How to make delicious and fresh summer zoodles
Pasta’s arch nemesis
Summertime dining is all about fresh produce, bright flavors and clean eating. One of my all-time favorite dishes is pesto pasta. This comfort food is well-suited for the colder months, but I decided to shake it up and make my own version that is a bit more summery — pesto zoodles.
I was coming home one night and desperately craved a healthy but familiar dish. I walked into Food Lion and saw two beautiful, organic zucchinis sitting on a display. I knew our spiralizer hadn’t seen any action in a few weeks, so I decided to build a recipe that was healthy, refreshing and new to me.
Zoodles, or zucchini noodles, are thin, spiral shavings of zucchini made with a spiralizer kitchen tool. If you don’t have access to a spiralizer but still want to try this delicious and healthy pasta alternative, Wegmans offers spiralized zucchini that is ready to cook.
Zoodles are much lower in calories and carbs than traditional pasta. They are also gluten free and contain healthy vitamins and minerals. Zucchinis are high in potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6. By choosing zoodles over pasta, you’re giving your body essential nutrients and cutting carbs and calories.
I hadn’t cooked zoodles by myself before — only eaten them — so this was a bit of a guessing game for me. The good thing is zoodles are pretty much foolproof. They can be eaten raw with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper or, as I prefer, cooked with some fun add-ins.
The purpose of cooking zoodles is to use heat to soften them up and improve the texture. This means that the time guidelines for cooking them are pretty relaxed. One benefit to cooking the zoodles is they release a lot of natural juices, which can serve as a flavorful broth or marinade. This is wonderful, especially for leftover zoodles, as they will soak in this flavor in the fridge and taste even better the next time.
For this simple recipe you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 cups spiralized zucchini (two medium-sized zucchinis)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- Salt and pepper to taste
You will also need a frying pan, measuring spoons and a garlic press or sharp knife.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in your frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the garlic to the pan and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Dry the spiralized zoodles with a paper towel to draw out excess moisture.
- Add the zoodles to the pan and season with salt and pepper (they will shrink as they cook so don’t worry if it looks like a lot).
- Cook the zoodles for around 10 minutes until they become soft and release juice.
- Add the halved tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften.
- Add pesto and mix well.
This is a great, guilt-free take on a classic favorite. This dish leaves you feeling fresh and healthy. To feel full you’ll need to eat quite a lot, but this is a perfect light lunch or afternoon snack.