Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eat: Zucchini Noodles with Romesco Sauce (vegan, gluten-free, paleo)

One word: CARBS!
When I'm in a bad mood or I come home after a long day, I just want to stick a pot on the stove and throw some pasta in.  It's comforting, easy to make and change up with different sauces and vegetables. For this vegetarian, pasta is my weakness.

But of course, it's not exactly nutritious or beneficial in any way.  A cup of pasta with sauce is about 200 calories (don't quote me on that) and let's face it...we're definitely going to go back for seconds.  In an effort to cut out gluten from my life (I'm pretty sure I'm intolerant to gluten since I get headaches and stomach aches afterward and also, it makes me very sleepy) and eat less carbohydrates (buh-bye bread, I'll miss you so), I knew I had to replace pasta in my life so when I did crave it, I could substitute a healthier option.

I bought this spiralizer, hoping to make gluten-free zucchini noodles--or zoodles if you want to sound like a five year old. And good news!  It was delicious.  I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it tastes like spaghetti because it doesn't.  I can tell I'm eating a vegetable but since it's thin and has a nice bite to it, it's very satisfying in it's own way.  I like to dress it up with sauces, like this romesco one (recipe below) and top it with fresh basil and feta (omit if you're vegan or paleo, obviously).  You can enjoy this raw but I like to put it in a big pan with a drizzle of olive oil and let it cook for a bit. 

For the Noodles:

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • vegetable spiralizer
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • basil (optional)
  • feta cheese (optional)

  1. Cut each end of the zucchini before fitting it onto the spiralizer.  Follow the instructions for your equipment and make sure you fit the right blade for spaghetti-type cuts.  This part is the easiest and you should have perfect noodles in just a few minutes!
  2. Add the olive oil to a large frying pan.  Add the noodles and saute for 5-10 mins.  The noodles will release some liquids.  I find it better to drain the noodles and then add them back to the pot to continue cooking.  Add salt (and any other spices you like).
  3. Remove from heat and smother in your favorite sauce and cheese!

For the Romesco Sauce:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup whole, raw almonds
  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled (or sub. asafoetida powder)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon any vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Turn on gas stove and place a red bell pepper over the flame, using tongs to rotate the pepper as it chars. Char on all sides of the pepper then set aside to cool. Once cooled, place under cold water, peel off the black skin and remove the stem and seeds. Set aside for later.
  3. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add cherry tomatoes, almonds, and garlic clove. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes, remove almonds from baking sheet then put the sheet back in the oven to roast for another 15 minutes.
  4. Once tomatoes have roasted and slightly exploded, place the roasted red pepper, tomatoes, almonds, garlic clove, and the rest of the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor and puree until smooth: about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the sauce to your zucchini noodles and garnish with fresh basil and feta cheese.  Enjoy!

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