This recipe is my personal summer favourite. It's quick, light and delicious: zucchini noodles, also called zoodles. The only tool you need to create this wondrous veggie pasta is a spiralizer or julienne peeler.
Zoodles are a low-carb alternative to pasta. In a low-carb diet, dishes mainly consist of vegetables, dairy, fish and meat whereby fats and proteins act as a substitute for the missing carbohydrates.
Fat molecules mainly consist of long hydrocarbon chains, and those have a higher energy density (more kcal per gram), but the body has a tougher time processing them. Now, if your body doesn't get enough carbohydrates from food, your metabolism moves towards the catabolic side of the spectrum, meaning the body is forced to utilise its own fat deposits for energy, which in turn leads to weight loss.
There are many proponents of carb reduction, at the same time, many people point out the body's essential need for carbohydrates. They are healthy and fundamentally important, particularly for athletes.
But there's a compromise, of course - if you follow "low-carb" instead of "no-carb", you shouldn't have any problems at all.
I personally would never be able to entirely renounce carbs, I'm too much of a potato person. On a low-carb diet, essential foods like fruit, wholegrain products and potatoes aren't allowed at all, and in their place you'll eat a lot of protein, either in the form of egg dishes or meat. A healthier option would be to get most of your protein from plants and grains like quinoa, amaranth, legumes, green vegetables etc.
Animal-derived protein also has a higher fat content, raising the risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke etc.
Zucchini contain lots of vitamins like vitamin C, which protects our body from disease, and vitamin K, which is great for our muscle tissue and bones. It also has vitamin B1 and beta-carotene, strengthening our immune system, and essential minerals like potassium, a huge contributor to our metabolic system. Magnesium fortifies our muscles and iron does the same for our blood.
And what's in a carrot? This beauty packs the highest Provitamin A content of all the vegetables with its abundance of beta-carotene, which gives them their intense orange colour.
Photo (c) Julia Stix for MAXIMA Gourmet Extra, March 2016
- 6 garlic cloves
- 300g cherry tomatoes
- 5ml olive oil
- sea salt
- 4 large zucchini
- 4 TBSP pine nuts
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 4 TBSP pesto alla Genovese
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (upper/lower heat). Peel the garlic cloves and put them in an ovenproof form. Add the cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes.
- Just before the end of the roasting time, top and tail the zucchini and zoodle them with your spiralizer or julienne peeler.
- In a dry pan, roast the pine nuts. Before serving, rinse the zoodles for 30 seconds under hot water, drain, add to the tomatoes, stir well, season with salt and pepper and arrange on a plate with the pesto.