I first discovered the pasta-emulating power of zucchini when I attempted to go on the Zone diet in college. You know, the one made famous in the late 90s by Jennifer Anniston that requires you keep a strict carbohydrate/protein/fat ratio? If you think reading ingredient labels while on the lookout for gluten is tough, try planning meals around counting “food blocks,” as it was called. Sure, I lost weight fast, but I’m pretty sure it was from eventually realizing it was easier to just not eat! Not to mention, I don’t think any college kid can actually afford to follow a celebrity diet, let alone one that involved.
But I did discover a few life-altering tricks during my short-lived time in the Zone, like how to use zucchini for lasagna noodles (in fact, I still have that zone lasagna recipe, which I just might have to dig out for you all soon; it was pretty darn good!). In recent years, I’ve enjoyed a few meals at restaurants that used zucchini for spaghetti noodles. I assumed this was impossible without a fancy gadget, which I’m banned from buying unless I throw something out first (yup, any time you see a recipe on here that requires a food processor, just imagine me making it in 3-4 painfully time-consuming batches with my micro processor for this very reason). But then I stumbled upon this awesome tip. A fellow lazy cook with a most-valuable idea. But alas, I don’t even have a box grater (and don’t think stupid me didn’t try to use a regular fine cheese grater. Let me spare you the trouble—it won’t work). Luckily, I stumbled upon another great zucchini-slicing secret: Use your vegetable peeler. Now I was in business.
Whichever way you slice your zucchini pasta, I just hope you enjoy.
Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pesto
|Prep time||30 minutes|
|Cook time||30 minutes|
|Total time||1 hour|
|Allergy||Egg, Fish, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Wheat|
|Dietary||Gluten Free, Vegetarian|
|Meal type||Main Dish|
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup grated gruyère
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 ripe zucchini
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Adapted from this recipe.
Tip: This recipe doesn't keep well. I'd advise storing the noodles and the pesto sauce separate. Then before serving, drain the noodles well, mix with the pesto, and top with the extra cheese and sunflower seeds.