Zucchini, or summer squash, comes in several varieties (most commonly green and yellow). It has a delicate flavor that doesn’t overpower other foods. There are only about 10 calories in a half-cup. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. The peel is a good source of fiber, full of potassium, Vitamins C, B-complex, iron, and zinc.
I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into my diet, especially if they can replace carbohydrates, like switching pasta for zucchini.
There’s this neat new kitchen gadget called the “Veggetti,” a spiral slicer that turns vegetables into “zoodles.” You can find them almost anywhere for $15 or less. I found a knock-off for $6.
In addition to the following recipes, my experiment wouldn’t have been complete without an Italian version, so I whipped up a batch of veggie marinara and added some warm zoodles.
I didn’t miss the pasta in any of these dishes, but the true test was my husband—a skeptic and die-hard pasta lover. But even he agreed he hardly missed the pasta.
I’ve found that if I can trick my brain into thinking it’s getting what it wants, I can easily make healthy substitutions. If the flavor is all there, the kind of “noodle” is just a state of mind.
Zoodle Shrimp Scampi
-1 T. olive oil
-1 small onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
-1 lb. cooked shrimp
-1 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
-2 large zucchini, zoodled
-1 c. chicken broth
-Juice of half a lemon
-½ c. Parmesan cheese
-1 t.Sriracha or hot sauce (optional)
Using a spiralizer, make the noodles. Place in a bowl and set aside. If you don’t have this tool, you can use a vegetable peeler to make thin ribbons.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add hot sauce, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Stir. Add the shrimp and cherry tomatoes.
Cook for a few minutes to warm the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add the zoodles and toss. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.
Zoodle Pad Thai
-4 T. of extra virgin coconut oil
-1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and diced
-2 large zucchini, zoodled or spiral sliced
-1 large carrot, spiral sliced
-1 sweet bell pepper, julienned
-⅓ c. of bean sprouts
-Half a bundle of fresh cilantro, chopped
-¼ c. green onions, chopped
-2 T. toasted sesame seeds
Spicy Peanut Sauce:
-1 garlic clove, minced
-4 T. creamy peanut butter
-Juice of one lime
-3 T. Braggs Aminos (or soy sauce)
-2+ T. fresh cilantro, chopped
-An inch of fresh ginger, grated (grates easily frozen)
-¼ t. dried red pepper flakes
In a bowl, whisk garlic, peanut butter, aminos, lime juice, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Set aside. In a large skillet, add half the coconut oil on medium high heat. Cook the chicken on each side for three to five minutes until cooked through. Cool, dice, and set aside.
In the same pan add the remaining coconut oil, zucchini noodles, and carrot noodles. Cook for about two minutes until tender.
Remove the noodles and place in large bowl along with chicken, red pepper, bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, green onions, and spicy peanut sauce.
Toss gently until everything is well coated. Serve warm and garnish with sesame seeds.