Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another kitchen gadget you need, something else funky and fun comes along. This gadget isn’t new to the world of course, just to me. Well, relatively new. It’s been sitting in my pantry for 3 months waiting to be used. I think I felt like it was going to be more complicated and messy than it really is, so I kept putting it off for a day I felt like dealing with complicated and messy…which is never. I’m glad I finally decided to take another look and take it off the shelf over the weekend, because it’s not complicated and messy at all and now I’ve got all kinds of ideas dancing through my head.
Once I decided to seriously do a grain free trial, I noticed lots and lots of the Paleo bloggers were eating zucchini and other vegetable noodles in place of grain noodles. My thought was….they look good and I like vegetables…but how can these people think that a vegetable “tastes just like the real thing” or they would, “rather have these than pasta any day!”
That’s just crazy talk, because I’ve been down the spaghetti squash “noodle” road and no one is capable of convincing me that stringy stuff is an acceptable replacement for pasta.
There are very few food things in this world that I would rather have more than a plate full of pasta siting in front of me. But, because of the grain free trial thing, I have to be flexible if I don’t want to lead a sad, noodle free life.
So while zucchini noodles are not a plate full of soul soothing pasta, I have to admit, they are pretty darn good. I was impressed. And strangely enough, they do actually make a really decent replacement “noodle”. They’re also fun to make.
Last weekend Tony was on his annual guys ski trip in Deer Valley so I had four days to do whatever I felt like and to fiddle fart around the house and kitchen. These noodles, the Ginger Garlic Green Beans with Orange Zest, and the Sweet & Spicy Chicken Legs were what I made for Super Bowl Sunday snacks. I love the combination of sweet and spicy together, and because Tony wasn’t here, I could grate ginger into the food to my heart’s content and use cilantro and sweet chili sauce with reckless abandon, which he doesn’t really like. The “noodles” made it fun and I always think it’s exciting to try something new. Luckily the food was delicious because it ended up being the highlight of a very upsetting football game.
Here’s a couple of things you need to remember when using zucchini for noodles:
1. You can purchase a Spiralizer on Amazon. They are inexpensive and don’t take up much room. Easy to use, simple to clean.
2. Zucchini cooks down. I used two medium/small zucchinis which cooked down to about maybe two medium sized servings. If you have a large family and you’re using it as a main dish, you’re going to need a lot of zucchini.
3. Do not over cook it. I repeat, DO NOT over cook it. A quick saute (5-6 minutes tops) is all it needs. You want it to be slightly aldente, or you’ll end up with mush.
4. You can peel or not peel, it’s up to you. Some people say that peeled tastes even more like pasta. If it’s peeled, it will cook faster, so keep an eye on it.
And that’s it! SO EASY. And fun.
Hot & Spicy Zucchini “Noodles”
2 Medium Zucchini
About 1/2 Cup Orange Bell Pepper, diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper
2 Green Onions, sliced
1 1/2 Tablespoon of Cilantro, roughly chopped
About 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons of Coconut Aminos (gluten free soy sauce replacement)
1 Tablespoon of Sweet Chili Sauce
Saute the bell pepper with the olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper just until the bell pepper is aldente. Add the zucchini “noodles”, coconut aminos, and sweet chili sauce and toss until zucchini has softened. Not too soft! Add the green onion and cilantro, a pinch of sea salt, and toss to combine.