Buon giorno Fit Diva
I am still recalling all the wonderful magical moments from last weeks vacation to Italy! This time, more of the south region. Flew into Naples, Italy from Naples, Florida. Kinda cool!! Then onto Sorrento, Positano, Ravello and back to Naples. Along with an unforgettable boat ride to Capri one day and the Almafi Coast another.
Oh….and this fit diva also got engaged!!!!!!!!!! WHAT?! 😍😍😍😍
So, back to reality, back on track with the diva diet and back to creating new diva-licious ideas.
Since my mind is savoring the Italian foods, lets discuss another alternative to pasta.
Even though zucchini noodles AKA Zoodles have been a hot topic to replace wheat pasta I feel as though so many still don’t know they existed or how to make them or prepare them.
They have been a game changer at least once a week for a lower carb, more fiber filled dinner option. For both Ernie and I and then the kids as well! I feel like if you get them involved, it doesn’t seem so “healthy” but a fun new way to have pasta.
I have created so many different combos with spices, oils, lean proteins and sauces with zoodles. It is truly easy and super diva-licious.
How to Create Zoodles
Honestly, with my busy crazy long fit diva days, I buy them already zoodled at publix or whole foods. Still fresh and crisp. I must admit, the are good, but it is so much better when I spiral them myself.
Unless it’s a weekend to spiral my own, I use this convenient form during the week. There are several ways to make zoodles. My 2 fav are:
Spiralizer. Found this fun tool at Sur la Tab. Now, you can get on amazon. Easy to use and wash and…it FUN! I think $50. I have had mine for years.
Chop off the ends of the zucchini, wash, dry and place into spiralizer. Place some pressure between the 2 ends and spiral away.
Julienne Peeler. The great thing about a Julienne peeler is that you likely already have one in your kitchen. Win! A julienne peeler frequently does double duty with a vegetable peeler. One side juliennes, the other side slices. And that’s perfect for when you want thick, flat slices of zucchini pasta. The single biggest benefit of a julienne peeler is that it’s small. It takes up virtually no space in your kitchen and will most likely reside in your utensil drawer.
The noodles don’t come out spiral and fun but it still tastes as good and cooks up as good.
Ways to Prepare Spiral Veggies
The best way to get the crispness, most al dente noodles? Keep them raw. Yep, that means no cooking whatsoever. Spiralize, mix with your favorite ingredients and serve. Not only is raw the easiest and fastest method, but the noodles are just as delicious cold as they are warm. Think of raw cucumber – you don’t need to cook that to eat it do you? Cold zucchini noodles are no difference.
Add your favorite sauce and lean protein and voila.
Sauce: Make a creamy mashed avocado, greek yogurt, garlic sauce.
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- S & P to taste
Mix well and stir into 1 spiraled veggie (zucchini, squash or sweet pot)
*if buying already spiraled, 1 cup
Top with either pulled chicken breast or your favorite beans
If you’re already cooking on the stove top, sautéing your noodles may be the easiest. Just add one tablespoon of olive oil or avocado oil to a pan and sauté for 1-2 minutes. This is a perfect cooking method if you’re making a ground turkey or beef sauce.
Zoodles & Meat Sauce Another Diva-licious Italian style meal. Making zucchini into noodles keeps the carbs & calories lower at night yet still satisfies the taste for pasta
- 2 large zucchini
- Olive or avocado oil
- 1lbs of 90% or higher lean beef or turkey
- 1 can no salt added diced tomato
- Chopped onion, mushrooms
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic (1 for zoodles 1 for meat)
- Italian spices (oregano, sea salt, pepper, parsley) to taste
- Fresh Basil
- Parmesan Cheese
Zoodles: Use a veggie zoodle to create noodles. (target, sur la table) OR buy them already zoodled at whole foods or publix
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan.
Add zucchini noodles, salt, pepper and garlic to pan.
Stir for 3-5 minutes until noodles are tender.
Meat Sauce: Saute mushrooms and onions first in oil. (spray or pour 1-2 tsp) for 3-5 minutes. Add beef, tomatoes and spices and start to break up the beef. Cook 7-9 minutes or until beef is cooked. Let simmer on low for an additional 5 min. Remove from heat.
Now, place a serving of meat sauce over zoodles, top with parmesan and chopped fresh basil! SUPER SIMPLE and tasty!
Serve with a large raw spinach and tomato salad with balsamic.
Baking zucchini noodles is the method I use the least as it’s the most time-consuming and labor-intensive. At first, I thought the noodles would be crisper and more spaghetti-like, but the difference is negligible. For the added time and energy, I much prefer any of the other methods.
But if you want to give it a go, preheat your oven to 200 degrees fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a paper towel and evenly distribute your noodles on top. Then, sprinkle with sea salt. The sea salt helps to draw out the moisture while the paper towel soaks it up. And no, the paper towel won’t catch fire at such a low temperature. Cook for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the oven and gently squeeze the noodles in the paper towel to wring out any additional water.
After making, eating and cooking zucchini noodles for several years I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- If you’re using my favorite spiralizer to make your noodles, you’ll end up with SUPER long strands, which I LOVE! In order to more easily serve your guests, just use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip through some of the strands.
- Make your zoodles ahead of time! This the best time-saving tip. After you’ve spiralized several zucchini, line a large plastic or glass storage container with a paper towel, add your noodles and place in the refrigerator. They’ll stay fresh for 2-3 days.
- Larger zucchini are easier to spiralize and will yield more noodles. For serving sizes, plan on one medium zucchini per person.
- To peel or not to peel the zucchini? I don’t peel the zucchini before spiralizing as I love the added green color in my dish and extra nutrients it provides, like dietary fiber.
More than Zoodles…
Don’t forget to make zucchini ribbons and spiralize lots of other veggies, such as carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato & beets Get creative and expand your taste buds.
- Create beautiful salad bowls with these fun noodles. Truly endless combos.
- We all could use more veggies and fiber in our fit diva diet.
Also there are now frozen veggie spirals at most grocery stores. However, I personally didn’t enjoy the outcome. Not as firm and crisp.
Savory Mediterranean Zoodles
Low carb, low-fat, less salt comfort dish…Yes please!!
- 1 1/2 lbs. (about 3 medium) zucchini
- 2 slices turkey bacon or lean bacon
- 2-3 tsp. chopped garlic
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes no salt added
- 3 tbsp. sliced pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 tbsp. capers, drained
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1 oz Feta
Using a spiral vegetable slicer, cut zucchini into spaghetti-like noodles. (If you don’t have a spiral veggie slicer, peel zucchini into thin strips, rotating the zucchini after each strip.)
Bring an extra-large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Cook and stir zucchini until hot and slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a strainer, and thoroughly drain excess liquid.
Remove skillet from heat. Clean, if needed. Re-spray, and bring to medium heat. Add chopped bacon, garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until garlic is fragrant and browned, about 1 minute.
Add crushed tomatoes, olives, and capers to the skillet. Cook and stir until hot, about 2 minutes.
Add basil and drained zucchini. Cook and stir until hot and well mixed, 3 – 4 minutes.
MAKES 2-3 SERVINGS
Add your favorite lean protein for a complete meal.
Until Next Time Fit Diva
For more visit my website at www.BellaDivaFitness.com
Laura DalSanto | BellaDiva Fitness | firstname.lastname@example.org