It was January of 2009 when Alex and I first began growing our own food in our backyard. We started small with simple potted herbs such as mint and then ventured into bigger handmade planters to host veggies such as zucchini and tomatoes. Often times the size of our squash crops blew our mind as first time gardeners. I even recall using them as weights to work out with once (see below). The taste was unparalleled to the veggies we once bought at grocery stores, so much so the first tomato plant we grew converted me from a tomato loathe to a tomato lover. I’ll never forget picking the tomatoes off of the vine and for the first time eating them whole as if they had long been a favorite snack.
I’m currently reworking my garden as it’s been long overdue since I’ve given it the proper love that it deserves and needs to flourish. I’ll be honest becoming a mother and author within the same short time-frame has forced me to allocate my time differently, in which I haven’t worked out a solid routine for tending to chores and gardening as I would have hoped by now.
However, I remind myself that all good things happen in time and that I am doing the best I can with all that is on my plate. I recognize that if I don’t pay attention to my feelings I can harbor guilt when I don’t accomplish everything I expect myself to do, I’m sure you’ve been there too. Luckily motherhood has been my teacher, guiding me to let go of this type of guilt. Happily acknowledging the presence of these feelings and releasing them as I work to trust and sow seeds of intention in place of guilt and excuses.
Naturally I will spend less time in my kitchen and more time in my garden this Summer as I won’t be turning on my oven as much. In fact I love those warm Summer days where I whip up a meal in my backyard needing little to no equipment. I hope you’ll join me in enjoying all that these longer, warmer and sweeter days have in store by trying this recipe out on the ones you love. I trust you will find that the freshness, simplicity, fragrance and vibrancy of this dish will fuel you with the warmth of the suns rays no matter where you reside in the world and regardless of the fact that you didn’t have to warm this dish up!
Best of all this dish is more flavorful if it sits in the fridge overnight. So make it when the sun goes down and enjoy it for lunch. I prefer to let it sit on my counter top for about 10 minutes in a warmish spot before serving.
- For the layers:
- 1 lg zucchini
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 tbsp evoo
- For the cheese:
- 2 cups raw macadamia nuts
- one teaspoon sea salt/scant
- ⅓ cup water
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Juice of 1 lemon
- For the sauce:
- One dry pint organic cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp sundreid tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp evoo
- 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Optional herbs 1 tbsp of each fresh oregano and fresh rosemary
- Slice Zucchini using a mandoline or veggie peeler aprox ⅛ inch thin
- In a rectangular baking dish cover the bottom of the dish with zucchini
- In a food processor pulse together all tomato sauce ingredients
- In a blender blend together all cheese ingredients
- To assemble layer slices of zucchini on the bottom of your rectangular dish. Next spread cheese over zucchini noodles. Spread tomato sauce over cheese sauce and layer with spinach on top, drizzle with olive oil lightly and repeat for two more layers ending with tomato sauce.
- Garnish with a cherry tomato and sprig of rosemary. Serve!