While perusing some of my favorite blogs one day, I happened across this post about a gadget that turns zucchini into spaghetti. Now, skads of kitchen gadgets exist for imaginative use in the kitchen, and I’m usually wary of being seduced by photos and descriptive writing into purchasing gadgets that, no matter how clever or charming, will end up stealing valuable space in my so-small kitchen after having been used only once or twice. This particular gadget, however, can help me to lower the amount of carbs I eat daily. Here I need to mention that I do not mean demonize carbs in themselves. The only foods I truly demonize are industrialized or manufactured processed foods. I have never understood the appeal of food products such as Cool Whip, a non-dairy whipped topping, or those processed shakes or shake powders people ingest instead of food so that they can lose weight or work out harder, or whatever the case may be. If half and half can be made fat-free, how can it still be half and half? (Hint: It can’t be – the fat is replaced by less desirable ingredients much more hazardous to one’s health than fat.) Every once in a while, one may choose to eat queso made with Velveeta processed cheese or drink a soft drink, but in general, industrialized foods shouldn’t make up a large portion of anyone’s diet. I follow this rule for myself and my family; however, I won’t press the issue with others who choose to ingest the foods I generally avoid.
Our eating habits and proclivities are personal; food and diet choices made by one individual may not work for another. I do strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet, but as a diagnosed Celiac the gluten-free lifestyle chose me. I did not choose it. Other than gluten and heavily processed, industrialized foods, I like to include a bit of everything in my diet, but this choice is a personal choice that works for me as an individual. I have reached the decade of my fifties and I have found this past year that my genes play more of a role in my weight and body style than I previously realized. I suppose over the years, as a distance runner, I haven’t had to consider the genetic factor when eating snacks and planning meals.
These past few months, though, I’ve noticed some changes that make me suspect my genetic make-up is catching up with me. In researching and considering my situation, I decided that perhaps a lower-carb, though not necessarily extremely low-carb (Heaven forbid I should give up desserts altogether), diet might work best for me at this point: a decision that brings me back to my excitement at the thought of zucchini spaghetti. I love pasta; I dearly love pasta, any time, any meal, anywhere. Pasta, however, is a carb. Whether made from corn, brown rice, or any other gluten-free grain, it’s a carb. Adapting a diet lower in carbs means eating less pasta, a very sad realization. Thus, when I saw the post on zucchini pasta that actually looks like traditional pasta, my heart skipped a beat! Zucchini is a rather transparent vegetable. It can carry whatever sauces and cheeses one puts on pasta, without grossly adding its own flavor to the sauce. I impulsively purchased the Paderno World Cuisine vegetable slicer so that I could have zucchini as a carrier for my beloved pasta toppings, and I actually love using it!
The Paderno vegetable slicer is a simple plastic device that has three blades from which to choose. The blades slip easily into and out of the space provided for their storage within the device. It’s easy to disassemble for washing after its use.
The first time I used the gadget for zucchini pasta, I followed this recipe for zucchini pasta with avocado sauce exactly. The dish was satisfying and delicious. Phillip prefers his zucchini a little more cooked than I cooked it following this recipe, so when I make the zucchini pasta now, I steam it to make it a little more tender. If the zucchini is over-steamed or over-cooked, it shrinks too much and although it tastes ok, doesn’t look as pretty on the plate. Trust me on this. I learned from experience. My favorite way of preparing the zucchini pasta, however, I found out by accident. I had some grape tomatoes that were on the downward slope toward overly ripe, so I decided to roast them. Fresh zucchini was sitting on the counter near the tomatoes, and a new package of Trader Joe’s creamy Toscano cheese soaked in syrah was sitting in the refrigerator.
I realized that roasted tomatoes spooned over a bed of zucchini pasta and topped with this amazingly flavorful cheese might combine to make a scrumptious dish. I was correct in my assumption : )
Zucchini Pasta With Roasted Tomatoes
2 pts grape tomatoes, cut in half
½ medium size sweet onion, finely chopped
1 tbls finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 tbls Avocado oil
1 tbls Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 small zucchini, peeled
Toscano syrah soaked cheese (or substitute Parmesan cheese)
-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
-Spread the tomato halves and chopped onion evenly on a shallow baking sheet.
-Sprinkle the chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes and onions.
-Sprinkle the tomatoes with avocado oil and balsamic vinegar.
-Roast in oven for about twenty-five minutes, or until the tomatoes appear to be caramelizing.
-While the tomatoes are roasting in the oven, place water in the vegetable steamer and bring to a boil.
-Place the blade with the smallest grater in the Paderno vegetable slicer.
-Crank the handle while sliding the zucchini ever so gently toward the blade. The zucchini will form a
continuous spaghetti-like strand as it exits the blade. Place a bowl or plate underneath the blade to
catch the zucchini pasta as it falls. Repeat with the second zucchini.
-Place the zucchini in the vegetable steamer basket over the boiling water and steam just long enough for it to become tender-crisp. Watch the zucchini carefully – check it often – to make sure it doesn’t become mushy and start to lose its pasta-like appearance.
Divide the steamed zucchini pasta between two plates. Spoon the roasted tomatoes over the zucchini pasta. Sprinkle grated Toscano syrah soaked cheese over the roasted tomatoes and pasta on each plate. Enjoy.