There’s nothing more comforting than a warm plate of pasta—and nothing more iconic than slurping strands of spaghetti (Lady and the Tramp style). But if you struggle to digest this classic carbohydrate, there’s a new way to enjoy a hearty Italian dish, sans wheat, gluten, or guilt.
Spiralized zucchini is the perfect alternative to traditional pasta. In some ways, it’s even better! Zucchini, a member of the summer squash family, is known for balancing blood sugar and reducing inflammation. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may also help prevent cancer.
This simple recipe features fresh Mediterranean ingredients bursting with flavor. The result is a light and elegant meal you can enjoy for lunch or dinner. To make it heartier, serve it with a protein source, such as chicken, fish, goat cheese, or ricotta cheese.
Spiralized Zucchini with Garlic, Peppers, and Tomatoes
Total: 00:25 Prep: 00:05 Cook: 00:20
Servings: 2 (1 cup) servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
¾ pound grape tomatoes, halved
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 large zucchini, spiralized with a thick blade
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic, stirring constantly until golden brown, about 30 seconds.
2. Reduce heat to low, and add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Cover and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 15 minutes.
3. Increase heat to medium-high, and add the zucchini and basil. Fold the zucchini “noodles” into the tomatoes until the noodles soften, no more than 2 minutes. Remove from heat and plate immediately.
4. Garnish with basil and pine nuts and serve.
- Spiralized Zucchini with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese. Once plated, crumble about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese over the zucchini noodles.
- Spiralized Zucchini with Tomatoes and Peppers. Once the garlic is golden brown, add the peppers at the same time as the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper (step 2).
- Spiralized Zucchini with Tomatoes and Arugula. Once the tomatoes soften (step 2), add 3 cups of arugula to the pan. Stir constantly until wilted. Then, add the zucchini and basil (step 3), and proceed as directed.
Just like in an Italian pasta dish, this recipe is best with an al dente zucchini “noodle.” Once in the sauté pan, keep a close watch on the zucchini—two minutes of heat is more than enough time for the vegetable to soften to the perfect noodle texture. Remove from heat and plate immediately. The longer the noodles stay in the pan, the longer they’ll cook, producing more moisture and thus, mushy noodles.
Summer squashes like zucchini aid in sugar metabolism and stability. Composed of fiber, B-complex vitamins, and other essential nutrients, squash can help balance blood sugar and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
For those who want to boost energy, decrease cravings, and minimize sugar spikes and crashes, trade your refined wheat products (like white pasta) with veggie-based alternatives like this spiralized zucchini. Note how you feel right after eating and even a few hours later.
Spiralizing zucchini is as easy as having the right tool. I love my Paderno World Cuisine Vegetable Spiral Slicer. To spiralize the zucchini: Wash your vegetable and cut the ends off. Place the vegetable next to the blade and spin. No need to peel or salt the zucchini—doing so takes time and results in soggy noodles.