Winner '14: Niamh McNally


Take 5 sponsored by Braun

Fresh and creamy pasta zucchini
Serves 2

  • A bunch of fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • 4 rashers, chopped
  • 50g raw cashew nuts, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 medium courgettes, cut into ribbons or strips using a mandolin slicer or peeler


  1. 1 Mash a tablespoon of basil with some olive oil in a mortar and pestle.
  2. 2 Cook the rasher strips in a pan until sizzling.
  3. 3 Meanwhile, use a blender to whizz the softened cashews and their soaking water to a fluffy cream.
  4. 4 Add the avocado, a tablespoon of basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Blend until you have a rich and creamy sauce. You may need to thin it slightly; if so, use hot water from the kettle.
  5. 5 Season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper; nutritional yeast is also a good seasoning to bring out the natural “cheesiness” of the cashews.
  6. 6 Remove the cooked bacon from the pan and quickly toss the courgette "pasta" ribbons in the hot bacon fat until warm and slightly softened.
  7. 7 Add the sauce and heat through gently, taking care not to let it separate or curdle. Serve in big bowls topped with the crispy, salty bacon, strained basil oil, chopped fresh basil and crushed cashew nuts.
Per Serving 702kcals, 58.8g fat (13.5g saturated), 23.6 carbs, 5.2g sugars, 27.6g protein, 9.8g fibre, 0.04g sodium

Nimah McNally

"I’ve always been a food lover and have cooked with passion since my Home Ec days! In the last year I’ve had a bit of a personal revolution and have become a much healthier, happier person. As a result, I’ve learned how to be ever more creative with food, looking not only at the magic of flavour and texture combinations, but the satisfaction of creating food that is tasty and healthy and doesn’t weigh you down. This recipe is perfectly satisfying for coeliac, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo and not-at-all fussy eaters alike. And kids love it!"



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