Do you love pasta? Who doesn’t. Hearty and delicious, it’s the ultimate comfort food. And while I appreciate a small bowl of pasta from time to time, I usually look for ways to lighten up the heavy dish with a few simple swaps. What’s an easy way to eat pasta sans the grains, gluten, and guilt? Answer: zucchini!
Yes, zucchini noodles prove that you can make an otherwise indulgent dish healthy with just one minor tweak. Though you can’t truly replace the real deal, the texture and taste of cooked zucchini noodles sure do make for a delicious substitute. Not to mention, it’s a wise swap for those with certain dietary restrictions.
The key to a good fork full of a veggie-based pasta is that spiral shape. I’ve found that having a “vegetable spiralizer” (such as this one) in my arsenal of kitchen tools comes in handy for just this type of occasion. Not only does it make killer zucchini noodles with only a twist of the wrist, but it’s also great for cutting up other julienne-style vegetables and garnishes. Of course there are fancier gadgets on the market, but I find this humble tool works well enough for my needs.
A creamy avocado-basil sauce is the perfect accompaniment for zucchini pasta–it’s rich, fresh, and bright in taste as well as color. Between you and me, it tastes fantastic on just about anything! For another way to elevate this health-conscious pasta dish, prepare it with a side of roasted vegetables and grilled chicken. Or, add meatballs to keep things traditional.
Zucchini Pasta with Avocado Sauce
Makes: about 2-4 servings
For the pasta:
For the Sauce:
-1 ripe avocado
-2 cloves garlic
-about 1/2 cup basil
-juice from 1 small lemon
-about 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used non-fat, but feel free to use the real deal!)
-salt and pepper to taste
*Note: recipe is for zucchini pasta with avocado sauce. I added baked chicken and tomatoes to complete the dish. Go ahead and add your choice of protein (like grilled chicken or turkey meatballs) and other toppings (like roasted corn, asparagus, or mushrooms) to the pasta for a complete and satisfying meal!
1. Coat a pan with oil and place over medium heat. With a vegetable spiralizer, slice the zucchinis into noodles. Place the zucchini noodles into the pan, and cook until just slightly tender (about 3-5 minutes).
2. Transfer zucchini noodles from the pan to a strainer and let them sit. Drain the excess moisture.
3. Place scooped out avocado, garlic, basil, lemon, and yogurt into a food processor and blend until thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse a few more times. Place sauce in large mixing bowl.
4. Take the zucchini noodles from the strainer and place them into the bowl containing the avocado sauce. Mix with a set of tongs until thoroughly combined.
5. Add your favorite proteins and vegetables.
Are you a fan of zucchini pasta? Share your recipe and tips here! As always, happy cooking.