Baby are we liking it raw at the moment! Perhaps we are clinging on to summer, perhaps after ten days in Italy – to be repeated in Puglia for a wedding next week – the colour and crunch are continually calling us.
Either way, I draw my inspiration from the brilliant Matthew Kenney again and again – and again. Everyday Raw Express is my current go-to bible for quick, easy, clean sunfood finds and the simplicity of the flavours and ease of execution bear testament to his creative genius. In my mind, it is harder to keep things short and simple and technically easy and still pack a proper punch of flavour and texture. But he does it so well.
Carrots are often overlooked as being a little bit standard and something of a non event. I think this is wrong! They are sweet, crunchy and super versatile and can take so many different flavours from all four corners of the world with ease. They are cheap, too, and you can buy them locally grown or grow them yourself – something we should all be moving towards wherever we live.
They’re also an enormous source of antioxidant beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which makes carrot one of the most effective and popular juices used for treating cancer. Their lesser-known essential oil is also used to kill parasites and unfriendly intestinal bacteria, and new research shows that the phytonutrients called polyacetylines found in carrots can work alongside the carotenoids to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.
And now onto the taste: this little salad packs a real punch but for the best flavour use vine ripened organic tomatoes or heirlooms if you can find them. Homegrown are even better.
The original recipe uses agave but I prefer maple for its distinctive taste; and I have substituted olive oil for hemp or rapeseed out of personal preference but suspect chef Kenney knows better so go with olive if you prefer.
Sweet tomato sauce
1/4 cup rapeseed or hemp oil
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
A good pinch of black pepper
Bend all the ingredients until smooth and then stir in the basil.
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
8 cups spiralized carrots
A good few sprigs of basil
A handful of chopped toasted pistachios
Mix the sauce with the noodles and cherry tomatoes, garnish with loose basil laves and pistachios and a grind of black pepper and serve.