Pasta is such a common dish, but it can easily pack on the pounds and contribute to weight gain if you aren’t careful. The pasta itself is not necessarily the issue, but rather the toppings and sauces that get added to typical pasta dishes. The sauces and toppings can be extremely calorie dense and high in fat.
The fear of pasta deprivation often turns people away from typical “diets,” but what if I said you can reach your goals and eat your pasta, too? There are many low-carb or gluten-free pasta alternatives out there, such as spaghetti squash, shirataki noodles, tofu noodles or my favorite— zucchini pasta!
Zucchini or other summer squashes can be cooked al dente or cooked longer for a more tender noodle, depending on your preference. Zucchini also serves as a great base for any added healthy sauce or seasonings. It takes on the flavor of whatever you add, making it very versatile. With zucchini pasta, not only are you literally getting in your veggies, but you can also easily enjoy the great flavor that regular pasta offers without the high carbs, calories and fats.
One cup of regular spaghetti (without any cheese) can contribute more than 500 calories and 100 grams of carbs, whereas your same cup of zucchini spaghetti contains one-fifth the calories and only 6 grams of carbs! Unlike regular pasta, zucchini pasta helps maintain your blood sugar as well, keeping you fuller and satisfied longer.
So get ready to break your fear of pasta with this amazing low-carb gluten-free pasta substitution! This recipe is so easy to make and only one variation of ALL the things you can do with zucchini pasta. Using your imagination, you can create some pretty delicious and diet-friendly pasta alternatives using zucchini or some of the other pasta alternatives as your base. It is possible for you to reach your goals and eat your pasta too. Give this a try and let me know what you think!
1. The added nutritional yeast adds great vitamins, extra protein and fiber and an excellent cheese substitution!
2. Green zucchini grates better than the yellow squash so I prefer to use just zucchini, however I used both in this dish for added color.
GINA’S SIMPLE ZUCCHINI PASTA
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 zucchinis (optional: 1 yellow squash and 1 zucchini)
1/2 green bell pepper (any color), diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup purple onion, diced
¼ cup watercress
3 basil leaves, finely minced
1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Amino Acid
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Start by washing all your vegetables and placing them aside. Cut off the ends of the zucchini. You can peel the zucchini or not (I like to keep the skin on for the added fiber and color). Stand the zucchini and yellow squash up on its end and slice down, lengthwise with a julienne slicer. You want the strands to be quite thin. Set julienned zucchini aside until ready to sauté. Sauté garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and onions until softened. Add remaining ingredients, except nutritional yeast, and continue to sauté for a few minutes until julienned zucchini is tender. Serve along side your lean protein or simply add your lean protein to this “pasta” dish, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and enjoy!
*Makes 2 servings