M Cafe’s Zucchini Noodles with Pesto


Green With Envy

Getting a cooking lesson from any good cook is always exciting. But getting a cooking lesson from Lee Gross whose restaurant M Cafe de Chaya has been a favorite of mine for years is an absolute treat! Last week I had the distinct pleasure of getting to cook one of M Cafe’s summer dishes with Lee in the Cafe a kitchen and got to expand my knowledge of Macrobiotic cooking.


Cooking Lessons

Now in case the term “Macrobiotic” sounds terrifying, or off putting, let me explain. Macrobiotic stresses the importance of whole, natural foods eaten in season with as little processing as possible. It’s a great diet for maintaing your health and your physique which is why many celebrities, including Lee’s former client Gwyneth Paltrow manages to stay so great looking!


Necessary Ingredients

Together we made Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto which was so fresh and delicious that I’ve decided to make it my go-to side dish for every cookout I attend this summer!

Here’s What You’ll Need

3 Zucchini – Use a mandolin slicer to get these thin “noodles”, a knife will work but not as well

Pesto – You can use store bought

Lemon Juice

Sun-dried Tomatoes – Diced

Roasted Almonds – Chopped

Arugula – For garnish

Parmesan Cheese – Finely Grated – the cafe uses a vegan “cheese” concoction, but if you don’t have that the parmesan is fine


Nicely Sliced

Once you’ve used your mandolin slicer to create these little matchsticks of zucchini we need to turn them into “noodles”. Before my lesson I always thought they boiled the zucchini, but that would pull many of the nutrients out so they have another way of getting these soft. Simply sprinkle zucchini generously with salt and mix in with your hands.


Sir Mix a Lot

As I mixed (for a few minutes) you can literally feel the zucchini becoming pliable… the salt pulls the water out of the vegetable making noodle-like.


Towel Me Off

Now, take your zucchini and place it in the center of a clean tea towel (or in this case, a clean apron). Gather the towel around the zucchini and wring it out to eliminate all the excess water.


Wring Around the Rosie


Just Like Pasta

Now you’ve created a “pasta” made out of vegetables and you just need to add your toppings.



To dress the noodles, Lee thinned out some pesto with a little fresh lemon juice. Then we added the other toppings


Top Me Off

And mixed them together


Yum City

Then we garnished with a little more parmesan and some fresh arugula. It was soooo delicious, and cool and refreshing and honestly, when no one was looking, I pretty much ate the whole thing on the drive home. I definitely think you should try this super simple, totally delightful summer salad!


Cooking Lessons