Mediterranean zucchini noodles are sauteed with garlic, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts and then tossed with a rich sun-dried tomato cream sauce. This easy zucchini noodle recipe is packed full of flavor and is a healthy alternative to wheat pasta.
Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, have grown in popularity in recent years. Zucchini noodles are a grain free, low calorie, low carbohydrate alternative to regular wheat pasta. Zoodles can be sauteed, added to soups and eaten raw in salads. Zucchini by itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor, so it is perfect for sopping up sauces and dressings and takes on whatever flavors you pair it with.
Are Zucchini Noodles Healthy?
Zucchini is low in calories and high in nutrition, making it a healthy addition to your diet. One medium zucchini contains only 30 calories, and has 6 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and half a gram of fat. One medium zucchini also contains a good amount of your recommended daily values of other vitamins and minerals including 50% vitamin C, 15-20% of many B vitamins, 15% potassium, 8% magnesium and 7% phosphorous. This little vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse, and utterly delicious too!
A 2 ounce serving of whole wheat pasta contains approximately 200 calories and 43 grams of carbohydrates. And we all know we eat more than that 2 ounce serving when we’re eating pasta! You’d have to eat 7 zucchinis worth of zoodles to eat 200 calories! So, eat away without guilt and enjoy this easy gluten free pasta alternative.
How do I make Zoodles?
The best way to make zucchini noodles is using a spiralizer. There are lots of different spiralizers on the market, but generally you can buy a small handheld spiralizer or a larger counter top spiralizer.
The handheld spiralizers are more compact, require less setup and are easier to use. These are generally small enough to store in a kitchen drawer and are easy to clean. The downside is that they usually have a narrow opening for the vegetable and you can’t use larger produce like those giant zucchinis you grow in your garden. If you think you’ll spiralize more than a small zucchini or summer squash, a counter top spiralizer may be the way to go. Do a little research and find the one that will work best for you.
If you don’t want to invest in a spiralizer you can also use a vegetable peeler. This will give you zucchini ribbons instead of noodles, but they will still be delicious. If you choose to make zucchini ribbons they will have a much shorter cooking time, so keep an eye on them!
Can you Buy Zucchini Noodles?
Zucchini noodles are often available in the produce department of your grocery store. This is a good option for a super quick meal or if don’t have a spiralizer yet but want to try them. The downside is that they are much more expensive than buying a whole zucchini and spiralizing it yourself. At my grocery store a 10 ounce container of zoodles is about $6 and a 10 ounce zucchini is less than $2. You can do the math.
How to Cook Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini noodles require a very short cook time, 4-6 minutes at the most. If you are using other veggies with the zoodles that require a longer cook time, make sure to cook those first and add the zoodles at the end. Zoodles can be sauteed, steamed, blanched, eaten raw or added to soups. If I am using zucchini noodles in a soup I often put the raw noodles in the bottom of the bowl and ladle the hot soup on top to avoid overcooking.
In this zucchini noodle recipe we are sauteing the zoodles in a tiny bit of water to avoid sticking. Heat a skillet over medium heat along with a tablespoon of water. When the pan is hot add the zucchini noodles, garlic, olives, and artichokes and cook, tossing often, until the skin is starting to turn bright green and they are crisp tender. Next, lower the heat, add the sauce and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve immediately.
How to Avoid Soggy Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini noodles cook fast and quickly turn to mush, so keep a close eye on them while they’re cooking. Here are some tips for perfectly cooked zucchini noodles:
- Don’t peel the zucchini. The peel holds the zucchini together and without it the noodles quickly turn to mush.
- Don’t cover your noodles with a lid. This will steam them, trapping the water inside the pan, and turning them mushy.
- Cook onions and other longer cooking veggies before adding the zucchini noodles.
- Don’t salt your zucchini while cooking. Salt draws moisture out of zucchini and will make them soggy. Season your zucchini with salt after cooking.
- Cook over medium or medium-high heat. Cooking over high heat will cook them too quickly.
- As soon as they are crisp-tender take them off the heat.
What Sauces Can I use on Zucchini Noodles?
You can use any sauce in a zucchini noodle recipe that you’d normally use on pasta. In this recipe we use a rich sun dried tomato sauce, which compliments the other Mediterranean ingredients. Other sauces that are wonderful on zucchini noodles are:
Have you ever used zucchini noodles before? Have you cooked them successfully? What have you made with them? Tell me in the comments below. Enjoy!
Mediterranean Zucchini Noodles
Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
- 1 cup cashews soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes if not using a high powered blender*
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk or other non dairy milk
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes drained and rinsed if packed in oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives halved
- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts roughly chopped
- Add all sun-dried tomato cream sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk a tablespoon at a time as necessary to help blend and create a rich, smooth sauce. Set aside.
- Trim off the ends of the zucchini and use a spiralizer or vegetable peeler to turn the zucchini into “noodles.”
- Heat a tablespoon of water in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini noodles, garlic, olives and artichokes and toss with tongs. Cook until noodles are al dente, about 4-6 minutes, tossing frequently. The noodles should be wilted, but still have some crunch. The noodles will get mushy if you cook them too long, so resist the temptation and stop when they are crisp tender.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Add ½ the sauce to the pan and toss to combine. Keep adding sauce until noodles are thoroughly coated. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
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