This week we welcome back health coach and Freshness Farms participant, Christine de la Cruz, as our first guest writer of this summer season. Check out Christine’s earlier post on juicing and healthy eating. This week she shares an ingenious dish that fashions “noodles” from summer squash. Diners of all ages will adore these sneaky noodles, bathed in a nutty, Thai-inspired sauce—and be none the wiser about their vegetal identity.
Be sure to stay tuned for more guests throughout the next few months…
Do you, like most Americans, love pasta? I know my family does. Pasta is one of those go-to meals we are all looking for, that EVERYONE will eat. I love pasta too, but it doesn’t really love my thighs. As soon as I eat a comforting bowlful, I immediately feel a bit fluffy and bloated. I don’t like feeling fluffy. Or bloated. Well, guess what? I’ve found a way to have my pasta and eat it too.
Aren’t the toppings on burgers, pizza and pasta really the best part? What if you could get your family to eat a bowl of “pasta” and have them getting their daily servings of vegetables at the same time? Or even weekly servings, depending on the fussiness of some eaters! I have served this dish to my 14-year-old and though she knew something was different, she just didn’t know what. I call it a score because she ate the whole thing! When she asked what was in the recipe that made it taste so great, I told her it was my “homemade” noodles, and she bought the story! (Which actually was true, just not in the way she was thinking.)
Since tomatoes aren’t quite in season yet I am sharing my favorite Pad Thai recipe, in which the usual noodles are replaced with none other than that summer staple—zucchini! Zucchini is plentiful all summer long, and you’ll discover endless ways to vary these veggie “noodles” once summer tomatoes become ripe. To create the noodles, I purchased a spiralizer from Amazon for just over $20—well worth the money because I plan to get lots of mileage out of my new gadget! You can use a mandolin slicer or a julienne vegetable peeler (pictured at right above) if you don’t want to purchase a spiralizer.
One last tip: If you are trying to be a bit sneaky with your inquiring minds—peel the zucchini first so there’s no green showing.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know what you think.
Thai Peanut “Noodles”
- 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets and stems
- 3 carrots
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 5 medium size zucchini
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 large or two small garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons turbinado or brown sugar
- red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium high. Finely chop the broccoli, carrots and onion in a food processor, or by hand. Cook veggies with a pinch of salt over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook briefly.
- While veggies are cooking use spiralizer (or julienne peeler or mandoline) to cut zucchini into noodles. Set aside.
- To prepare sauce, process peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, lime juice and sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add red pepper or hot sauce to taste.
- Turn down the stove heat to medium or medium-low and add sauce to the cooked veggies and warm for 3 minutes. Add a few splashes of water as needed to thin the sauce.
- Add the zucchini noodles and cook long enough to warm through.
- Serve topped with peanuts and cilantro if desired.
Christine de la Cruz is a native Minnesotan who moved to balmy California after freezing for far too many years. After taking time off from a career with the San Jose Sharks to raise her daughter and son, she decided to pursue her lifelong interest in health, by training as a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Christine offers free 30 minute health consultations to Freshness Farms’ participants. She’ll talk with you about your lifestyle, and health goals, and demonstrate how a health coach can provide support and guidance. To learn more about Christine, check out her website and introductory video at onthehighwaytohealth.com, her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OnTheHighwayToHealth?ref=hl or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preceding article and recipe copyright, Christine de la Cruz. All photos copyright, Four Cooking Together.