It’s zucchini season, and time to make the most of the most prolific performer in the garden. If you have zucchini plants, you know that you must stay vigilant. Take a daily peek under those giant leaves, or you might end up with a canoe-sized zucchini overnight.
When that big zucchini arrives, may I suggest that you give the zucchini bread recipe a rest and think “zoodles?”
If you haven’t tried making zucchini into noodles yet, now might be the time. The low-carb folks have helped popularize these thin strands of zucchini, cut with a spiralizer or vegetable peeler.
I have no beef with spaghetti, but I am big on eating more vegetables. The zucchini noodle is a gluten-free, noodle-shaped way to eat a big pile of fresh vegetables, dressed in your favorite sauce.
The pretense that a thin slice of zucchini is just like a piece of spaghetti may be hard for you to accept. I get it. But you might want to try it in a summery, cold noodle dish.
Zucchini is notoriously juicy, and when heated, tends to release lots of moisture as it softens. By keeping the “zoodles” cool, you don’t have to worry about them getting soft and sloppy in a hot tomato sauce.
To preserve the slightly crisp, noodle-like texture of the fresh zucchini strands, it’s best to sauce or dress them immediately before eating. In this bowl recipe, the zoodles form a base, which is covered with colorful veggies and drizzled with a sesame sauce at the last minute. This works so well, it even makes an easy, packable lunch, as long as you keep the dressing on the side.
I have a countertop spiralizer that easily cranks out piles of vegetable strands. You can also simply use your swivel peeler, and peel the zucchini into long shreds. You’ll whittle it down to the seedy part in the center of the vegetable, which you can discard. You can mix up the noodles with a yellow squash for color, or even a carrot.
If you want to make a main course of this, add some pre-baked and seasoned tofu, or a can of mock duck, torn into bite-sized pieces. You could sprinkle a few chopped peanuts on top for more protein, too.
Keep your kitchen cool and make the most of your zucchini harvest, for a light and lovely meal.
Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of “Big Vegan,” “The Whole Grain Promise” and “Great Bowls of Food.” Find her at robinasbell.com.