Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Chickpeas and Tomatoes – A Perfect Raw Vegan Lunch

February 25, 2012 § 9 Comments

zucchini noodles with garlic lemon chickpeas

Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you that I’ve gone all raw or anything. While I fully admire people who eat raw food all the time, I need some warm food here and there. But I never thought I’d eat vegan, so who knows. Raw food doesn’t exactly scream tastiness to me, but I guarantee this recipe is absolutely bursting with flavor! And you have to admit, any no-cook recipe with flavor is a winner.

This raw vegan zucchini recipe is not only full of fiber and essential vitamins, but it is seriously good. I served this to my hubby one day for lunch and I don’t think he even noticed it was raw at first. It tasted that good. He practically licked the bowl clean and even asked if this was a recipe he could make on his own. Let’s be clear – there aren’t many recipes that he’s asked if he could make. This was a winner.

The tender spaghetti-like zucchini noodles absorb all the yummy goodness of the lemony garlic oil and contrast nicely with the hearty chickpeas and sweet tomatoes.  This is one of those recipes that’s good after 30 minutes and fantastic after hours of chilling out and marinating.

tomatoes and chickpeas with zucchini noodles

A few notes on this recipe. The zucchini noodles with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and garlic makes a great base. You could add anything you want. Basil and pine nuts make a nice addition. I recently added boiled cut potatoes and arugula to the mix which was just delicious. If you don’t love raw garlic we can’t be friends just reduce to either one clove or opt for slicing it into larger chunks so you can pick it out with your fork. Likewise, if you’re not a big lemon fan you may opt to try half the lemon first.

No matter how you slice and dice it, I guarantee you’ll love it.

tomatoes and zucchini pasta

Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Chickpeas and Tomatoes
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini, peeled using a julienne peeler
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed well
  • 1 pint tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Make the zucchini noodles using a julienne peeler. This may take a few tries to get the hang of it. I find it’s easiest by placing the zucchini flat on the cutting board and applying pressure with the julienne peeler and pulling down the length of the zucchini. You may have to clean the peeler from time to time.
  2. Add the halved tomatoes and rinsed chick peas to the zucchini noodles. Toss with the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and ideally several hours before serving.
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Zucchini with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Olive-Portobello Relish

January 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

candle79, vegan zucchini recipe, vegan mushroom recipe, fresh tomato sauce

I have been thinking of re-creating this dish ever since visiting Candle 79 last October. The dish was a live zucchini manicotti stuffed with a mushroom olive mixture and topped with a raw tomato sauce and parsley pine nut salad. At the time, I still was not liking mushrooms very much. Boy has that changed. Mushrooms have been the star of many meals since including my Christmas Eve dinner with vegan mushroom bourguignon.

At Candle79, I thought the mushroom olive combination was delicious. I’m a big olive fan and love their briny, salty bite which masked the mushroom flavor I didn’t like at the time. Instead, what remained was just a chewy almost meaty texture which I welcomed. I thought the dish would be great to make at home with store-bought olive tapenade. So that’s what I did.

how to make fresh tomato sauce

Since Luis wasn’t a fan of the “live” part of this dish, I decided to roast the zucchini.  What I didn’t realize though is that then you can’t roll them into a manicotti. They become way too flimsy cooked. So I just laid them flat but it still worked. I wanted to make this elegant dish as easy as possible to make so I made a point of making it with one baking sheet. I was looking for easy cleanup here and it worked.

The resulting dish was elegant and tasty – but it was on the small side. It did feel like a little gourmet meal though 🙂 I’d suggest doubling this recipe or serving with a side or salad. I also want to try it one day with pasta. I think it would be great.

Zucchini with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Olive-Portobello Relish

Makes 4 small servings

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced (about 6 slices per zucchini)
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, roasted or raw
  • 3 tbsp. pre-made olive tapenade
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • dried rosemary (optional)
Directions 
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If roasting the garlic, you can put it in now. Just slice the end of it off so you have a flat top, place in a small oven safe dish, cover with olive oil and foil.
  2. Slice zucchini using a knife or mandolin. Slice tomatoes. Chop portobellos. Arrange all vegetables on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat all veggies. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary (optional).
  3. Place veggies in oven to roast about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the mushrooms and zucchini as the cook quickly. You may need to pull them out early. The mushrooms will release a lot of liquid so don’t be alarmed. You can finish the tomatoes and give them a little char by turning the oven up to broil – just watch very closely.
  4. Once you’ve pulled out the mushrooms, mix with the olive tapenade. Use as much as you like. Add in a few chopped garlic cloves to the mix if you like and set aside.
  5. Remove tomatoes and place into a food processor with a few garlic cloves. Do not add in liquid from the pan unless you need to thin out the sauce. If you have fresh herbs on hand you can add basil or parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. To assemble place some sauce on the plate. Top with a few zucchini slices and the olive-portobello relish.

