Ingredient of the Week: Zucchini

I can’t seem to get enough of zucchini lately. For one thing, it’s in season, which I love for a bunch of reasons:

-I know my food isn’t coming from some far-off land
-Because it’s local it doesn’t need crazy chemicals to stop it from ripening while in transit
-I’m supporting local farmers
-Eating seasonally forces me to expand my food horizons, and try produce that I wouldn’t normally buy

It’s Versatile
As I posted a couple weeks ago you can use it as a substitute for avocado to lower the calorie-count of guacamole, it can be used (along with a couple handfuls of spinach) as a substitute for a can of chickpeas in hummus, it makes a great addition to homemade pasta sauce, and can be used in homemade bread or muffin recipes.

I recently discovered a unique, delicious way to eat zucchini – they’re called zoodles. No, they’re not the zoodles from the can that you ate as a child. I actually made “noodles” by putting zucchini in a spiral slicer and out came zoodles!* I also made a delicious pad-thai/peanut sauce to go with them. It was totally experimental, but turned out great. *You can also slice the zucchini with a vegetable peeler, and than slice the slices into noodles – not as easy, but does the job.

Low in Calories, High in Nutrients
Zucchini is also really low in calories, and high in vitamins and minerals. If you love pad thai & asian flavors, but want a healthy version without all the calories, sugar & fat – try this version instead. You’ll love it.

Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai

2 tbsp. grapeseed or sesame oil
2 medium zucchinis
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp. chili flakes
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (timesaver: from jar)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup organic chicken stock (any liquid will work, ex. water, white wine)
3 tbsp. natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
2 tbsp. organic tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 lime, juiced or ¼ cup lime juice
1 egg
1 cup bean sprouts
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh cilantro or basil chopped
Sesame seeds or chopped peanuts for garnish

Using a spiral slicer, make your zoodles. If using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, slice the zucchinis lengthwise.

Slice the slices into thin strips, just like the shape of a linguini noodle. Set your zoodles aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat (add in 1 tsp. chilli flakes to flavour the oil), and sauté onion & red pepper for a few minutes. Add in garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the vinegar, chicken stock, nut butter, coconut sugar, tamari & lime juice, and season with fresh ground pepper. Stir to combine.

Crack the egg into the pan and cook until just scrambled.

Add the zoodles to the pan and stir them around so they get covered in the sauce. Continue cooking zoodles for about 10 minutes until they are warm & slightly cooked or al dente. Add the bean sprouts, and stir to incorporate into the sauce (they add a nice, crunchy texture to the dish).

Garnish with sesame seeds or chopped peanuts and serve immediately. This dish can be served as is or you can add shrimp or organic chicken. Enjoy!


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