Day 3 of my vegan Whole30 was rougher than the two previous days. I was zonked for most of the day, and wasn’t sure if it was because I hadn’t slept well the past couple of nights, if my change in diet was affecting my energy or if my workday just wore me out. Really, it was probably some combination of all three. I also experienced some bloating, and that plus the fatigue made for a pretty blah evening. On the bright side, I still haven’t experienced any food cravings, headaches or serious crankiness, which some people report when first starting the Whole30, so I’m still optimistic my diet adjustment won’t be too rough.
Despite being tired, I still managed to whip up a delicious veggie-loaded dinner. I made vegan Whole30 zoodles with a San Marzano tomato basil sauce, and topped them with some cashew ricotta for added fat and protein. Because I can’t get enough green vegetables, we also had some garlicky asparagus as a side. The tomato sauce is an old standby of mine that usually gets tossed with pasta, but it paired with zucchini very nicely. As a vegan, I’m no stranger to nut-based ricotta, but my usual ricotta was a mix of cashews and tofu, so I had to tweak it to make a vegan Whole30 version.
While zoodles won’t trick anyone into thinking they’re eating grain-based pasta, they still have a nice texture and make a satisfying meal. Once you get the hang of your chosen method of spiralizing, you can have zoodles ready to top in sauce in the same amount of time it takes to boil water and cook pasta. Another plus of vegan whole30 zoodles is being able to enjoy a pasta meal without the gut bomb feeling after eating 😉
My method of cooking thin pieces of asparagus in a hot skillet and adding garlic right at the end is one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. The asparagus gets browned but still retains a bite, and the garlic is only lightly cooked, avoiding any bitterness. This method works really well with green beans and other veggies too!
One serving of the vegan Whole30 zoodles provides 4g protein from the zucchini and 6g protein from cashews, and the side of asparagus provides an additional 5g protein.
- 5-6 medium zucchini (about 3 lbs.), spiralized or cut into long thin noodles (either by hand or with a julienne peeler)
- 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- olive oil
- ¾-1 tsp. sea salt
- black pepper, to taste
- lots of fresh basil leaves, torn
- cashew ricotta (recipe below)
- Put tomatoes, garlic, a big drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper in a pot over medium heat. Let cook, stirring occasionally and crushing tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until a sauce-like consistency is reached, about 15 minutes. Taste for salt.
- Divide the zoodles between plates, and top with tomato basil sauce and cashew ricotta.
- 1 c. raw cashews, soaked in hot water for at least ½ hour then drained
- ¼ c. water
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ tsp. sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth.
- 2 bunches asparagus (about 1½-2 lbs.)
- 2 T. olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- Trim or snap off the asparagus ends. Cut each stalk in half lengthwise, then slice in half widthwise as well.
- Heat 1 T. oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add half the asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 8 minutes.
- Add half the garlic and salt and stir for 30 seconds to combine. Remove from pan and repeat with the remaining asparagus, garlic and salt.