Spring beckons backyard gardeners to the nursery in hopes of a bountiful crop. Summer brings the realization that, once again, we have an abundance of fresh vegetables that will rot if we don’t use them soon.
Zucchini, in particular, seems to be a particular problem since it keeps growing…and growing. Just how many loaves of zucchini bread can one eat?!
Enter the spiralizer. With a few twists of the hand-crank, that zucchini (or apple, sweet potato, carrot, etc) is transformed into spaghetti-like strips. You just boil them briefly, top with a pesto or marinara sauce, and – voila! – a low calorie ‘pasta dish’. I couldn’t believe how fast and easy it was. There are many brands of spiralizers – I bought the Paderno and am extremely happy with it.
I chose a trapanese pesto to top my zucchini noodles in keeping with the fast, easy, and low calorie theme. It also had the added benefit of using up another summer crop – cherry tomatoes.
Note: Though we’re treating the zucchini like a pasta, it behaves like a vegetable in terms of size. While pasta plumps when boiled; zucchini shrinks (just like spinach or mushrooms). So plan on at least 1 lb of zucchini per person. Don’t be fooled by how massive it appears raw.
Trapanese Pesto – about 3-4 servings
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 2½ cups sweet cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 T deli-sliced jalapeño peppers (I use ‘tamed’ spice level – but if you want more kick, go to ‘hot’)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (use a good quality)
- 1/2 cup (+ extra for sprinkling) Parmesan cheese, grated
Into a blender or food processor, place the almonds, tomatoes, basil, salt, red pepper flakes, jalapeños, and Parmesan. Pulse until blended – about 10 times. Add in the olive oil and blend about 5 seconds.
- 1 lb zucchini per person
Spiralize zucchini according to directions. Bring a couple of inches of salted water to a boil – you don’t need as much as you would for pasta. Add in zucchini and let boil about 1 minute, 15 seconds. Pour into colander and serve immediately. Top with trapanese pesto. Sprinkle on Parmesan.