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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Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes

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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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OK – kiddies!  Product review time!  My first ever!!   My Spiral Slicer was gifted to me for the purpose of review & I won the tabletop one in a contest.  So – they were both free for me.    The Paderno one with the cookbook (below) retails for about $50.

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My Spiral Slicer (above) retails for about $14.

I decided to try this Sweet & Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad to experiment with both devices.

I tried the table-top one first – because I was very excited about it.  It comes with different blades to achieve different stylized veggie results.  I am embarrassed to report that I could not get this to work at all.  I felt too inept & stupid & I was making the salad for a Memorial Day BBQ & I was in a hurry & frustrated and, I must confess, perhaps did not give this beauty the proper patience.  But – the instability of the item kept giving me visions of my fingers being spiralized & I could never seem to get the cucumber to line up right with the blade. Exasperated – I moved on to the hand-held gadget.

My results with this bad boy were immediate & satisfying.  I just stuck the cucumber in there & twisted & cucumber noodles just kept pouring out.   Clearly, this model does not have the versatility of the tabletop jobby – and it requires phallic-shaped veggies to twist into the vortex but – if zucchini or cucumber or carrot noodles are you primary aspirations – I say go with this guy.   The price alone assures that you won’t overspend on a trendy device that just takes up room in your cabinets – because it also has the added advantage of its tiny, easy-to-store size.

I will return to the tabletop one on a day I am under less pressure & give it a more fair shot – and report back.  Never fear!

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The salad itself was a huge success.  It is pretty & light & was a huge hit with my guest who loathes all things creamy – including dressings.  “Now THIS is a salad!” he declared upon tasting it.  It really is a yummy salad with the benefit of both a sweet flavor & a tiny bite of spice.  And I am always a fan of ways to use arugula.

Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula & Cherry Tomatoes

serve 4

INGREDIENTS

A spiralizer

4 large English (hothouse) cucumbers (less seedy)

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes – halved (I used heirloom)

2 large handfuls arugula

2 TBS Champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar

4 TBS olive oil

1 tsp (or more) crushed red pepper

1 TBS honey or agave nectar

1 orange – juiced

1/2 tsp garlic powder

S&P to taste

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Directions:

  1. Place a cucumber into the spiralizer, and follow the directions listed on the package until you have cucumber noodles. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers.
  2. To a large bowl, add all the cucumber noodles along with the tomatoes and arugula.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to make the dressing.
  4. Using a wire whisk, mix the dressing until all the ingredients are incorporated, and pour over the top of the cucumber noodles.
  5. Toss the cucumber noodles very well, making sure they are all coated with the dressing.
  6. Transfer to a serving plate, and serve immediately.

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