I can’t seem to get enough of zucchini or summer squash lately. For one thing, it’s in season, which I love for a bunch of reasons:
-I know my food isn’t coming from some far-off land
-Because it’s not coming from far away it doesn’t need crazy chemicals to control its natural ripening process
-I’m supporting local farmers
-Eating seasonally forces me to expand my food horizons, and try produce that I wouldn’t normally buy
Zucchini is also very versatile. As I posted a couple weeks ago you can use it as a substitute for avocado to lower the calorie-count of guacamole, it can be used (along with a couple handfuls of spinach) as a substitute for chickpeas in hummus, it makes a great addition to homemade pasta sauce, and can be used in homemade bread or muffin recipes.
I recently discovered another unique use for zucchini – I call them zoodles. No, they’re not the zoodles from the can that you ate as a child. I actually made noodles by simply cutting zucchini into thin, linguini-shaped zoodles! I also made a delicious pad-thai/peanut sauce to go with them. It was totally experimental, but turned out great.
Low in Calories, High in Nutrients
Zucchini is also really low in calories, and high in vitamins and minerals. If you love pad thai & peanut sauce, but want a healthy version without all the calories, sugar & fat – try this version instead. You’ll love it.
Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai
2 tbsp grapeseed oil or sesame oil
2 medium-size zucchinis
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp chili flakes
1 red bell pepper chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (timesaver: from jar)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
½ cup organic chicken stock (or any liquid, ex. water, white wine)
3 tbsp natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 lime, juiced or ¼ cup lime juice
1 egg (optional)
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh cilantro or basil chopped
Sesame seeds or chopped peanuts for garnish
Using a mandolin, slice the zucchinis lengthwise (If you don’t have a mandolin, you can use a vegetable peeler to make thin slices).
Slice the slices into thin strips, just like the shape of a linguini noodle.
Heat oil over medium heat (add in 1 tsp chili flakes to flavor the oil), and sauté onion & pepper for a few minutes. Add in garlic and ginger, and cook for a couple minutes.
Add the vinegar, chicken stock, nut butter, sugar, soy sauce & lime juice, and season with fresh ground pepper. Stir to combine.
Optional: crack an egg into the pan and stir until egg is cooked.
Add the zuke noodles (or zoodles) to the saute pan and stir them around so they get covered in the sauce. Continue cooking zoodles for about 10 minutes until they are hot & slightly cooked or al dente. Add in bean sprouts & stir to incorporate (they add a nice, crunchy texture to the dish).
Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately. This dish can be served vegetarian or add shrimp, scallops or organic chicken – Enjoy!