a medium heat until golden. Season to taste.

Toss the ‘spaghetti’. Place the zucchini strips in a bowl and add enough pesto to  lightly coat the strands. Toss to coat. Divide among serving plates and serve sprinkled with the pangrattato.

8735 edit

8750 edit

8771 edit

8821 edit

Brendon’s Tips
  • You can also serve the “spaghetti” with chopped nuts and a drizzle of oil if you like.
  • Don’t have coriander or kale? You could use a combo of any soft herbs or leafy greens including parsley, spinach and basil.
  • Any remaining pesto can be stored in a screw top glass jar with a 1cm layer of olive oil poured over to prevent oxidisation.

8825 edit

What are you cooking or eating today? Share your recipes and food photos by tagging #brendonthesmilingchef and #whatsbrendoncooking on Instagram or Tweeting to @bthesmilingchef.

Happy Cooking and Keep Smiling,

Brendon 🙂
View my food journey on Zomato!


9 Comments Add yours

  1. laurasmess says:

    I make zucchini noodles or pasta quite frequently, such a good way to get a ‘pasta fix’ with less starch in your stomach. Your recipe looks lovely, great photos from Nick too!


    1. Yes, I totally agree Laura! I love the texture of the zoodles too as they add great crunch and bite to the sauce. I’ve finally purchased a mandolin so making zoodles much simpler. Glad you liked the recipe and I’ll pass on the message to Nick. Keep smiling 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. laurasmess says:

        Oh, great idea. I’ve been thinking about investing in a mandolin for ages (with a guard, haha… I have heard so many horror stories about sliced fingers!). Smiles back 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, that’s exactly why I went for one with a guard too! My next project is to try making home-made pickled veggies to use as garnishes etc.


  2. Casey says:

    Hey Brendon,

    This looks very delicious and all of the ingredients are fresh, wholesome and healthy! I’m a huge fan of pasta but will definitely be giving this a go because those photos look great 🙂 It’s great that you’re encouraging healthy eating and the inclusion of more vegetables into diets. Thank you for sharing.

    Casey | That Sugar Fix

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Casey for your kind words. I’m really glad you liked the recipe. Nick did such a great job with the photos. You should check out his work at this website. Hope you are well 🙂


  3. chefceaser says:

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.


I love to read your comments as much as I love cheesecake. Leave me a message below so we can continue the foodie discussion.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s