Recipe: Raw Zucchini Spaghetti with Sicilian Nut-Meat Balls

Oh, God, it’s hot.  It’s hot, it’s hot, it’s hot.  I hate this weather.  I had this enticing introduction all planned to tell you about how I came up with this recipe and why I think it is just too unutterably clever for words and why you should make it right now but my brain has melted in the heat, and basically all I want to do right now is sit in front of the air-conditioner and eat ice-cream.  I just went to the supermarket to get groceries for tomorrow, and I nearly curled up in a corner and built a little house there, because it was so blessedly, wonderfully *cool* and even if it isn’t full of books, at least it’s cold enough that I can breathe.

Anyway.  This is a slightly fiddly, but entirely worth it, raw pasta dish.  It doesn’t involve turning on the stove, and it’s actually even nicer if all the components are kept in the fridge until you are just about to combine them.  The tomato sauce is fresh and light and sweet and the nut-meat balls are rich and full of flavour with sudden bites of caper or currants to keep them interesting.  Also, it looks really cool.

And that’s all I’ve got.  Sorry, I really am melting right now.


Your shopping list

6 tomatoes
a handful of basil, or a squeeze of basil from a tube
1 fresh date
salt, pepper
125 g sun dried tomatoes
80 g pistachios
40 g almonds
80 g walnuts
80 g cashews
15 g dried mushrooms or 100 g fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup water (optional)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
15 g capers
30 g currants
30 g pine nuts
3-4 small zucchini or two ginormous ones

Now what will you do with it?

Bring some water to a boil in an electric kettle.  This is the sole bit of actual cooking involved in this recipe, so make the most of it.

Score an X in the base of each of your tomatoes, and pour the boiling water over them to cover. (I put them in the base of my blender, to save on washing up).  Leave for ten minutes.


Put the date in a tiny bowl of cold water and let soak for ten minutes, too.

Put the sun dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms and all the nuts in a large bowl with enough cold water to cover everything well.  Leave for an hour.  If you are crazy like me, go off and do ten minutes of German on DuoLingo while waiting for the tomatoes to be done.  I am addicted to Duolingo.


Come back and drain the tomatoes. (Die Tomaten!).  Run some cold water (der kalte Wasser) over them.  The skin should have peeled back from the Xs you scored on them, so use this as a starting point to peel them completely.  Put them in the blender with the date, basil, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate.

Go off and do ten minutes of Italian on DuoLingo, twenty minutes of yoga, and then ten minutes of French.  By this time, your nuts should be ready to use.


Combine the nuts (les noisettes!) in the food processor with the dried mushrooms and of course the sun-dried tomatoes (i funghi secchi e i pomodori secchi), and process until they start to come together in a chunky paste.  If you used dried mushrooms, you will need to add water to help them come together.  If you used fresh mushrooms, they will probably have enough moisture to do the job.  You are aiming for a texture where you can take a small handful of the mixture and roll it into a ball without it falling apart.

Scrape this mixture out into a bowl and knead in the chilli, capers, currants and pine-nuts.  Refrigerate and go to work, or alternatively just refrigerate for an hour or so.


When you are ready to eat, remove your nut mixture from the fridge, and roll it into balls the size of meatballs – you should get about twenty from the mixture.


Spiralise your zucchini.


(This is still the most fun thing ever.)


Pour the tomato purée over the zucchini in a bowl, and mix together with your hands.


Divide your zucchini al pomodoro between four bowls, and top with five ‘meat’balls.


Buon appetito!  Das schmeckt mir gut! (Même s’il fait toujours trop chaud)


This is not nut-free, and it never will be, but it is gluten-free, vegan, and fairly low GI.  And it’s yummy!  In terms of flavour swaps, you could use any combination of nuts for the nut meatballs, I think.  I found this a little salty  – I suspect this is because of the dried mushrooms.  A combination of fresh and dried might work better.  You could also add more chilli, as it was pretty subtle, and fennel, mint, oranges and raisins are all suitably Sicilian flavours.


I am adding this to my Raw Food-themed Vegetarian Food Challenge.  What will your recipe be?


I am also sharing this recipe with Heather for her Raw Thursdays weekly challenge.  If you are enjoying my raw challenge, please do go over and see what Heather is doing with hers – there are some amazing recipes there.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 comments for “Recipe: Raw Zucchini Spaghetti with Sicilian Nut-Meat Balls

  1. January 14, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    That looks delicious. What a wonderfully posh, gastronomically complex (I mean that in a good way) version of zucchini noodles! Must try this while I still have some dried porcini in my cupboard.

    (I am a bit addicted to Duolingo too!)

    • Catherine
      January 15, 2014 at 12:37 am

      Thank you! I’m very proud of how it turned out, visually as well as taste-wise!

      (off to play Duolingo now and extend my streak, since there is no sleeping in this weather)

  2. January 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Oh, the heat…I think we sent it your way so can only apologise 🙁 Although, we can be grateful we’re not in Adelaide!?

    • January 16, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Having spent my teenage years there, I am daily grateful for not being in Adelaide…

      (Sorry, but if you will give me a straight line like that…

  3. January 25, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    I was so hoping that you’d share this at Raw Foods Thursdays this week! Wish come true! 🙂 I love my zoodles, but I’ve never actually tried nut meat balls with them. I look forward to trying yours!

    • Catherine
      January 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      How could I not? I am ridiculously proud of these! I hope you enjoy them when you do give them a try.

Leave a Reply to Heather @Gluten-Free Cat Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.