Want to get more veggies into your diet but feeling bored with the same old side dishes? Making noodles from vegetables is the answer. They’re a great substitute for high-calorie, low-fiber traditional pasta and work just as well as a base for your favorite sauces.
While it’s possible to use a sturdy vegetable peeler to turn carrots or zucchini into noodle-length strips, a tool called a mandoline will cut your prep time in half. Just be aware that the mandoline blade has very sharp edges. You’ll want to hold the pusher accessory as you run the length of your vegetables across the blade. In addition, wear a thick kitchen glove to protect your fingers.
Zucchini is perfect for the mandoline because it slices easily. You can make the following sauce ahead of time. It yields enough for another meal.
Zucchini Noodles With Marinara Sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Red chili flakes to taste
- 2 28-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine or broth, any variety
- 1 basil sprig
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive, safflower or grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Brown the garlic in two tablespoons of oil for two to three minutes. Add chili flakes, the tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, salt and black pepper and stir. Next, add the wine or broth and the basil. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes until the sauce thickens. Set aside.
Wash the zucchini. Cut off the stems and discard. Insert the fine tooth blade into a mandoline and tighten the screw to hold it in place. Press the pusher into the center of the first zucchini and hold the pusher as you run the vegetable over the surface of the mandoline to form the noodles. Repeat with the other zucchini.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the tablespoon of the oil of your choice. Add the zucchini noodles and cook two to three minutes, stirring often until they soften. Top with marinara sauce and toss well. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more family-friendly recipes to add more veggies to your diet.