When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking, Try These Easy No-Cook Zoodles with Wakame Pesto
Wakame seaweed’s emerald green color and tender texture make it an unexpectedly stellar stand-in for basil in this nutrient-dense twist on pesto pasta.
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When the weather warms up or your daily schedule fills up fast, finding the motivation to pull out your pots and pans, start boiling water and break out a cutting board to chop veggies is difficult. But you don’t have to turn to takeout. Just try a simple, no-cook recipe instead!
This No-Cook Zoodles with Wakame Pesto recipe is exactly what you need when you just aren’t feeling like standing over the stove or waiting for the oven to preheat. The entire dish can be assembled right on your kitchen counter – no need for any pots or pans!
What, exactly, is wakame?
Wakame is a sea vegetable – or variety of seaweed, to put it simply. While it might not be as familiar to you as other sea veggies like nori, wakame is a go-to ingredients in Japanese cuisine. It’s versatile, too, and can be used in soups, salads and even as a seasoning. Wakame adds a briny, salty flavor to any dish, but it does also have a hint of sweetness, too.
When you first see wakame in its most common form, dried strips, you’ll notice its emerald green color. It lends its gorgeous hue to whatever it’s added to. And in our No-Cook Zoodles with Wakame Pesto recipe, this sea vegetable stands in for the traditional basil to create a light sauce that’s brilliant in color and bold in flavor.
Oh, and it’s super nutrient-dense. Inside each thin strip, you’ll get protein (3 grams per 100-gram serving), plus an array of vitamins and minerals. Wakame is a great source of iodine, delivering nearly three times the daily recommended amount in just a 1-gram serving. It’ll also provide minerals like manganese, magnesium and calcium. And you’ll enjoy folate plus vitamins C, K, A and E too.
Working with wakame
Wakame does require a little more prep than the seaweeds you’ve worked with previously. While nori is ready to use right out of the package, wakame needs to be rehydrated. We’ll walk you through the quick and easy soaking process while you prep the ingredients for the rest of this no-cook, no-stove-needed recipe.
No-Cook Zoodles with Wakame Pesto
- 2 large zucchini (about 1½ lb total), trimmed
- ½ tsp + 1/8 tsp sea salt, divided
- ¼ cup dried wakame seaweed
- 3 tbsp chopped roasted unsalted cashews, divided
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped vine-ripened or cherry tomatoes
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Working 1 piece at a time, secure zucchini into a spiralizer and turn crank to create long ribbons. (NOTE: Always check the instructions on your spiralizer as they vary by brand.) In a bowl, toss noodles with 1/8 tsp salt and transfer to a colander for 15 to 20 minutes to drain excess liquid.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add wakame and enough cold water to cover. Soak for 5 minutes, or according to package directions. Reserving 2 tbsp soaking liquid, drain wakame.
- In a food processor or blender, pulse wakame, reserved soaking liquid, 2 tbsp cashews, yeast, lemon juice, garlic and remaining ½ tsp salt, stopping to scrape down side of bowl, until cashews are finely chopped. With motor running, slowly drizzle in oil and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Arrange noodles on a large tray lined with a clean, dry towel. Cover with a second towel and gently pat to absorb any excess water. In a large bowl, gently toss together zucchini, wakame mixture, tomato and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp cashews.
- Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
- Calories 219
- Carbohydrate Content 12 g
- Cholesterol Content 0 mg
- Fat Content 18 g
- Protein Content 6 g
- Saturated Fat Content 3 g
- Sodium Content 418 mg
- Sugar Content 5 g
- Monounsaturated Fat Content 13 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat Content 2 g