So it was February the 1st, I was out in the garden, pruning berry bushes and sweeping up leaves all whilst Fern slept outdoors in her pushchair. It’s February, and I was outside in little more than a thin jumper (ok and hat and scarf but no coat!) and I had that warm fuzzy feeling that comes about of the first days of Spring. I’m not trying to kid myself into believing that we are clear of Winter yet, and I’m not in anyway wishing this season over as I love the seasons and all that they bring, but on this barmy sunny day, I really felt like the darker days were behind us and spring had peered its head around the corner. I was running around our garden thinking about all of the things I would plant this year, admiring the buds appearing on the trees and basking in the warmth of the low sun. It was bliss!
During winter, my diet naturally shifts to eating more warming, cooked foods and less raw foods that I eat so much of during the warmer months. Living in England, the winters are cold and I love nothing more than making thick, spicy soups, waking up to slow-cooked porridges and sitting infront of the fire eating hot baked apples. Our winter produce leads itself to roasting and stews, as the earthier fruits and roots come out of their own when paired with some spices, oils and heat. That being said, I almost always eat my cooked meals alongside something raw, something I have got into the habit of doing ever since adopting a raw-wholefoods way of eating. My grains on a bed of salad leaves, a raw-salsa to go with my curry, some sprouted seeds on-top of a soup. Keeping the raw aspect strong when eating more cooked foods keeps me feeling full of vitality and health and creates a good balance of nutrients and textures.
So on this un-seasonally sunny winters day, after starting off the day with my slow-cooker porridge and upon realising how spring like it was outside, I felt inspired to make something fully raw using the seasonal ingredients I had to hand. Whilst my baby slept, I whizzed around creating something new and exciting before sharing it with her on our back porch overlooking the garden. Ok, so I am kind of longing for spring to be here. But for now, I urge you to try this dish when the next barmy-warm winters day comes or you feel like something raw to shift the stodgy winter comfort food phase. Each part of this recipe can be made in advance and used separately in other dishes. The noodles can be kept for a few days and they will just get softer as they sit in the fridge. The creamy sauce tastes amazing on baked potatoes or roasted veg, and the marinaded veggies, well I’ve been making a container full of these ever since making this dish and they’re my go-to salad/sarnie topping now. All of the preparation will give you many a meal if you make enough, though it’s unlikely you will have many left overs!
Golden Squash noodles, I hear you asking? What the heck are they and can I really eat raw squash? Well yep you can and I actually can’t believe I’ve not tried making them until now! I made mine using a huge Crown Prince Squash that I had grown and stored since the Autumn, and it is the sweetest raw vegetable ever (though I am addicted to it roasted too, I must say!). I urge you to try out some different squashes to your average butternut and pumpkins (Pumpkins have very little flavour or flesh to them, so I’d avoid them altogether) and check out the wonderful varieties such as crown prince, kuri and hokkaido which are much sweeter and more golden (and have such beautiful names!) My squash was large enough that I could put it through my spirilizer , though if you use something smaller or don’t have a spirlizer, then you could use a veg peeler or mandoline instead.
Golden Squash Noodles with Creamy Tahini Veggies
300g Golden squash
1/4 tsp Sea salt
1 tbsp Olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Creamy tahini dressing
2 tbsp Tahini
4 Sundried tomatoes pre-soaked in 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp Sweet-freedom/honey/maple syrup
4 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
200g soft vegetables (corgette/pepper/aubergine)
1 clove garlic, grated
2 Tbsp Tamari
2 Tbsp olive oil
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Sprouted seeds/pulses (mung beans/alfalfa/pea shoots etc)
Peel and cut the squash into thick chunks so that you can put it into a spirilizer, or use a mandoline or vegetable peeler to create thin ‘noodles’. Place the squash noodles into a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, olive oil and lemon juice and massage with your hands for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, or ideally a few hours or overnight.
Slice the marinaded vegetables into a shallow dish, add the grated garlic and pour over the tamari and olive oil. Stir well making sure that the vegetables are well coated in the marinade and set aside for at least 15 minutes, or up to overnight. When ready to serve, the vegetables should be soft and have a ‘cooked’ texture. You can make then softer and speed up the process by placing the dish into a dehydrator for half an hour at 42 deg C.
Make the creamy tahini dressing by blending all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. You will have plenty here so pour the dressing into a jar or bottle until ready to assemble your salad and store in the fridge.
When the squash noodles and marinaded veggies are soft, take your dressing and pour some over the noodles. Make sure that they have a generous coating then divide them between your bowls. Spoon some of the marinaded veggies on top, followed by any other toppings of your choice. Add a last drizzle of the dressing before serving.
One more note, the first time I made this I actually marinaded the squash noodles in some kale pesto that I had hanging out in the fridge. I topped it with the same marinaded veggies and toasted seeds, and ate it with some seeded bread and more pesto. It was so good! So play with this recipe idea and make it your own. I’d love to hear your own variation of this recipe!