Growing up, I was a pasta addict.
Fettucine alfredo, linguine aglio olio, baked ziti – I just couldn’t quit the stuff. Heck, I still have dreams about it. Sadly, pasta doesn’t have much to offer in the nutrition department. If I eat it, I find myself ravenous afterwards because the lack of protein just doesn’t fill me up. This dish is a fantastic pasta substitute.
Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s pretty darn close. Zucchini is so mild in flavor that it works well with whatever seasoning or sauce you might add to it. Back in my pasta days, this was my favorite way to prepare it.
Sauté some garlic in olive oil. Toss in the zucchini. Top with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. It’s pretty much bulletproof. Just don’t forget the all important step of sweating the zucchini in salt prior to boiling, it’s what gives you that pasta-like texture. Serve with a side of grilled chicken or fish. Add marinara or meat sauce if it strikes your fancy. You’ll never give pasta another thought!
- 1 medium zucchini, peeled with julienne peeler (for spaghetti-like noodles)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, or other seasoning to taste
- Peel zucchini with julienne peeler, place in colander, and toss with 1/4 tsp salt.
- Let zucchini sit for 20 minutes.
- Set pot of water on stove to boil while the zucchini sweats.
- Remove zucchini from colander and pat dry with paper towels, absorbing as much liquid as possible.
- Add zucchini to boiling water, cooking for only 2-3 minutes, and drain.
- Sauté minced garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil in zucchini pot until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Toss in zucchini, and cook for 1 minute.
- Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.
Serves 1, but can easily be multiplied.
If you don’t have a julienne peeler, feel free to use a regular peeler. You’ll get more fettucine-like noodles, and may have to increase cooking time a bit.
Does anyone else have any substitutes for pasta that they like? I’ve seen brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta, and recently heard about black bean pasta. Any thoughts on how these substitutes compare to the real thing?