Ok, so you’ve met a guy at the bar, or on Match.com, or wherever all of you go-getters go in the pursuit of love. You’ve gone out on a few dates already, you’ve hit up your favourite neighborhood taco spot (where everybody knows your name!) and now it seems like time to take him home. Not to your parents… To your apartment. It’s time for the date-night-in.
When he sees your place for the first time, you obviously want him to be impressed by everything he sees, smells, and eats. You’ll want to clean up, vacuum, get out your good smelling candles, throw your softest sheets onto your bed – and perhaps most important of all – you’ll want to cook something delicious.
A date night at home is an easy and inexpensive way to spend some time getting to know each other while you get your “Netflix and Chill” on. I have a recipe for you that’s adaptable, affordable, impressive and leaves the over-eating behind with that 2016 office Christmas party.
Try this comforting vegan “pesto” on pasta for an easy stay-at-home date night when it’s cold outside. You can serve it over spaghetti noodles or zucchini “zoodles” to keep your tummy feeling light and happy so that you’re not uncomfortably stuffed during your date night.
• 1 large ripe avocado (skinned and pitted)
•1 large lemon
•2 1/2 cups of fresh basil
•4 large cloves of garlic
•6 tbsp of high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•water (to thin out) approximately 5 tbsp
*This creates enough for 4 people, so it will serve 2 comfortably while leaving plenty for great leftovers.
1) Place all the ingredients into your food processor or blender.
2) Blend until you reach your desired texture. Use more water for a thinner sauce, less if you prefer it thicker. Keep in mind that the heat from the base you’ve chosen to use will thin it out just slightly on its own. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3) Taste as you pulse and blend the ingredients, and add more ingredients accordingly. Remember that you can always add ingredients, but you can never remove them – so always slowly and carefully add until you reach the desired taste.
4) For the pasta: boil a large pot of salted water and add one package of spaghetti. Cook until al denté (about 8 minutes). If you opt for zoodles (zucchini noodles) then use a peeler to peel your zucchini into noodles, use paper towel to blot away excess moisture, and heat the zoodles in a frying pan for 5 minutes to soften them.
5) Pour your delicious “pesto” sauce over the piping hot pasta, and toss to coat all your pasta.
The delicious “pesto” sauce is a basic no cook sauce, and tastes like decadent pesto! If you don’t have a food processor at home feel free to use your hand blender or the blender you make your batch of margaritas in. (If you don’t have a machine to blend margaritas in then you didn’t live your 20’s right.) Hit the pulse button for maximum creaminess ( Disclaimer: this tip was about the pesto but could be used for things post-dinner as well.)
The avocado is clearly the star veggie of the past year. They work great smashed onto some toast to start the day but they’re super heart-healthy, and contain no cholesterol or sodium.
The reason the avocados work great for this vegan “pesto” pasta sauce is because while you’re tricking your brain into thinking your body is getting a classic, silky and thick Italian sauce for pasta, you’re really just keeping the unsexy bloating at bay without losing an ounce of flavor.
This is also a great recipe to try out for just yourself – especially if you’re trying to eat healthier in 2017. It’s the perfect meal to whip up for a post-workout Monday after an overindulgent weekend. If you’re trying this recipe out for a date, don’t be scared of the garlic. It makes the sauce delicious and the garlic is part of the awkward fun. Throw in a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio and neither of you will care about the other’s breath.
**Note: this recipe cost under $8 to prepare! (Not including the purchase of olive oil, salt and pepper – which I’d think you’d already have at home.) After the success of this date-night-in, you’re going to want to be sure you have basic cooking essentials like olive oil, salt and pepper stocked in the cupboard for more home cooked meals that will impress anyone and everyone who comes over.