Summer Eye Healthy Tomato Basil Pasta with Zucchini Noodles
Summertime is the BEST time to get super fresh fruits and vegetables for light and healthy, but filling meals. Remember that the general rule for fruits and veggies is the brighter in color, the better! Replacing pasta noodles with vegetables is not only easy and delicious, but another way to add nutrient-packed eye-healthy foods to your diet. Don’t knock it ‘til ya try it! I’d love to know what you think of this recipe, it’s one of my summertime favorites!
Gadgets you will need: Spiralizer kitchen tool
Prep Time: 10 - 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes for vegetables/sauce, 5 - 7 minutes for zucchini noodles
Ingredients for tomato basil pasta with zucchini noodles:
- 4 medium sized zucchini or about 2 pounds (not peeled), spiraled
- 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, washed, dried, and halved
- 4 cups of fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic minced, or 1 tablespoon of jarred minced garlic
- 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (more for serving as topping)
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (used to cook ‘noodles’)
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (used to saute vegetables)
- 1/4 to 1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper (optional, depending on preferred spiciness)
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (for sauce)
- 1 teaspoons of cold water (for sauce)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings (for the sauce only)
- Salt and pepper to taste (do not add salt to zucchini before or while cooking)
- You can use a halved, seeded and baked spaghetti squash in lieu of zucchini for ‘noodles’. Once baked, spaghetti squash can be ‘noodled’ by using a fork to scrape out the ‘meat’ of the fruit
- The sweeter the grape or cherry tomatoes the better. If you can’t find sweet tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes can be used in substitution
Directions for tomato basil pasta with zucchini noodle:
- Preheat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a nonstick frying pan
- Place spinach, diced bell pepper, diced onion, and Italian seasonings into the pan, stirring frequently until fully cooked. The vegetables take longer to cook than the zucchini noodles
- In a separate small bowl, whisk two teaspoons of cold water and one teaspoon of cornstarch
- Sauce is complete when the cornstarch/water mixture is added to the cooked vegetables in the pan
- salt and pepper to taste
Zucchini noodles prep:
- Add one-fourth cup of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes into a nonstick wok, cook on medium heat
- Once the oil starts to dance around in the pan, add the zucchini noodles, tossing them as they cook with tongs or a spaghetti spoon. Zucchini noodles cook quickly. They only need 5 - 7 minutes on medium-low heat to fully cook. Overcooking will cause them to feel mushy.
- For the last 2 or so minutes of cooking the pasta, stir in tomatoes, basil, and one-half cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Pour sauce onto cooked zucchini noodles and toss to stir in
- Add extra Parmesan cheese to top and salt and pepper to taste
- Serve immediately and ENJOY!
Hint for beginners:
- Zucchini Noodles are spaghetti-like strands of zucchini that are obtained using a kitchen tool called a spiralizer.
- Spiralizers make long, curly strands of zucchini ‘noodles’ quickly.
- Do not peel your zucchini. The skin packs much of the nutrients your eyes need, plus peeled zucchini noodles can become mushy easily when cooking.
- Your zucchini should be firm (al dente), overcooking will cause a mushy texture.
- Add salt only to your sauce or on top of your finished meal to taste. Salting zucchini (either before cooking or during) will cause the water to be drawn out of the zucchini, making it soggy.
- Store leftover individually portioned sizes of pasta in sealed containers
- Eat within 24 hours for best quality
- calories: 407
- carbohydrates: 22.4g
- cholesterol: 22mg
- fat: 32.4g
- fiber: 5.8g
- potassium: 1047mg
- protein: 14.1g
- saturated fat: 7.8g
- sodium: 311mg
- sugars: 11.7g
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