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September 10, 2014

Zoodles with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Have you tried the latest craze of vegetable noodles yet? They've been around for awhile, but I was a little late getting to the party on this one. The main reason being that I didn't have the equipment needed to make them. There are several kitchen gadgets you can use, such as a julienne slicer, or mandolin slicer. Some people have even used a regular old vegetable peeler. But a vegetable peeler made more of a zucchini ribbon then a pasta shape, I don't own a julienne slicer, and my mandolin slicer was broken months ago. I really, really wanted one of those nifty spiralizer's, but when I went on a search for one I was taken aback at some of the price tags they carried. I'm about as frugal as they come, and I just couldn't see myself paying that much for a kitchen utensil. Especially one that does one thing and one thing only, make vegetable noodles!

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So was I every thrilled when my daughter Melissa surprised me with my very own spiraler! She found it for a great price at Walmart, and knew how long I had been wanting one. I tell ya, my family knows me well. I couldn't wait to use it, and luckily my garden was starting to produce some delicious zucchini. Everyone's favorite vegetable of choice to turn into noodles seems to be zucchini. Although technically zucchini is a fruit, in a culinary context, zucchini is usually treated as a vegetable. Either way, this versatile vegetable/fruit has a mild flavor, and lends itself well to being used as a noodle substitute.

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I've used my spiralizer many times since I've gotten it, but still get a thrill seeing those long strands of zucchini coming out every time. Even the name is fun! Zucchini Noddles = Zoodles! Or am I the only one who gets tickled at the word "Zoodles"? I'm kinda weird like that, so I may be the only one! :) It doesn't take much to make me happy, does it?

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There are many different ways of cooking zoodles, sauteing them with a little olive oil, minced garlic and sea salt is a favorite, and one I enjoy for lunch often. My daughter was preparing spaghetti one day though, and I decided to join her by enjoying some too, but with zoodles instead of pasta. It turned out to be a successful experiment, and once I topped it with some fresh tomato sauce, I didn't miss or crave the pasta version at all. I cooked the zoodles just like you would regular spaghetti, by boiling them for 1 minute in salted water, then topping with sauce. (Be sure to remove your zoodle pasta to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, or you’ll get mushy zoodle noodles).

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Have you ever made fresh tomato sauce before? It's pretty easy, and the taste is far superior to that of the pre-made stuff. Plus, you know exactly what's in it, and can adjust the ingredient amounts and seasonings to your preference. This 5-ingredient tomato sauce couldn't be simpler, or easier to whip up, and is a nice departure from the standard, slow-cooked version. The freshness of the tomatoes really shines through, mingling with the garlic and basil to create a delicious sauce you could eat straight out of the pot with a spoon. Something I may or may not of done as I was preparing this recipe.

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Zoodles {Zucchini Noodles}

Makes 1 serving

Water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 medium-sized zucchini

Fill a medium pot about 1/2 full with water. Add salt and bring to a boil.
While water is heating up, rinse zucchini well and pat dry.
Using a spiralizer or peeler create zucchini noodles
When water begins boiling, carefully place zoodles into the water and once boiling again, cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Immediately drain zoodles into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Once you have drained off as much water as possible, place zoodles onto a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.

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Fresh Tomato Sauce

Makes about 2 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons pure olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
6 basil leaves, chopped
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

Warm olive oil and minced garlic in a pan over medium heat. Saute for 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and basil, and stir until thoroughly combined.
Bring sauce just to a simmer while stirring occasionally, then remove from heat. You just want to warm the sauce, not cook it.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place the zoodles into a serving bowl and sprinkle with a little salt to taste. Zucchini can take quite a bit before it is seasoned properly.
Top with some of the tomato sauce and enjoy!

*Note: I like my tomato sauce rustic and chunky, but if you prefer a smoother sauce, you can mash the tomatoes up with a fork, or blend with a stick blender.


Have you ever made zoodles? If so, what's your favorite way of preparing them?

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