Trying times

Recipe: Pleasing Tomato Pesto Pasta

Do you say yes when you want to say no?

Do you invest more in people than you get in return (and then keep investing in those people)?

Do you over-identify with other people’s feelings, and take it upon yourself to look after them?

If you answered “yes” to two or more of the above questions, you might be a people pleaser—a phenomenon that involves a constant de-selfing process whereby we fail to vocalize our own needs for fear of hurting another person’s feelings and not being liked. But fear not, oh weary pleaser—there is help: YOU!!!

We typically fall into the people pleaser role when we fear not being liked and require the approval of others. But here’s something else I’ve noticed about us food-stuffers. Many of us are incredibly sensitive people. We are empathic and we often feel in ourselves what others are feeling around us (hence our ability to take such care in our dealings with others-—a lovely quality, by the way); it’s this heightened sensitivity in combination with our own insecurity that can create in us a misplaced sense of responsibility for a feeling we are experiencing/aware of that isn’t actually our own! We are not responsible for how others feel!

Awareness is key, so check in with yourself. It’s one thing to demonstrate caring and respect for others. It’s another thing if doing so is at the expense of your own inner truth and needs. As well, if there is a lack of reciprocation or you are not being met with respect, than it’s probably time to re-evaluate the dynamic of the relationship (and the relationship itself!). That means finding a balance between looking after your own needs and knowing what belongs to you, and what belongs to the other. You are absolutely worth showing up for! So keep showing up for yourself and hold out for those who authentically show up for you too. And just remember—you can’t please everyone! So just please you!

So I’ve been doing some cooking. Some baking. You know, stuff. One thing I made recently that I really enjoyed was a sundried and roasted tomato pesto zucchini pasta dish inspired by the pesto recipes of both Dreena Burton’s and Angela Liddon. The pesto is rather substantial, so I wanted to pair it with a veggie pasta (spiralized zucchini) to lighten it up a bit. I broiled up some broccoli and BAM – dish delish! 

Pleasing Tomato Pesto Pasta

4 tomatoes (roma or other) halved, drizzled with olive oil and roasted face down on baking tray for 1 hour at 400F

3/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup toasted almonds

2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp agave nectar

1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)


1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup fresh basil (I tried a version without it, and it was still nice)

For the pasta:

2 zucchinis, either peeled into stripped with a veggie peeler, or put through the spiralizer

1 head of broccoli

juice of half a lemon

1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Prepare the pesto by first putting the almonds through the food processor until crumbly and setting aside. Process the rest of the ingredients until smooth, then add the almonds in and pulse until mixed.

In a bowl, toss the broccoli with some olive oil, salt, and chili flakes. Broil for 5-7 minutes until slightly charred (watch carefully so they don’t burn!). Remove from oven and toss with lemon juice. Toss with desired amount of pesto and zucchini noodles. Voila!


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