Easy 5-Ingredient Fresh Mint & Zucchini Pasta (Vegan or Vegetarian)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I started this blog on about July 5, 2012.  On July 13, 2012, I posted one of my all-time favorite recipes.  It is one I got from my good friend, Naomi Priestley.  It is Zucchini & Mint Pasta with Parmesan (seen just above).  But – it is such a divine dish – I thought I would post it again with a few new options.  1) It can be made without cheese altogether or 2) without cheese but with a squeeze of lemon juice or 3) with vegan Parmesan.

Do not be thrown by the idea of mint in a pasta dish – it is delicious!  It is especially lovely when you use fresh, homemade pasta – but dry pasta is fine, too.  If you do not consider oil and S&P to be legit ingredients – this is a 5 ingredient dish & comes together in less than 20 minutes.

I bought this ridiculous $5 micro basil because it looks pretty.  It is tasty, too, but it is certainly an unnecessary indulgence.

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Fresh Mint & Zucchini Pasta (Vegan or Vegetarian)

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta – cooked & drained

Olive oil

3-5 zucchini – either grated or spiralized or sliced (you can use as much zucchini as you like to mitigate the amount of pasta you eat or to, at least, lighten up the dish)

1-3 cloves garlic – chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint – chopped

S&P to taste

OPTIONS – Parmesan or vegan Parmesan (to taste) and or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Garnish: chopped mint and/or parsley and/or basil, more cheese, crushed red pepper

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain the pasta.

I spiralized the zucchini but you can grate or slice it.  Spiralizing is a good way to bury veggies in a spaghetti dish so your kids do not notice the veggies in there.  I sliced the ends that were too short to spiralize.

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Heat a glug or two of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds & then add the zucchini.  Saute a few minutes & then add mint and season with S&P.   When the zucchini is soft – add the pasta & combine.  Add cheese or vegan cheese here – if you are using it – or squeeze in some lemon – if you are going that route.  Plate & serve with cheese and/or chopped herbs (mint or basil or parsley).

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Creamy Vegan No-Pasta Zoodles with Arugula & Chanterelle Mushrooms & Thyme

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Zoodles.  Noodles made from spiralized zucchini.  No carbs.  No guilt.  Really yummy & very easy.  I prefer the hand held & less expensive spiralizer like THESE for zucchini.  It is fast & easy to use & has minimal clean up – but if you have a tabletop version – knock yourself out.

I used Chanterelle mushrooms because I had them but any of the more mildly flavored mushrooms will do.  I might avoid portobello only because they can get dark when cooked and not look so pretty.  I also used arugula but spinach or any other leafy green, like kale or chard, would also work.

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I used my own, homemade vegan mozzarella (seen above) but any mild vegan cheese will do – and even real cheese would work – if you are a cheese eater.

This was my first effort with zoodles where I did not add real pasta to the mix so – without the heat of pasta to toss them with – they needed some cooking.  My result was more watery (you can see in the photos) than was ideal and so – in the future – I will use THIS technique to drain them a bit before cooking them and I recommend you do, too.  The procedure is simply to lay the zoodles on paper towel & lightly salt them & press more paper towel on top.  Maybe change out the top towel – if necessary.  Roll up in paper towel & squeeze.  This should get most of the excess moisture out.

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Creamy Vegan No-Pasta Zoodles with Arugula & Chanterelle Mushrooms & Thyme

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

2 very large zucchini (enough so you get about 5-6 cups of spiralized noodles) – spiralized

1/2 lb mushrooms (I used Chanterelle) – sliced

1-2 cups arugula (or spinach)

1-2 cups grated vegan mozzarella (I used one cup but would suggest going with two)

2 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

Several TBS Fresh thyme – removed from stems

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup almond (or other vegan) milk

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Spiralize the zucchini & follow THESE steps to remove excess moisture.

Heat the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add a TBS or two of fresh thyme.  Incrementally add the milk in small amounts – allowing the roux to thicken each time.   Add the cheese & stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese melts & the sauce is creamy.  Season with S&P.  Stir in the arugula.  Set aside on medium-low to keep warm.

In  saute pan – heat a TBS olive oil & cook the mushrooms.  When they are almost done to your liking – add the garlic & a TBS of thyme & stir to incorporate.  After 2 minutes or so – remove from heat because you don’t want to burn the garlic.  Season with S&P.

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In that same saute pan – heat another TBS or two & quickly cook the zoodles – not more than 2-3 minutes or they will get too mushy.  Toss the zoodles with the cheese sauce & heat through.

Serve on plates & spoon some mushrooms onto each serving.  Garnish with more thyme & freshly cracked pepper.

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Ugh – I am just having a shit couple of weeks.  The details are all, individually, mainly minor annoyances, disappointments & slights but – combined – they pack a wallop.   Add this to the triple-digit heat & the fact that I have no AC & you get a very despondent girl, thick with over-indulgence, self-pity & slimy sweat.  Ugh.

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So – at 7 am – I decided to get cooking – before it got too hot to do so.  My first effort was a mushroom & baby kale tofu frittata.   It looks OK there in the pan but it was, ultimately, very thin (less than half an inch deep) and would not have photographed well – so I ate some & saved the rest to add to my dogs’ dinner tonight.

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Next up, I wanted to use some stale French bread I had – so I attempted 4 little vegan maple-walnut bread puddings.  They started off looking promising – no?  But, even though I cooked them for nearly an hour – they never got crusty & when I let them cool, they collapsed in their centers & looked as defeated as I feel.  I tasted one.  Tasted good but they were definitely a no-go for the blog.

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By this time is was officially sizzling outside & I still wanted to make a blog entry – so – cold noodles!  These are really easy, really fast, customizable & light.  I added only 1 TBS of peanut butter to what would make 2 good-sized servings.  You can see that the noodles are not heavy with sauce – critical in weather like this.   I also added a good portion of spiralized cucumber noodles to lighten it up even more.   You can get these together in ten minutes.  I reviewed two different spiralizers in my Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes post but I recommend the less expensive hand held version seen below.

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

Serves 2 very well.

INGREDIENTS

8.8 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained & run under cold water (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking)

Sesame oil

1 hothouse cucumber – spiralized (or cut into think matchsticks)

1 TBS tamari

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS ponzu sauce (or 2 TBS tamari & juice of 1/4 lemon)

1 TBS peanut butter

1 tsp sriracha for heat (optional)

GARNISH OPTIONS – sliced scallions, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno, sliced cucumber, sliiced red cabbage, black and/or white sesame seeds, lime wedges, cilantro, basil, chili flakes

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DIRECTIONS

Spiralize (or slice up) the cucumber.  Cook the noodles.  Drain & run under cold when done (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking).

Meanwhile, whisk the tamari, rice vinegar, ponzu sauce, peanut butter & sriracha (if using).

Toss everything together & garnish with your selections.  Serve.

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