With these short winter days dinner time seems to sneak up on me. Quick and easy is my highest priority.
With Paul and Joe off to college I’m still learning to cook for fewer people. I already tend to cook more than necessary. How is it that I learned to cook for an army? Now Mark and I are trying to watch our calories while I try to feed the kids healthy great tasting food. We like to experiment with so many different foods that leftovers get boring fast. I HATE wasting food so I’m learning to cook just enough for each meal. Lately I’ve been enjoying more vegetarian recipes. This creamy, roasted red pepper sauce with spirals of zucchini noodles is a SUPER NUTRITIOUS dinner option. It takes only a few minutes to throw together. Don’t get too excited, there’s no real pasta involved here. You won’t miss it though. This sauce, with a mix of almond milk and cashew milk, is so unbelievably creamy and rich it makes you feel like you are indulging is a splurge of calories but your NOT.
The added benefit is you are filling your family with great nutrients. If you make this as is, this recipe it vegan but if you add cheese it is vegetarian. If you want to add a bit of protein it would be delicious with grilled shrimp, chicken even grilled skirt steak. Make it your own.
This is my favorite way to prepare zucchini noodles. Place a skillet over medium-high heat, add in some olive oil or cooking spray and once the skillet is hot (flick water in, it should sizzle), add in the zucchini noodles. Toss the zucchini noodles lightly with pasta tongs and cook for for 3-5 minutes or until al dente – don’t let the noodles cook for longer or else they’ll wilt and look lifeless. Embrace the crunch! If you’re cooking more than 1 spiralized zucchini, it may take up to 5-7 minutes to cook the zucchini thoroughly. Just keep tossing so that all zucchini noodles hit the bottom of the hot skillet and cook through. Resist the urge to salt the noodles as you cook. They cook very quickly and salting the zucchini will cause it to release water creating a soggy mess. Add salt to taste once it is plated.
The red peppers blend with garlic and both almond and cashew milk to create a tasty rich sauce. It should be on EVERYTHING: zucchini, yellow squash, pasta, whole wheat pasta, gluten free pasta or just dip hot crusty bread in it. I didn’t consider drinking it but it might not be bad.
Zucchini Noodles + Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
- 3 red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup cashew milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup tahini or almond butter for thickening
For the zucchini noodles:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot chopped fine
- 4 zucchini, ends cut off and spiralized or cut into ‘noodles’
- salt to taste (after it is finished cooking)
ROAST THE PEPPERS:
Place the bell peppers on a foil lined baking sheet. Turn on the broiler and roast the peppers on the top level, close to the heating element. When black spots appear, turn the peppers and continue to roast until all sides have been blackened. Let cool and pull off blackened skins and remove ribs, seeds, and stem.
MAKE THE SAUCE:
- Add the 3 roasted bell peppers to a blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.How easy is that?
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil and onion – sauté for a minute or two until the onion is softened but not browned.
- Add the zucchini noodles to the skillet. Sauté using a pair of non-stick tongs to toss the noodles. Just as the zucchini noodles begin to soften, but before they start shedding water, add the sauce and cook just until the sauce is heated. When in doubt, undercook these! It’s best a little crunchy.
- Adjust the salt to your taste, and serve immediately with any toppings you might like, such as: parsley, Parmesan, goat cheese, flavored oil.
Tonight I served it with goat cheese that I rolled in chopped parsley.