I love pasta, but I don’t love the carb heaviness it can leave me with afterwards. In fact, just this week I ate one small pancake at Bob’s Red Mill and on the way home I felt tired enough for a nap after only being up for about 3 hours.
So my simple solution to off-setting the carbs is to sub in vegetables for two-thirds of the noodles. This not only makes the dish lighter in general, but also provides another two to three servings of vegetables which pretty much benefits everyone whether they like it or not (i.e. husbands).
I’ve used carrots for 100 percent of the noodles in a pasta dish before but it ultimately left me feeling unsatisfied. So by mixing carrots and zucchini ribbons in with whole wheat spaghetti noodles, I was able to satisfy my raging pasta cravings with less than half the calories.
Not to mention, it’s quite a beautiful dish.
Ribboning vegetables is simple: Just rinse the veggies and peel away any rough parts of the skin with a vegetable peeler, and then continue to ribbon out the vegetable until it’s practically gone. And if you’re looking for an easy way to spice up your go-to marinara, simply add in some sun dried tomato sauce or spread to give it a sophisticated twist without much effort.
- 1 carrot
- 1 small-medium zucchini
- 2 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (a small handful)
- ½ – ⅓ cup tomato sauce
- 3 Tablespoons sun dried tomato spread (or pureed sun dried tomatos)
- parmesan cheese and fresh basil (optional)
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions, shooting for al dente.
- Rinse and peel any rough skin spots from the carrot and zucchini. Then continue using the peeler to ‘ribbon’ them into noodles.
- Combine and warm your tomato sauce and sun dried tomato spread in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, stirring to combine and adding a little water if too thick.
- Once noodles are done, scoop them into a strainer (reserving the water) and cover with towel to keep them moist.
- Place zucchini and carrot noodles in the pasta water and boil for 3-4 minutes until tender or ‘al dente.’
- Add pasta noodles and vegetable noodles into the sauce, toss lightly and serve immediately.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese and basil for additional flavor.
* Leave off cheese or use cheese alternative to make it vegan.
I loved this dish not only for the flavor and ease of preparation, but also for how healthy it was. I was so satisfied by the time I’d finished my bowl, which probably contained at least 2 if not 3 servings of vegetables. If you’re not a fan of marinara, you could also toss your noodles in pesto or a mix of olive oil, garlic and parmesan instead.