Enjoy!

Coincidentally Meatless Monday – Zucchini Fritatta and Tomato Mozzarella Salad

February 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s not unusual for us to have meatless dinners in this house. I’m a carbaholic with an aversion to many meats so there are many meatless nights to be had here. I’ve actually been thinking more and more about adding additional meats to my diet. I have a strange relationship with meat – yes I admitted it – I like chicken, crispy cripsy bacon (note the double crispy) and spicy tacos. So, you’d think I would go for pork tenderloin or even a hamburger but nope, don’t like those. The reason I’ve been thinking of adding more meats to my diet is because of my husband. He loves meat and with the cooking shows constantly on in the background, I catch him drooling at the TV when he sees a good roast or steak. But I have to tell you, after the dinner we had this week which was completely meatless, there was nothing left to be desired.

I had briefly heard of this new movement, Meatless Mondays, an effort to get Americans to cut out meat at dinner once a weak to help us create healthier diets but was surprised when I saw a sign for it at a restaurant last Sunday afternoon – actually a burrito joint no less. Orlando isn’t a city that jumps on the bandwagon of many culinary trends so I was a bit surprised to see this had gained some attention locally. While I was intrigued, I wasn’t planning on going meatless the following Monday night. But Monday came, and that’s just what we did (in fact we went all out meatless by accident Sunday and Tuesday too so kudos to us).

Monday came, and I had a strong craving for an asparagus and egg dish I’d made a few months ago. You make delicate thin omelets almost like a crepe and wrap around cooked asparagus – its a light, delicious, and coupled with a glass of wine can feel very Parisian. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people that ever knows what’s in season – I can only tell once I get the store and see the prices. So wouldn’t you know I got my taste buds all jazzed up for this dish only to get to the store and see my lovely asparagus for $4.99 a package. I just couldn’t do it with the beautiful earthy green zucchini next to it for just $2.99. As I write this I’m laughing that $2.00 dictated my meal, but it did.

I also picked up some grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, crusty bread from the bakery, and Buittoni pesto. Once home, I unloaded my goodies excited to make my quick, healthy dinner. My husband greeted me and asked the usual “What’s for dinner” to which I replied, “eggs”. Now in his defense, I could have been a bit more descriptive but there was disappointment all over his face. You could see his high hopes for dinner just plummeting. I didn’t let this phase me though; I knew he’d be happy in the end. So, I got to cooking a zucchini frittata with a side tomato and mozzarella salad and some toasted bread with garlic.

I sliced the zucchini in half moons and sautéed in some olive oil and one minced garlic clove. To that I added a mixture of five beaten eggs with some milk, salt, pepper, and chopped scallions. I cooked the fritatta on the stove over medium heat until the egg was mostly set, moving it around in the pan with a spatula. Then I topped it with salty parmesan reggiano cheese and popped it under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese turned golden. To serve i stopped with some more freshly chopped scallions. I’ve made fritattas a few times. I always thought a fritatta just meant it was finished in the oven but after a little research, turns out a fritatta is the fluffy egg which results from whipping the eggs as opposed to stirring them as you would for an omelet. By whipping the eggs, you get air into the fritatta resulting in a beautiful fluffy, puffy, egg dish. While my fritatta puffed in the oven and I saw delicious peaks and valleys of cheesy goodness through the window, once removed it went poof! and fell. It was still delicious though, light, fluffy, and full of flavor.

On the side I made a yummy tomato mozzarella salad with the Buitoni pesto I had bought. I’ve used this pesto before and really love its intense flavor. While I’d love to make my own pesto, with one this good and ready to go, I can’t see why I’d bother. So, I took some help from Buitoni and mixed in some with my fresh grape tomatoes and mozzarella. The result was a perfect side salad to celebrate the coming of spring – crisp, juicy tomatoes with creamy mozzarella and herby pesto. For the bread, if you’ve never done this trick you need to try it – drizzle bread with a bit of olive oil and pop under the broiler until browned. Watch it closely as it can burn in a second. Remove the bread when its the color you want and rub with a garlic clove for a delicious, strong garlic flavor. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

So what did my husband have to say about his dinner of “sad” eggs or so he had assumed? “Baby, you hit it out of the park!” He actually asked if I’d taken pictures for my blog which of course I hadn’t as this was just a quick fix meal – but after his praises I decided I might as well snap a few before digging in. The best part of the evening – aside from his glowing praises – was that this was such an easy meal to prepare and so satisfying and healthy, even without meat in the starring role. All in all I think it took just under half an hour to make – not too shabby if I do say so myself. I think the next time he hears eggs for dinner he’ll be quite pleased.

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