On the Paleo diet, pasta is a no-no. I am a huge pasta lover so for me this was difficult to give up. I gave up bread fairly easily, although I have found a pretty good substitute bread recipe but pasta was always my go-to comfort food. I tried the spaghetti squash and although it is very good, and I do eat it often, but it does not trick my brain into thinking I am eating pasta. Then I discovered zucchini pasta noodles.
Zucchini pasta is so easy, cheap and best of all, makes you think you are really eating pasta because it has the right size, color and texture. I tried it for the first time last night and now I am in love with this stuff! I had my Roasted Tomato and Hot Sausage sauce over a big serving of zucchini noodles and I was as happy as a pig in…you know. It was a very satisfying Paleo meal that I did not have to feel guilty about and I could eat as much as I wanted.
I left the green skin on my zucchini but if you peeled it before you julienne it I bet you would not even be able to tell is is not real pasta.
Zucchini Pasta Noodles
What you will need:
1 medium zucchini per person
grater or mandolin or julienne peeler
You do not want to use a back and forth grating action as you normally would when grating cheese or cabbage or you will end up with shredded zucchini. Instead you want to make long sweeps the full length of the zucchini with firm pressure to generate very long slender zucchini pasta noodles. If you are using a box grater, it is easiest to do this if you lay the grater on it’s side with the coarsest blade on top. This allows you to apply pressure to the zucchini as you are grating it. I usually just place my hand over the zucchini and firmly press down as I slide the veg over the grater. Be careful though! You don’t want to grate your hand too. The last thin bit I set aside to chop up in salads so I don’t risk cutting myself.
If you don’t have a grater, mandolin or julienne peeler you can use a knife to cut thin lengthwise slices and then cut those into long strips.
Once you have your zucchini noodles cut, all you have to do is bring a pot of salted water to boil, drop your noodles into the water and cook for one minute. Don’t overcook these noodles. I skip the boiling and drop them right into the pasta sauce instead to cook in the sauce for a minute. This also helps retain all the vitamins.
Oh, and you can also use zucchini as your lasagna noodles too! Just thinly slice the zucchini and layer it the same way you would any lasagna recipe. The super-nice thing is that you do not have to boil your noodles first. Just layer the zucchini noodles between layers of sauce, cheese (if you use it) and other goodies and pop it in the oven. Pretty easy really.
So if you are on a Paleo or gluten-free diet and you have a hankering for a big bowl of yummy pasta..go for it! You seriously cannot go wrong with zucchini pasta noodles.
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