One of the most popular posts on my old blog was a zucchini pasta with tomato sauce recipe, circa 2011, so I thought I would revive it here on Ricotta and Radishes with a fresh Mediterranean twist.
It’s officially summer squash season, so if you happen to be growing some this year then you’ll need a good recipe up your sleeve to use up some of the bounty. Those suckers grow really fast!
Zucchini is one of my favourite summertime vegetables because of its versatility. It’s excellent served raw as part of a crudité platter, incorporated into muffins, grilled as planks, rounds or on skewers, transformed into fritters or shaved into long noodle-like strands. Just be sure to select young/small zucchini for raw applications and save the more bitter, monster zucchini for things like zucchini muffins.
The beauty of this raw zucchini pasta dish is that it has the essence and flavour profile of a bowl of pasta, but without a strand of actual pasta in the mix.
Of course, pasta is near and dear to my heart, but let’s be honest – when the weather is hot and the humidity is through the roof, it’s nice to enjoy a light, refreshing bowl of raw vegetables instead of heavy noodles. I feel bloated just thinking about it!
This zucchini pasta dish may be light and low in calories compared to regular pasta, but it’s still quite filling thanks to the dose of protein- and fibre-rich Romano beans. Chunks of tofu or another type of legume would also work if you’d like to keep it vegetarian, but if not then try mixing in some grilled chicken, canned tuna or shrimp.
The combination of briny-sweet artichoke hearts, creamy Romano beans, smoky roasted red peppers and tart capers forms a nice balance of flavours and textures that make this dish both interesting and satisfying. Go ahead and top it off with some Parmesan cheese and/or red pepper flakes for an extra boost of flavour.
Other vegetables that make wonderful noodle stand-ins include spaghetti squash (baked and then shredded with a fork), asparagus, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli stems and yellow squash – essentially any long-shaped vegetable you can run over a box grater, through the julienne setting of a mandoline or a food processor. A basic vegetable peeler can also be used to make wide, ribbon-like noodles.
What’s your favourite way to cook with zucchini? Leave a comment and let me know!
- 6 medium zucchini, ends trimmed off
- 1 cup canned roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 cup canned artichoke hearts
- 1 cup canned Romano beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 capers
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Lay a box grater on its side with the large holes facing up. Carefully grate each zucchini lengthwise using long strokes to form "noodles." Place grated zucchini on a clean, dark kitchen towel and squeeze over the sink to remove excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl.
- To the same bowl add the peppers, artichokes, beans, capers, lemon juice and olive oil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately with crusty bread on the side, if desired.