Every year when tomato season comes around, there are very few days that my oven is not roasting away and my house doesn't smell like sizzling sweetness. I very rarely eat tomatoes raw, I find their acidity too strong .... but more so because they taste of a roasted tomato is one of my favroite things in the whole world. Caramelized, drenched in olive oil with just the right amount of salt and pepper .... it adds a punch, a pop of color, and a subtly sweet flavor to anything you serve it on top of.
On the weekends when we have friends over for lunch .... I always make a big summer veg salad, and the one ingredient that stays consistent is the roasted tomato. Sometime I make my salads with quinoa, sometimes they are all roasted veggies, and sometimes they are mostly veggies in the form of a veggie noodle with one other long noodle as a filler, just like this version I am sharing today. But there will always be those tasty little tomatoes on top. Rice noodles are a nice and light noodle to work into a summer salad, but I also love kelp noodles, because they have a great texture and I am always looking for ways to add more sea veggies into my meals.
Just about a week ago, my garden bursted and I now have so much arugula and basil that pesto will be a staple in the fridge from now until late in the fall. Arugula pesto is one of my favorite pestos because the spice and bite from the arugula makes for a super flavorful sauce. I don't add much to it, I keep out the cheese but I do add lemon juice and zest, and it goes so well on so many things. Eggs for breakfast, mixed in with a salad for lunch, a basic pasta for dinner, as a smear on a toast topped with avocado ... I can go on and on.
If you asked me what my favorite meal of all time would be, I would without hesitation say pesto, pasta (in some form) with roasted tomatoes on top. Simple summer fare is the way to my heart.
OH, and ...... nominations are open for the Saveur blog awards, until this Monday July 18th (also, my birthday!) it would be a huge present to me and this blog if you took two seconds to nominate what's cooking good looking, or any other blog that you enjoy reading and cooking from. Click HERE to nominate!
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodle "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes
If you are not familiar with or can't find kelp noodles, you can use any kind of long noodle here (such as a rice noodle or angle hair pasta) or leave out the non-veggie noodles all together. Alternatively, you can make this same recipe with all pasta, in which case I would recommend a short version such as a cavatelli.
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
salt + pepper
1/4 cup of pine nuts
2 cups of arugula, tightly packed
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
the juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/4+ teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 cup of really good olive oil
1 zucchini, spirilized or peeled with a julienne peeler
1 cucumber, spirilized or peeled with a julienne peeler
12 oz of kelp noodles (or any other kind of long noodle of your choice)
to garnish: a few pieces of torn basil, some microgreens, a handful of crushed pine nuts
Roast the tomatoes:
- Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
- Place the halved tomatoes onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes until blistered and starting to char around the edges. Set aside until you're ready to assemble the salad.
Make the pesto:
- Lightly toast the pine nuts on a dry frying pan over low heat for a few minutes, until golden brown. Place them in the food processor with the arugula, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and salt. Pulse a few times to chop the ingredients, and then while the food processor is running continuously add in the olive oil in a continuous stream, scraping down the sides as need be. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Assemble the salad:
- Place the zucchini, cucumber, and kelp noodles into a large serving bowl. Pour the pesto over the noodles and gently toss until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle the tomatoes over top, and finish with the garnishes of your choice. Enjoy immediately.