Heirloom tomatoes? Balsamic reduction? Basil? After posting this recipe last week, it’s feeling a bit like déjà vu today.
Sweet summer déjà vu that is.
I’ve always been amazed by dishes that seem overly simplified at first glance but are full of flavor because each ingredient is used at the peak of its season. Late summer offers the best of so many fruits and veggies that it’s hard to resist repeat-ingredient offenses. Especially when perfect tomatoes have such a short season and there are zucchini the size of my head for less than a dollar at my favorite farmers market.
This is a dish that props the flavors of each vegetable up on a pedestal instead of hiding them away beneath a hefty sauce. I’ve been enjoying it for lunch over the past few weeks with tomatoes, zucchini, and basil from our urban garden and local farmers markets. Although I’m naturally prone to sleepiness in the afternoon, I’ve discovered that vegetable noodles bring my energy up rather than down when I eat them for lunch, and this pasta dish is no exception to that rule. It’s filling in a light and energizing way rather than a I-need-a-nap way.
Zucchini is spiralized into long, curly noodles; heirloom tomatoes are diced into tender, juicy cubes; and basil is shredded into small, green ribbons. A bright and zesty vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic is whisked together and massaged into the noodles. Then, balsamic reduction is gently drizzled over the hearty bed of vegetable pasta.
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar *
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 small heirloom tomatoes, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- large flake sea salt (optional)
- Reduce the balsamic vinegar by adding it to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced by half. You'll know it's ready when it coats the back of a spoon.
- Spiralize your zucchini to make noodles or use a vegetable peeler to create "ribbons" of zucchini. Add the zucchini noodles to a large bowl.
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the zucchini and massage it into the noodles for 1 minute. Transfer the noodles to a serving bowl.
- Top the noodles with the diced heirloom tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction and sprinkle with large flake sea salt.
- Serve immediately.