Zucchini pasta (sometimes known as zucchini noodles or zucchini spaghetti) is one of the most popular alternatives to its traditional counterpart. Not only does it contribute an eighth of the carbs and an eighth of the calories of regular spaghetti or pasta, but it is incredibly rich in flavour and adds another delicious vegetable element to your dish. Zucchini pasta can even be eaten cooked or raw, making them it an incredibly versatile lunch and dinner option.
There are a few ways to make zucchini noodles, all of which are really easy:
- Use a vegetable peeler: peel around the zucchini until you reach the seeds to create long, thin strips. If opt for this method, you can control the width of your strips.
- Use a julienne peeler: this requires the same technique as above. Simply peel around the zucchini until you reach the seeds. The main difference is that the stripes will be thinner.
- Slice the zucchini using a mandolin, which has a julienne setting (or the thinnest setting available on the mandolin). Once you’ve done this, you’ll just need to cut the slices into noodles.
- Use a spiral vegetable slicer. This is one of the easiest methods (you just have to buy one!). Simply put the zucchini in the slicer and turn the handle. It does the rest for you.
Once you’ve chopped your zucchini into pasta-like shapes, you’ll need to:
- Place the zucchini strips into a colander and sprinkle them with salt to remove some of the moisture that naturally occurs in zucchini
- Let the zucchini drain for around 20 minutes, pressing down on the zucchini every now and then to remove the liquid.
After the zucchini pasta is made, there are a number of traditional dishes than can be altered to fit your new noodles! We’ve included below a couple of sauces that pair nicely with zucchini.
Zucchini Pesto Pasta
This is one of the easiest and most simple recipes for zucchini noodles, perfect for first timers or when time is of the essence!
- 2 large zucchini
- ⅔ x cup of your favourite pesto (whether it’s homemade or store bought)
- 1 x cup cherry tomatoes
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Make your Zucchini noodles as per the directions above.
- Toss the zucchini noodles in the pesto, and add the cherry tomatoes. Garnish with fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste. Simple!
Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs
Who says comfort food can’t be healthy? Plus, just because you are swapping traditional pasta for a healthy alternative, doesn’t mean you have to skip the meat! Spaghetti and meatballs is a family favourite the world-over – customise yours with some Zucchini spaghetti.
- 500g x lean mince beef
- 1 x onion, browned
- 125g x ricotta
- 200g x baby spinach, chopped, wilted in a pan
- ½ cup parsley, fresh chopped
- 1 x egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 x tbs olive oil
- 4 x cups passata
- 6 x zucchini
- 2 x tbs basil pesto
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Place beef, ricotta, onion, spinach, egg, parsley, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly until well combined.
- Roll mixture into meatballs. Coat each meatball in a little olive oil (or spray lightly with cooking spray), and place on a deep oven-proof tray lined with baking paper. Make sure not to place the balls too close together. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Cover meatballs with the passata.
- Place tray bake in the oven, and cook for another 20 minutes until the passata is bubbling.
- Make your zucchini noodles as per the directions above.
- Sauté your noodles with the pesto.
- Top your zucchini noodles with the meatballs and passata.