SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE – raw vegan style!

This might sound like a crazy dish but it is in fact just a big tasty ‘super-salad’ with a really yummy dressing!

It’s made with raw courgettes which are cut into thin noodles to make the ‘spaghetti’ and then dressed with a thick, rich cherry tomato and walnut sauce and sprinkled with a little blitzed cauliflower as the ‘parmesan’. It’s a very satisfying and highly nutritious dish (as its rich in antioxidants, Omega 3, potassium, vitamins A, C, E and dietary fibre) and if you don’t fancy eating it raw, both the noodles and sauce heat up really well too.

However if you’ve never eaten courgettes raw before do give them a go as they’re really delicious with a very gentle flavour and a soft, pliable texture which is very similar to the ‘al dente’ texture of cooked pasta. As an alternative to courgettes carrots, cucumber, mooli radish and butternut squash also make great raw vegetables noodles and are very palatable and easily digested when finely cut.

The sauce includes sun-dried tomatoes and soaked walnuts which give a wonderful rich flavour and a great chewy texture which is uncannily similar to a traditional mince bolognese. The portions are generous, serving 2 hungry healthy people!

  • 4 courgettes
  • 350g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 beetroot
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Parsley
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 50g sundried tomatoes
  • 100g walnuts
  • 4 dates
  • 200ml of soaking water (dates and sundried toms)
  • 50g chopped baby plum tomatoes or tomberries
  • 4-5 florets of cauliflower
  • 2 handlfuls of fresh basil leaves

To make the ‘spaghetti’, cut the ends off the courgettes and spiralise them into long curly strands or peel into long thin strips using a julienne peeler or a normal vegetable peeler. To make the cauliflower ‘parmesan’ blitz the florets in a processor until it becomes a grainy consistency (if your cauliflower contains a lot of water you might need to place the ‘parmesan’ on absorbent kitchen paper to soak up a bit of the moisture).

To make the sauce, roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes and stone the dates. Place both in a small bowl, pour over 200ml of water and place in the fridge to soak overnight. Place the walnuts in a bowl, pour over enough water to cover all the nuts and also place in the fridge to soak overnight (soaking the walnuts makes them easier to digest and gives a lovely chewy texture similar to mince).

Peel the carrot, beetroot, onion and garlic and roughly chop. De-seed and finely chop the chill and red pepper. Roughly chop the celery, parsley and rosemary needles and zest and juice the lemon. Chop 50g of the cherry tomatoes into quarters and set aside (these are to sprinkle over the top when serving).

Place the garlic, rosemary and chilli in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add in the carrot, celery, red pepper and onion and blitz again to form a chunky consistency. Drain and rinse the walnuts and add to the other ingredients in the processor with the beetroot, fresh tomatoes, lemon juice and zest, dates and sun-dried tomatoes (including their soaking water as this will be really flavoursome), parsley and half the basil leaves. Process the mixture until it forms a thick sauce and the walnut pieces resemble a minced texture. Depending on how juicy your tomatoes are you might need to add a little extra water to thin the consistency. Season to taste if necessary.

To assemble the dish simply scatter the courgette spaghetti over a large platter, pour over the sauce, sprinkle over the chopped tomatoes, cauliflower ‘parmesan’ and top with the remaining fresh basil leaves.'Buon appetito'!