What is a life without pasta, am I right? It would be a sad thing indeed. And a bowl of pasta with a good marinara sauce is such a simple and happy food. The only downside? I personally gain five pounds when I so much as see the word pasta on a menu. Others of you I know have issues with gluten, or rightfully hate the cardboard taste of whole wheat pasta. Yes, it's a cruel, cruel world we live in. So what is a person to do who dreams of eating pasta everyday while proudly squeezing into a tiny bikini? The answer is Zoodles. Zucchini noodles that is.
I was skeptical of zucchini noodles at first because I don't particularly like the taste of cooked zucchini, (it tastes like fishy rotten garbage to me.) I also am not a huge fan of spaghetti squash, (soggy) and all those lovely pastas made with grain alternatives like quinoa and brown rice still have that high-carb weight gain effect on me as regular pasta. But then I got a spiralizer and discovered zucchini anew! This tool costs like $13 and works great on zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, etc to make beautiful angel hair-like tendrils. I mean, come on, here is one for $8, just get one. They are the most fun kitchen tool ever! (By the way, I have no affiliation to any brand, I just did a quick google search and found this one, buy any spiralizer you like!)
I have been making zoodles almost every single day for lunch and just tossing them in different kinds of sauces to change it up. (If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you will find a 'Category' drop down menu. Select the category of "Sauces, Dressings, and Marinades" and you will find 20 other sauce recipes!) Zucchinis are the perfect weight-loss food. They have a high water content and only 33 calories each, plus tons of vitamin C. Eating a big bowl of zucchini noodles is a great way to feel full and satisfied while burning fat. I am definitely seeing the difference on the scale.
There are two ways you can eat zoodles- raw or cooked. Because I live in the 100 degree weather of Los Angeles and I love raw food, I tend to just eat them raw. They have a little crunch and the high content of water makes me feel full. However, you can also heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and toss them with tongs till they are hot and softened. This is where they REALLY take on the roll of pasta as the texture transforms in the pan
The same thing goes for my marinara sauce. This sauce is geared toward those who strive to eat a largely raw food diet, because we all know how good for you raw veggies are! However, this sauce heats up beautifully and works great on pizza or in lasagna too.
Maybe you're thinking to yourself, zucchini noodles and marinara? Sounds boring. So you want to take it to the next level? You really wanna go for that red, white, and green, monster bowl of Italian deliciousness? Try adding some vegan alfredo and pesto sauce to your marinara zoodles for an incredibly creamy and satisfying meal.
Zucchini Spaghetti with Marinara
Makes 2 servings
6 medium zucchinis, peeled and spiralized
makes about 1.5 cups
6 roma tomatoes, with tough stem ends removed
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and then drained
6 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 sprig each of parsley, basil, and oregano
1 medjool date, pitted
After spiralizing the zucchinis, sprinkle a little salt on them and set them aside in a colander over a bowl or in the sink. They release a lot of water, which can dilute the sauce, so I like to let them drain for a bit, and right before serving a give them a little squeeze to release the moisture.
Combine all the marinara ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. So easy!
Ready to take it to the next level?
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
makes a little over 1.5 cups
1 cups raw cashews, soaked for a few hours in a bowl of water to soften. Rinsed and drained
1 tbs nutritional yeast
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4-1/2 tsp salt depending on your preference
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbs olive oil
a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup water
optional: 1 clove garlic
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until very, very smooth. If it's not smooth enough, add another tablespoon or two of water until you get a perfectly smooth consistency.
And finally, the pesto recipe can be found right here!