Growing up as a vegetarian, carbs, lentils and legumes were the main way for me to feel satisfied with a meal. I ate a lot of vegetables, but in our Indian food, which is heavily rice-based, rice and lentils were the main fillers. I also grew up loving pasta in other types of cuisine, and to this day it’s been a hard to remove it from my diet.
Over the last year though I’ve managed to eat a lot less rice and pasta and include more proteins and veggies. More recently I discovered noodles made from zucchini and yellow squash, which I have absolutely loved! With all the same mix-ins, this tastes just as good as pasta without leaving me with that totally full I-can’t-get-off-the-couch sluggish feeling. That’s because noodles made from zucchini have twice as much fiber as pasta, with roughly one-third to one-seventh the amount of calories and about seven times fewer grams of carbohydrates.
The first time I tried noodles from zucchini, I followed cooking instructions online and simply shredded/sliced the zucchini myself. It ended up a bit watery, but was still yummy. (Note: I didn’t boil the zucchini. I tossed it in a pan with my veggies sauteed in olive oil.)
Later, I bought a OxO Handheld Spiralizer ($15 at Sur La Table), which not only made the job easier, but also made the squash strips more noodle-like. Some of the strands were actually longer than spaghetti so I had to cut them.
After spiralizing the noodles, I threw them in a pan where I had already sauteed some onions in olive oil. I cooked covered the pan to let the steam from the zucchini and other veggies cook the noodles for a few minutes. I tossed in some spinach after the noodles had cooked a bit (so the spinach wouldn’t completely wilt) and topped it with cherry tomatoes and a little bit of cheese. So yummy, satisfying, and totally guilt-free!