I first had Zucchini noodles a couple of years ago when we visited NYC for my 30th birthday with friends. At the time, I was about 10 months into my vegan phase, and eating out was an ongoing challenge. Our day had been full of walking, shopping and site seeing. We were with a group, it was Saturday night, we had no reservations. When we found a restaurant that could seat us right away I wasn’t going to complain. I was less than excited, actually down right pouty, when I looked over the menu. Healthy pickings were slim and most dishes were meat heavy or made from non-whole wheat pasta. The only option that looked to be remotely healthy was a pesto zucchini noodle bowl. Pesto- delicious, raw zucchini noodles-not so much. For lack of a better option, I ordered it. In my mind I was making plans for room service back at the hotel.
You guys, it was delicious.The zucchini noodles were filling without giving me that uncomfortably full feeling that pasta is famous for. The flavor from the zucchini was pretty neutral, really similar to noodles, but so much healthier. I decided then and there that I HAD to get a spiralizer. I couldn’t stop brainstorming all of the yummy, green, healthy, saucy things that I was going to create.
I ordered one. It got back-ordered. The order got cancelled. Life got busy. No spiralizer for me.
Fast forward 2 years. I got one! Yep, I am one of those people who gets wildly excited about new kitchen gadgets. Lame, I know. My family is now dealing with eating all things spiraled because I am obsessed! Zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumber… I can spiral it all! Isn’t it pretty?
Ok.. I could go on and on about the wonders of this kitchen gadget, but let’s focus. Lemon garlic shrimp with Zucchini noodles…zoodles! Perfect meal for a weeknight. It comes together in 1o minutes, mostly because you get to skip the step where you make the pasta. It’s healthy, veggie packed, and SO easy to make. The lemon garlic shrimp is a fantastically zesty addition. I used the pesto recipe from the creamy pesto chicken wraps I made for lunch a few days before, but you could use store bought or whatever recipe you like. If you use pre-made check the nutrition label so that you don’t buy a jar with a ton of additives or creepy non-food ingredients.
Tips and Time Saving Tricks
Prep: Go ahead and spiralize your zucchini noodles. They will keep for a several days in an airtight ziplock bag. Shrimp can also be peeled and deveined if needed.
Make Ahead: Pesto is a great thing to make each week and keep in your refrigerator. It’s especially great in the Summer when the ingredients are
cheap in season. Pesto will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator if you keep it well sealed. If you already have it pre made this dish comes together in a snap.
Freezer: Pesto is freezer friendly. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays so that I can defrost just the right amount. My ice cube trays hold about 2 TBS of pesto in each compartment, but you should check yours before freezing. Just fill each compartment with pesto and then drizzle a light layer over the top of each. The olive oils stops the pesto from turning an ugly color. Cover the tray with plastic wrap, and gently push the plastic down over each section to keep out air. Put the tray in the freezer until completely frozen. When cubes are frozen, dump the “pesto cubes” into a labeled airtight ziplock bag. The pesto cubes are good for up to 6 months.
- 1½ TBS olive oil
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 TBS parsley
- pesto sauce
- 4 zucchinis, spiralized (you can julienne the noodles if you don't have a spiralizer or just use whole wheat pasta)
- Parmasean (optional topping)
- Heat olive oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer in the skillet. Allow to cook for about 1 minute. Add lemon juice. Continue to cook the shrimp in the skillet until they are no longer opaque, and pink in color.Add parsley and stir.
- Serve on top of Zoodles that have been coated with pesto sauce. Top with parmesan.
- I use a Paderno Spiralizer. It’s awesome.
- Not ready to invest in a spiralier? No problem. You can use a julienne peeler to make ribbons, or you can do it the old fashioned way and cut them by hand.
- The zucchini noodles can be served raw or you can heat them up in a skillet. Both are great! If you do serve the noodles warm, make sure not to overcook them or they will get mushy.
- Buy your shrimp frozen. Most U.S. grocery stores carry shrimp that has been shipped frozen and then thawed for the fish counter. The fish in the freezer aisle is exactly what is “fresh”- it just hasn’t been sitting around on ice all day.
- Look for the Best Aquaculture Practices label, for farmed (not wild) shrimp. This means it is raised without antibiotics and is raised in conditions that meet or exceed environmental regulations.
- If you can’t find shrimp with a certification, opt for wild-caught shrimp from North America.
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