Getting Fresh – Italian Style

One of the best parts of Summer is all the fresh, locally grown, organic produce!

Are you wondering what to do with all those zucchini, tomatoes and basil in your garden?

I have two yummy dishes for you – and the best part, no cooking required!  These simple, quick and fresh dishes will satisfy your taste buds while supporting your health (and figure).

zuchinni_1 copy

 

Zucchini Pasta Marinara

Spaghetti-style zucchini noodles prepared with a thick, fresh marinara sauce.  Spiral sliced zucchini is a healthy, delicious and gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta.   My  fresh marinara is a favorite – even with my Italian grandma!

Makes 4 to 6 servings

SAUCE

5 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/3 cup packed fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, minced

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 shallot, finely minced

1 date, chopped

1/4 small carrot, finely chopped

1/8 cup red wine (optional)

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1/8 cup olive oil*

1/2 teaspoon salt (pink Himalayan is my favorite)

Dash of fresh ground pepper

Pinch of crushed red pepper

NOODLES

6 medium-size zucchini or yellow squash, spiral sliced or peeled

 

SAUCE

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until combined; blend to obtain desired consistency.
  2. Store in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator.  Marinara will keep for up to 3 days.

 

NOODLES

Use a spiralizer to create noodles from the zucchini.

filmstrip-zuccini demo

  1. Slice both ends of zucchini crosswise.
  2. Insert one end into the center of the cutting blade and the secure the other end with the prongs.
  3. Push zucchini toward the blade gently while simultaneously rotating the crank.
  4. With kitchen shears (or paring knife) cut zucchini noodles into desired length.
  5. Sprinkle generously with salt and let sit while preparing the sauce.
  6. Rinse the zucchini well to remove salt.
  7. Gently pat dry with a clean kitchen cloth.
  8. Gently toss the noodles with the sauce and serve immediately.

Spiralizer or spiral slicer is a handy, inexpensive ($20-40) chef tool that allows you to quickly and easily turn veggies such as zucchini, cucumbers, daikon radish and carrots into spaghetti and ribbon noodles.

Food Healing Note:

Sun-dried tomatoes offer the most concentrated food source of lycopene (antioxidant compound that gives tomatoes and certain other fruits and vegetables their color).  Lycopene levels become more bioavailable when processed in food processor or high speed blender.

Scientific studies have found that a diet rich in lycopene rich foods may lower the risk of:

  • Certain types of cancer (prostate, lung and stomach)
  • Heart disease
  • Macular degeneration
  • Lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol)

 

Zucchini Pasta Pesto

(inspired by Cherie Soria)

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Spaghetti-style zucchini noodles prepared with a creamy pine nut and basil pesto.  Spiral sliced zucchini is a healthy, delicious and gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta.  Traditional pesto is made with parmesan cheese, which I have substituted nutritional yeast for a dairy-free version, without sacrificing any other the fantastic flavor.

SAUCE

1 zucchini, chopped

2 cups fresh basil, firmly packed

2 tablespoons olive oil*

1 tablespoon light miso

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt (pink Himalayan is my favorite!)

1/2 cup pine nuts

NOODLES

6 medium-size zucchini or yellow squash, spiral sliced or peeled

 

SAUCE

  1. Place the zucchini in the food processor fitted with the S blade and process until smooth.
  2. Add the basil, oil, miso, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic, and salt.  Pulse a few times to coarsely chop the basil.
  3. Add the pine nuts and process until the desired consistency is achieved.  Do not over-process the mixture or it will become too oily.  The texture should be creamy with tiny specks of pine nuts throughout.
  4. Store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator.  Pesto sauce will keep for up to 4 days.

NOODLES

  1. Use a spiralizer to create noodles from the zucchini (same as recipe above).
  2. Gently toss the noodles with the sauce and serve immediately.

*Chef’s Tip:

Be sure to use a good, authentic extra virgin olive oil.  My favorite brand for olive oil and balsamic vinegars is Under the Olive Tree www.undertheolivetree.net

For this recipe, I love their flavor, Nocellara (a Sicilian olive oil).

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This blog is written as a source of information only. The information contained in this blog should by no means be considered a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical professional, who should always be consulted before beginning any new diet or other health program. The author disclaims any liability for any adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein.

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