So, if you read food blogs with any kind of regularity, you’ve likely seen the idea for zucchini “noodles” floating around. And if you’re anything like me, you’re a little skeptical.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my vegetables. Zucchini, however, is a new-found love of mine. I think I had the watery and bland zucchini/summer squash sauté one too many times and it caused me to become apathetic (at best) toward the vegetable. You know which one I’m talking about – thick half moons, cooked until limp and flavored with…well, it would seem, nothing.
But then I realized its versatility. You can shred it and make burgers. You can put it in a casserole to beef up shredded hashbrowns. And then, of course, you can put it on pizza. None of those things are bland, none of them are watery and all of them make your taste buds very happy campers.
And yet, I remained skeptical of the zucchini noodle phenomenon. It just seemed too close for comfort to the watery zucchini of my past. But seeing as I have been buying zucchini at an alarming rate (somehow a package winds up in my basket every. time.), I decided that the time had come to taste the zucchini noodle Kool Aid.
Cheesy Zucchini Noodles
2 small (or 1 1/2 large) zucchini or summer squash
1 t olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounces garlic herb cheese of choice (eg. Laughing Cow wedge or Boursin)
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
water or chicken/vegetable broth, as needed (up to 1/4 cup)
1. Using a vegetable peeler, slice zucchini lengthwise into long ribbons. Carefully stack ribbons on top of each other in several piles and cut into thinner ribbons with a knife (I like to cut mine the thickness of fettuccine).
2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until soft and onion is translucent.
3. Add zucchini and garlic, season with salt, pepper and red pepper (if using) and saute 2-3 minutes until zucchini is soft. At this point, add a bit of broth or water by the tablespoon if you think that the zucchini needs a little help softening to your liking.
4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheese until melted and well incorporated with the vegetables.
I served my “noodles” as a side to some broiled salmon, which I thought rounded out the meal nicely.
Ordinarily I’d be one to say “cool, but where are my carbs?”, but honestly this was a pretty sating meal. Maybe I fooled my brain into thinking it was eating a side of actual pasta, but I doubt it.
It must have been the cheese. Cheese helps in any and every situation.
Let’s just say that I drank the zucchini noodle Kool Aid and I think I’m officially converted.