All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
Do not be fooled by how closely this pasta resembles my recent spinach & pea pesto linguini. It is a completely different animal. This is a vegan dish but only by chance – rather than design. It can be made carb-free or carb-heavy. That is your call. I went carb-heavy – because, quite frankly, I am a carb whore. Thick & doughy midsections take dedication to preserve & I am committed to mine. You might be devoted to your hard won abs – in which case – go carb-free.
But how can I make a carb-free pasta – you might ask. Well – it is easier than you think. Just use fresh zucchini instead of spaghetti! I discovered this concept recently & I can foresee it becoming a regular thing in this house. I thought I’d need a kitchen tool called a spiralizer and so I did a lot of research on which to buy before I headed out to get one. Spiralizers can turn potatoes into curly fries or zucchini into pasta – among other things. I was too impatient to buy one online so I headed to Bed Bath & Beyond yesterday just to get it. Alas – they had none. The guy there said a mandolin might do the trick and I have one of those – so I returned home to experiment. I saw online that some folks said a food processor could create fettuccini-like noodles & others said a vegetable peeler could work, too. I decided to experiment.
The mandolin was sort of effective but mine is so sharp & unstable – I was kinda freaked out. Then I remembered! Didn’t I have some odd sorta toothy, clawlike vegetable peeler deep in the chaotic disasters that are my kitchen tool drawers?? I dug around a bit & voila!!! There it was! With a sturdy, rubber Tonka handle & a plastic blade guard.
I tried this on a sample zuke & it worked like a charm! I held the peeled zucchini on one end with a fork & shaved away at the zucchini & got a wonderful spaghetti-like result.
Look at this link & see how cool spiralized zucchini is – HERE.
This dish can be made pretty close to entirely raw – if that’s your thing. Simply blanching the zucchini noodles for 2 minutes or sauteing the zucchini noodles in olive oil for 2-3 minutes will make them deliciously edible & the sauce is raw, too. I’m not concerned with raw so much. If you hate peas or asparagus – just leave them out. This recipe can be made with or without actual pasta. This version has pasta. I am going to give you a recipe here that uses an entire box of spaghetti – and the zucchini noodles – so it would likely feed 4-6 as a main course. You can adjust this easy recipe to use pasta or not – and change the quantities if you only want to make a serving or two. If you make a lot – as I did – but do not want to eat it all up immediately – just keep the ingredients (zucchini noodles, pasta with peas & asparagus and the sauce) separate from each other & only blend them in the serving size you need when you are ready to eat it. I would boil water & just reheat the actual pasta & veggies (a minute or two) before draining & then mixing with the zucchini & sauce. Don’t heat the zucchini. It will get soggy.
DECADENT Vegan NO CARB Summer Pasta with Zucchini Noodles, Avocado, Asparagus & Peas
1 lb spaghetti (if using)
6 large (peeled or not – your call) zucchini – spiralized or shaved into noodles (do not use the seeded center of the zukes)
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
10 spears asparagus – sliced into bite size pieces (optional)
2 large avocados
1/3 cup water
6 TBS fresh oregano
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of entire lemon
chopped basil as garnish
s&p to taste
Peel (or not) then shave, spiralize or grate your zucchini into noodles. Do not use the seeded center part. I saved my centers & peels & made a zucchini hummus out of them afterward. You can use them any way you want or toss them. Whatever.
Once you have your noodles – put them in a colander in the sink & sprinkle a tsp salt over them. Toss them to distribute the salt & let them drain while you make your sauce.
In a food processor, blend your avocados, lemon juice & zest, oregano, water (use more or less – to get the right consistency) and S&P to taste. This is – essentially – a guacamole. Make it very creamy.
Boil the water & cook your pasta according to directions. In the last two minutes of the pasta cooking – add the peas & asparagus. If not using pasta – just boil water & blanch the peas & asparagus for two minutes. Drain.
Now simply assemble the ingredients. I made a single serving by using equal parts pasta & zucchini noodles & then tossed them with the sauce. A little chopped basil and S&P and I was ready to eat. The remaining part – I am bringing to a party tonight & will assemble THAT there!