by • October 2, 2014 • VeggieComments (0)1500

Vegetable “Pasta” with Thai Pesto

One’s mind doesn’t quickly wander to Asian cuisine when thinking of olive oil, but I decided to break a few moulds here and be adventurous. The results were better than I could have hoped for! Pesto is a staple in the Mediterranean kitchen, but there are many sauces and emulsions in Asia that rely on similar principles, so it seemed like a good place to start.

One of my favorite combinations of flavors is coconut milk, lime, and Thai herbs, so I made this the basis of my pesto. Instead of pinenuts (which don’t exist in Asia, and are outrageously expensive to boot) I used toasted cashews. They lend a similar richness and flavor without breaking the bank. For this recipe I chose Olearia San Giorgio¬†L’aspromontano olive oil for it’s light qualities and slight bitter notes, which seemed to blend perfectly with the ginger, garlic and cilantro.

Note: these are just the vegetables that looked good at the farmer’s market, and could be substituted by a multitude of others.


For the Pesto:

  • 1 C Thai basil (can be found in your local asian grocer)
  • 1 C cilantro
  • 1/4 C mint
  • 1/4 C Italian basil
  • 1/2 C roasted cashews
  • 1 T chopped ginger
  • 1 T chopped garlic
  • 1/2 C olive oil (Try L’aspromontano)
  • 1 T fish sauce (or soy for vegetarians)
  • 2 T coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime

For the “Pasta”:

  • 2 Large Carrots
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus
  • 4 Large Radish
  • 1 Asian Pear
  • 1 Leek
  • 2 Small Zucchini
  • 1 T Garlic chopped
  • 1 T Ginger chopped
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Salt to taste


For the Pesto:

  • Bring a pot of water to the boil and prepare an ice bath.
  • Toast cashews in a dry, hot pan until browned.
  • Quickly blanch all the herbs for 30 seconds remove to the ice bath to set color, and squeeze firmly to dry.
  • Add herbs, ginger, garlic and nuts to a food processor or blender with a few T of olive oil
    pulse to break down.
  • Slowly incorporate the liquid ingredients while blending at a high setting
    reserve in fridge.

For the “Pasta”:

  • Remove inedible bottoms of asparagus, and cut off tops, reserve them.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrot, zucchini, and asparagus stalks lengthwise to create ribbons, this will be the “pasta”.
  • Slice radishes thinly slice white part of leek into 1 inch cylinders.
  • When oil is smoking add the leeks and saute about 2 minutes per side until dark brown, reserve.
  • Bring a large saucepan to medium heat and add olive oil, ginger, and garlic. Allow to infuse for 2-3 minutes. add your vegetable ribbons and saute lightly until just softened, reserve
  • Pour juice of 1 lemon over pasta. Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper as needed.
  • Slice pears very thinly and lay flat on a plate spoon a layer of pesto onto the pears.
  • Arrange the cooked and raw vegetables on top of the pesto sprinkle with lime juice, salt and fresh herbs.

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