When I first heard that people were making noodles from zucchini’s I thought they were either terribly desperate or had lost their minds.
And yet here we are. If you are reading this you too must be wondering if I have lost my mind or else you have heard of this growing trendy-pasta-imposter thing and want to learn more.
If you or a loved one you cook for is having trouble either with digesting glutenous foods (or maybe just pasta) or perhaps are trying to lose weight, then making zucchini pasta is a way to get around this and still have something to eat with your meatballs. (Which we had just last night and I didn’t think to take any pics, sorry)
I have heard of mixing half zucchini and half regular pasta to cut carbs, but we went all the way and you know what? It really works!
Zucchini lends very little flavor of its own to whatever dish you are making and holds its shape, making it the ideal pasta substitute.
I am no expert in zucchini pasta but I will share what I have learned.
First, you need some kind of tool. I use a julienne peeler from Pampered Chef. It makes the stringy noodles you see above. It looks like I peeled the zucchini for this batch, but usually I do not. I just start running the julienne peeler down one side of the longest zucchini you can find, slicing it over and over until you reach the seeds. Then STOP!
Turn the vegy over so the flat side is down and start slicing again on the opposite side, until you reach the seeds, then STOP. Now start on another side and so on.
There are spiral slicers you can use to make flat spiral pastas. There are hand crank slicers that you can put zucchini in and they will make long round “pastas” out of them by going around the zucchini instead of just down its length, making much longer pasta. It’s on my Amazon wish list as we speak.
You could even just use a vegetable peeler and peel off thin slices of zucchini to make a type of ribbon “pasta”.
Now zucchini is a very wet vegetable even if it doesn’t feel like it. You will want to drain the excess moisture off. There are lots of ways people do this. One is to slice it, salt it and let it sit in a strainer for a while, like 10 minutes or so. Then wrap in paper towels or cloth towels and wring the dickens out of it. Then, oddly enough, you can put it in boiling water to cook, just like regular pasta, but not for long. I don’t understand that completely. Some people bake theirs on a low setting until dried out a bit.
Usually I just either cook it for 2-3 minutes in the microwave, drain it, then cook it a bit more in the sauce or I saute it, cooking out the water and cooking until tender, then adding sauce. However you decide to cook it, just don’t over do. Especially with the julienne peeled ones. They are very thin and if you over cook them, they might just break apart.
I usually make this with a tomato and meatball sauce but have also made a garlic, oil and Parmesan sauce for a nice side dish to go with maybe steak, instead of pasta or potatoes. Plus there are scads of recipes on the web using this type of “pasta”. Pretty much anything you can imagine.
There are lots of blogs out there showing how to make this type of psudo pasta too. Here are a couple of my fav’s:
Here are some visuals from Nom Nom Paloe, an award-winning site.
Danielle Walker who wrote “Against All Grain” has a blog where she video’s herself making pasta out of zucchini. I tell you, it makes you want to run out and get a hand crank spiral slicer and a bushel of zucchini. Come to think of it though, zucchini pasta probably doesn’t freeze well, so maybe not a bushel. I wonder if you can dry them like regular pasta? Dehydrate them? Should I try it and start a business selling dried zucchini pasta?
I have her book Against All Grain on our Kindle and have relied on it for several meals. She has an awesome Thai “Peanut” vinaigrette recipe I made with a broccoli slaw the other day. I will post my variation of it later on. She doesn’t use peanuts thought because as a legume, they are not eaten on a paleo diet. I guess they are hard to digest for many people, not counting those with allergies. I want to try her ginger-garlic broccoli in the hopes of actually liking broccoli. (which so far has only happened when it is raw, such as in broccoli salad and slaw). And we all loved her barbecue bacon burgers with rosemary-garlic mushrooms.
I also made a variation of her wonderful Thai coconut soup (tom kha gai). I never knew you could have so much fun making soup with coconut milk! Its my new favorite thing. This soup was, as my sister would say, “The bomb!” That post will be next. You’ve got to try it!
Let me know how your pasta noodles work for you!