It’s hard to find a dinner more satisfying than a steaming plate of flavorful pasta, but by now you’re well aware of just how fattening that is. Let’s not give up on our favorite pasta dishes…let’s make these dishes lighter, healthier and just as delicious by using noodles made from vegetables, rather than traditional, carb-laden pasta.
If you’re new to cooking with veggie noodles, have no fear! It’s simple and satisfying to create comforting guilt-free pasta dinners, and I’m going to show you how…
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #1: Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is the easiest of all the veggie noodles to prepare since the noodles are already formed in nature. Cut a spaghetti squash in half and you’ll find a mess of seeds and stings in the center of thick, firm, yellow flesh. The seeds and strings are discarded, and that thick, firm, yellow flesh is cooked until tender and scraped off the skin, into a neat pile of soft spaghetti-like noodles. Pretty cool, right?!
Make Spaghetti Squash Noodles:
Zucchini is such a tender squash that it really doesn’t require cooking, and in fact cooking zucchini noodles quickly turns them to mush. I’ve found that pouring hot spaghetti sauce over a pile of zucchini noodles is all that it needs to heat it up without causing it to get mushy. You’ll need a spiral slicer –a little kitchen contraption that spirals zucchini through grating holes to create long, spaghetti-like noodles.
Make Zucchini Noodles:
While zucchini and spaghetti squash noodles are light and soft, noodles made from butternut squash are a bit heartier. Not only does this translate into a more filling meal, it also means that need to be cooked on their own, before applying the spaghetti sauce, in order to achieve a tender consistency.
Now there’s a little bit of technique involved with cutting your butternut squash in the best way to run it through a spiral slicer. I’ve found that the narrow part of the squash, that’s completely solid, is the piece that works really well with a spiral slicer. Slice off the skin and then simply run it through the slicer. The part of the squash that’s hollow in the middle is trickier to use with the spiral slicer, since those pieces are pretty thin. A quick option is to simply chop those pieces thinly and use that along with the long noodle strands.
Make Butternut Squash Noodles:
Talk about truly guilt-free pasta – one made from asparagus spears! Rather than serve this one with traditional spaghetti sauce (although you could) I’ve included a dressing to toss the noodles with and I’d recommend serving it with meatballs for some added protein.
Make Asparagus Noodles:
Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach