I can bypass desert most any day of the week. As a recovering carb addict, most of my cravings revolve around breads and pasta. When I dream of indulgences I am often dreaming of hot, crusty Italian bread drenched in melting butter. In fact, if someone told me I would be given nothing but bread and water to survive on I would assume I landed in heaven. At other times I have fantasies about pulling into an Italian restaurant and ordering a Tour of Italy and a bottle of an oaky California Merlot.
Except I’m not eating breads and I’m not eating pastas.
So to satisfy my Italian food craving, I make my favorite hot dish: caprese-style sauteed zucchini and squash “noodles”. Sliced thin and sauteed in EVOO with garlic and basil, it has the basic Italian flavor I want and the satisfying feel of al dente pasta in my mouth. The great news is that the dish is gluten free, and I’ve just shared yet another way to sneak more veggies into your diet!
Using your imagination, you can probably come up with a dozen ways to use zucchini and squash noodles: cover them with spaghetti sauce, toss them with your favorite pasta salad ingredients and eat them cold, mix with pesto… the possibilities are endless!
Here is how I love to eat my noodles:
- 1 medium-sized squash, washed
- 1 medium-sized zucchini, washed
- 2 Tsp EVOO + 1 Tsp for drizzling
- 1-2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 Tsp basil
- salt & pepper
- diced tomato, for garnish
- (optional) feta or Parmesan cheese
- (optional) pine nuts
1. There are many ways you can slice the squashes into strips: you can use a julienne peeler, a regular vegetable peeler (this will give you wide egg-noodle strips), you can slice using a knife, or you can use a mandolin slicer, which is what I used. So using the mandolin, slice the squash and zucchini into strips, lengthwise.
2. Using a large kitchen knife, slice the stacked slices into thin, noodle-like strips
3. Heat 2 Tsp EVOOin a pan over medium heat, then add garlic, basil, and noodles and salt and pepper to taste
4. Saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat
5. Add pine nuts if using
6. Saute another 2 minutes or until noodles are soft and “noodley”
7. Transfer noodles to a bowl and garnish with extra EVOO if desired, fresh tomatoes, and cheese if using