One of the things I enjoy most about being a food blogger is the challenge of creating recipes to satisfy the requests of my readers. Often I’ll get caught up in making dishes that I personally love to eat, and as those of you who read regularly have probably observed, a good hearty salad is an easy way to my heart!
Just like in all areas of life, variety in what we eat is important, both for nutrition reasons, and purely to keep eating clean fun and interesting. You guys keep me on my toes with emails and questions about how to make recipes healthier, all without sacrificing flavour, of course.
This week’s recipe was born out of the request of Emily (hi Emily!) who just bought a new spiralizer – the same multi-blade one that I own. She said:
I just bought the same spiralizer that you recommended and have been using it several times each week for the salads that I take to work. I love it, but I’m wondering if you have any ideas for me that go beyond salads. I always have a big salad for lunch, but I’m hoping you’ve got some ideas for hot meals. It’s still kinda chilly here and I crave warm food at the end of the day!
My answer: I absolutely do! Outside of my Vitamix, my spiralizer is my next-favourite kitchen gadget and gets used at least a couple of times each week – even more in the summer when I’m making more no-cook recipes. I’ll include a roundup of some of my faves at the end of this post, but first let’s answer Emily’s question.
The beauty of a spiralizer is that it works on all sorts of vegetables, even carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes which are quite dense. When it comes to cooking with spiralized veggies, zucchinis are usually my go-to because they seem to have a texture that most resembles pasta when heated for a few minutes. They’re also mild in taste, which means they do a good job of taking on the flavour of whatever sauce you toss them in.
With lots of first-hand zoodle-making experience under my belt, I have 3 tips to help you make a culinary masterpiece as opposed to a bowl of sad, stringy mush.
Tip 1: Don’t overcook!
Zucchinis are made up of ~95% water (according to this source), and when you start cooking them, that water gets drawn out. The longer you heat them, the more water they release and the more likely they are to go limp and lose their shape. When you’re cooking zucchini noodles, you really only need to heat them just enough to be warm throughout. In this week’s recipe, Garlic Shrimp and Zucchini Noodle Linguine, I’ve added them to a sauce that’s already hot, and they’re one of the last ingredients to go into the mix.
Tip 2: Cut the noodles before you cook.
if you’ve ever run a zucchini through a spiralizer, you’ll know that the noodles are actually just one big long noodle. This can make it really difficult to toss zucchini noods with other ingredients in the same dish, and difficult to divide portions when the noodley bit is all one great big cluster. To avoid this, run a knife through your noodles a few times before adding them to your other ingredients.
Tip 3: Don’t count on making loads of leftovers.
As much as I love a great big-batch recipe that lasts for days, recipes with cooked zucchini noodles don’t tend to make the best leftovers. As I mentioned above, they lose some of their water in the cooking process, and they seem to continue to do so while they sit in the fridge. If you want to do a big spiralizing session, I’d recommend storing the raw zucchini noodles and whatever else you’re using in the fridge, then adding them to the rest of your cooked ingredients later. In my experience, the raw noodles seem to keep their shape fairly well when stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
With those tips out of the way, here’s the recipe I created for Emily. It’s a lighter take on traditional seafood linguine, and uses a simple mixture of zucchini noodles, cherry tomatoes, garlicky shrimp and fresh herbs. Everything is tossed in a flavourful, zesty tomato sauce and you can have the whole thing cooked and on the table in less than 30 minutes. That’s exactly how weeknight dinners should be, right? Right.
Garlic Shrimp and Zucchini Noodle Linguine
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Ingredients (2 servings)
For the shrimp:
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 20 large shrimp, defrosted and raw
For the rest:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white onion, diced
- 2 medium zucchinis, spiralized (or 2 servings of your favourite whole grain pasta, cooked)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 large leaves fresh basil, minced
- 3 tbsp fresh minced parsley
- 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
- 2 tsp capers (optional)
Mist or lightly coat a non-stick frying pan with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat.
Sautee the garlic for 1 minute. Toss in the shrimp and stir fry them for 2-3 minutes or until almost completely opaque on both sides. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
In the same skillet, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and sautee the second garlic clove with the diced onion for 2 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.
Pour in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, paprika, basil and parsley. Stir to combine, then lower heat to medium and allow the tomato mixture to reduce for 3 minutes.
Add the zucchini noodles (or cooked pasta), sea salt, black pepper and capers to the pan and stir to coat. When the zucchini noodles are warm throughout (this should only take about 2 minutes), add the shrimp back to the pan.
Stir one last time to make sure the noodles and shrimp are nice and saucy. Divide between 2 bowls and serve with a side salad or steamed green beans.
If you need more ways to use your spiralizer (or a little more motivation to get one for yourself!) check out these…
- Baked Salmon with Lemon Dill Zucchini Noodles
- Zucchini Noodle Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
- Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Pho
- Mango Curried Cucumber Noodle Salad
So tell me…
- Do you have any favourite spiralizer recipes? Any cooked ones to help Emily out?
- Do you need a recipe re-vamped, or is there something in particular you’re looking for? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to my list!