If I had to pick one go-to dinner recipe that I love more and more every time I try it, it would have to be zucchini pasta with marinara. I have been making it for months now, trying to find the perfect way to make the zucchini less-veggie and more pasta-y. My first attempts involved the box grater, and trying to make lasagna-noodle like strips, which failed. Miserably. Then I went back to using a knife, trying to cut it into strips. This was also a fail, one that meant nearly losing more than one of my digits. But, it was the best I could do so I continued, finger and blood loss be danged. I needed "pasta" and I was going to make it work. And It did work, but my noodles were far from uniform, meaning they cooked at different times which left some crunchier and some soggier. But I was getting my pasta fix in a Whole30 compliant way.
Then, I got the magical Pampered Chef tool that is the Spiral and Slice. It made adorable, long spiral slices of zucchini (and apples and onions and carrots and potatoes). It really worked great, but wasn't exactly as noodle-like as I was looking for. So I ordered a Julienne Peeler and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for.
The Julienne Peeler works just like a veggie peeler, except for having a serrated blade that cuts the veggies into little strips, just like spaghetti noodle! Perfect, uniform "noodles" without the processed carbs, sugars, salt and bad stuff! Just natural, healthy veggies! Are you seeing how this can change your life yet??
If you've got some time, it really works best to wrap the zucchini noodles in a paper towel for a few minutes to soak up some of the excess moisture, but usually ain't nobody got time for that, and I just skip it. It makes the finished dish a little soupier, but I'm ok with that.
The process is really simple- just julienne your zucchini (you could use yellow squash, too) until you get to the seeds. If you want, you can peel it to make it look even less veggie-like but I don't mind the green strips, plus it adds in extra vitamins and all that good stuff.
Heat a skillet to medium, add just a spritz of olive oil using the Kitchen Spritzer which is amazing and awesome and saves you from all those chemicals and additives that come from buying canned non-stick spray. Throw in your noodles, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let cook.
I let my noodles cook until they are tender, but you can leave them a little crunchy if that's more your style.
Then, I add in the sauce. If you're feeling adventurous and want to make your own marinara, go for it! It really is simple and just takes about 20 minutes. I used this recipe here. I originally made my own marinara because I was having a terrible time finding pasta sauce in the grocery that didn't have added sugar! Not a single jar at Save A Lot, not one single jar at Priceless. I was pretty much on the verge of giving up and just making my own from now on until I found the sauce pictured above at Wal-Mart. The brand is Victoria, the label says all natural. It is only real food items- tomatoes, garlic, spices-- it's just like what you'd make yourself. And the best part is that it's delicious. It costs a little more than Prego or the Wal-Mart brand, but worth it, in my opinion. Just let it cook through until it's warm and then it's time to eat!!
You can make meatballs, cook ground beef or turkey, or just add in some leftover grilled chicken (like I did in the picture below) and you've got a meal! Top it with a little basil if you're feeling fancy or want to attempt to impress your boyfriend. Though likely he will just question why you put grass on top of his pasta..... :)
Serves 1 (2 if you're feeling generous)| Prep 5 min | Cook 10-12 min | Whole30/Paleo compliant
1 zucchini, julienned
Olive oil (just to coat the pan)
Marinara sauce (as much as you'd like)
Meat, if desired
1. Julienne zucchini until you reach the seeds. Lay on paper towel to soak up excess moisture.
2. Heat skillet to medium, spray to coat pan with olive oil.
3. Add zucchini to pan, cook until tender- about 10 minutes.
4. Pour on sauce and heat until warm.
5. Add meat if desired.