Zoodle Salad with Balsamic Tomatoes and Basil

Tomato Basil Salad on Zucchini Noodles 2014Having a garden is amazing and rewarding and to actually eat things that I planted just weeks ago gets me excited every single time. There is something truly fulfilling and gratifying and I can’t wait to experiment with other vegetables next year. This year, however, the learning piece has included zucchini plants. I had a bit of a debate with the person at the nursery where I purchased my little seedlings about how many to plant together because the little stick said to plant two. My neighbors have since smiled…and locked their doors. Apparently, they don’t want to share in my bounty! 😉

I am not intimidated, though, since I have a million ways to prepare zucchini. And a spiral slicer, which helps immensely. Zoodles rule and I really can’t imagine getting sick of them so you might see a few more recipes over the course of the summer. I hope they serve as launching pads for your own ideas and that you’ll share whatever magic you are making happen in your own kitchen!

Zoodle Salad with Balsamic Tomatoes and Basil

3-4 zucchini

1 Tbsp. salt

1 c. tomatoes, chopped

6 kalamata olives

1 tsp. pinenuts, toasted

2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

small clove of garlic

1/3 c. fresh basil chiffonade

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Spiral slice or julienne the zucchini and place in a strainer over the sink. Toss with salt and allow to sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse well and cut into shorter zoodles, if necessary.

2) In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, oil, and garlic and set aside.

3) Place zucchini in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, and basil. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well to combine.

4) Chill the salad for about 15 minutes, then add pepper and additional salt, if desired. Enjoy!

Serves 2

*Note: The proportions in this salad are totally flexible. Use what you have and what you like!

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Zesty Zoodles with Wilted Arugula

Zucchini and Arugula ZoodlesSpring brings a whole host of wonderful greens to eat. You can still get the hearty greens that were around in the winter like kale, collards, and chard, but you can also get a number of other greens that are a little more delicate and start showing up at this time of year. You can find arugula year-round too, but it’s usually bagged or boxed up. In the spring, you can often find it with the roots still attached, which I think is really lovely. There’s something about knowing that your greens came from the ground and that you need to put them in a tub of water and swish them around a bit that makes me appreciate them even more.

I have always liked adding greens to noodle dishes, but I sort of forgot about it since transitioning to zoodles. The other day I started thinking about tossing some in with my zucchini noodles, and I was not disappointed. Sticking with a simple treatment that mellows the arugula a bit and goes well with zucchini was my goal. I happen to love the peppery bite of arugula, but if it’s a bit too spicy for you, then grab a handful of baby spinach. I’m sure that would be just perfect in this.

Zesty Zoodles with Wilted Arugula

2 medium zucchini

1 yellow squash

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper

1/2 a bunch of arugula, about 3 oz. or 4 cups

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 Tbsp. chives

salt and pepper

Directions

1) Julienne the zucchini and yellow squash or put it through a zoodler. Place in a strainer over the sink and salt generously. Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Rinse and shake dry.

2) Rinse and dry the arugula (it’s okay if some water remains on the leaves) and roughly tear into large bite-sized pieces.

3) Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and Aleppo pepper. When they are fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the zucchini noodles to the pan and toss to distribute the oil and garlic throughout. Cook for about 8 minutes, continuing to toss. Once cooked to your liking, add the arugula and toss with tongs until wilted, about 2 minutes.

4) Remove from the heat and add lemon zest, chives, additional teaspoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2-3

Zoodles and Eggs

Zoodles with eggs 2014This is my comfort food. There is something incredibly soul-satisfying about a bowl of simple noodles, or in this case, zoodles. They are perfect for any time of day – even if you think you don’t have enough time. Trust me! It’s remarkable just how quickly these come together. In fact, I make them all the time for breakfast, but they’re delicious and wonderful at any time. They even make a great snack! If you have more than ten minutes, it’s great to let the salted zucchini noodles sweat out some of their moisture, but if you only have five minutes, don’t let that stop you from making these. There will be a little extra moisture to cook off, but they’ll still taste great! These are incredibly versatile too – add a dollop of pesto, throw in some chopped herbs, add sliced sundried tomatoes…lots of options. I’ll get around to trying a bunch of variations one day, but for now, I just keep making these. Simple.

Zoodles and Eggs

1 zucchini

salt

2 tsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 eggs

pepper

Directions

1) Julienne a zucchini either with a spiral slicer (like this) or a julienne peeler. Place the zoodles in a colander and salt generously, a teaspoon or two. Let rest for as long as you have, but even 5 minutes will help draw out some moisture.

2) Preheat a sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil, red pepper flakes, and crushed garlic. Allow to sizzle for a minute and become fragrant but not brown.

3) Rinse zucchini noodles thoroughly and add to the pan. Toss with the seasoned oil for about 3-5 minutes. When nearly done to your liking, they should still have a bit of bite to them, push them to the side and crack two eggs into the pan. Allow to cook a minute or two, crack some pepper over the eggs and zucchini, and begin to scramble the eggs in their half of the pan. When they are close to done, mix them thoroughly with the zucchini noodles and finish cooking.

4) Pour onto a plate or in a bowl, slice some avocado on the side, taste to adjust seasoning, and take a break from your busy day with these simple noodles.

Squash Noodles with Cilantro Pesto

Zoodles with Cilantro PestoMany of you know how much I love my Paderno Spiral Slicer. Since purchasing it, I haven’t missed noodles because I have them all. the. time. It is immensely satisfying to slurp up some delicious noodles with a variety of sauces. In this case, I was looking for a side dish to accompany some sausages and pesto is remarkably easy. There are so many different ways you can make pesto too – it’s not just for basil and pine nuts. In this case, I made a cilantro pesto because I love the fresh citrusy burst against the squash noodles. It makes my taste buds dance.

My husband loved this and my 8 year old gave it not quite a thumbs down. In my house, that translates to insanely good because if it’s green, it already has a hit against it, and if it’s zucchini, it’s a double hit. So I’d say this is a winner! I happen to find the combination of yellow and green noodles particularly attractive, but it’s totally unnecessary. You can use either color, but if you have company coming over, definitely use both. It’s beautiful.

Squash Noodles with Cilantro Pesto

2 zucchini

2 yellow squash

2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted, divided

1 bunch cilantro

1/4 tsp. lemon zest (from 1/2 a lemon)

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

3 Tbps. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Julienne or spiral-slice your squash. Place in a colander, sprinkle with 2 tsp. salt, and let sweat for about 20 minutes.

2) While your squash is sweating, prepare the sauce. Cut off most of the cilantro ends and place the cilantro in a food processor. Add lemon juice and zest, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts. Begin processing and add olive oil through the tube. Process until smooth and taste to adjust seasonings, adding more olive oil or lemon as needed. Set aside.

3) Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rinse squash well and shake. Add to hot pan with the water that clings to it and sauté for 3 minutes or until it is just tender to your liking.

4) Stir in about 1/4 c. pesto, or more if you like. (I saved the rest to add to my eggs the next day!)  Sprinkle with pine nuts, pepper to taste, and serve.

Serves 2 (but you can easily double the squash and use all the pesto)