Need some pasta night inspiration? Want to try zucchini noodles but not sure that your family will like it? Here are 3 ways to serve up this healthier take on pasta…
Zucchini Noodle Pasta
Zucchini noodle pasta. I’m a little late when it comes to this trend as I only started making it this past year. I held off for a while because I wondered: 1 – how could zucchini noodles be as satisfying as real noodles? And, 2 – how would I find the time to spiralize zucchini into noodles on a busy weeknight? And, of course, 3 – would my kids like it?
- Well, the answer to question one is, as long as you include adequate healthy protein and fat in the dish, zucchini noodle pasta is super satisfying! That said, I like my carbs! So sometimes I mix in some regular pasta and other times I serve sourdough whole wheat bread or crisp rye bread (such as WASA) on the side.
- As for finding time to spiralize noodles? Yes, it does add an extra 5 minutes to spiralize the noodles, but that is seriously all it takes! Of course, these days you can also buy pre-spiralized zucchini at the grocery store. I think digging out the spiralizer from my cabinet is the hardest part of this step!
- Finally, as for number 3, let me start by saying that my kids don’t like zucchini (unless it’s in a muffin studded with chocolate chips!). Thus, the honest answer is that my younger son has yet to actually taste the zucchini noodles. And my older son thinks they are ok, but prefers classic pasta. Guess I just have to keep trying.
So, why not just stick to classic pasta if the kids are not yet thrilled about zucchini noodles? Because that would be boring and we need to mix it up! Not to mention, aside from carbo loading athletes, most of us could stand to do with fewer carbs in our pasta. With repeated exposure, I hope my kid will learn to love this new version of one of their favorite meals.
Tips on Getting Your Kids to Eat Zucchini Noodles
- Have your kids help spiralize the veggies! This will make them more likely to try it. My boys both love to do this, even if they still prefer regular pasta to zucchini noodles. Baby steps. Exposure. Etc.
- Mix the zucchini noodles with half regular spaghetti. This is also great for those of us who don’t want a completely low carb dinner, just a lightened up version of our beloved pasta. For 4 people, cook up half a box of spaghetti and toss with zucchini noodles made from 2-4 zucchini.
- Mix in protein-packed family favorites, such as Italian Chicken Sausage, Shrimp, and Swedish Meatballs.
- Serve it with favorite sauces, whether marinara, pesto, or good old butter and sea salt!
- Go ahead and call the noodles “zoodles” if it brings a smile to your little one’s faces. (I admit, the name has kind of grown on me.)
Here is my recipe for basic zucchini noodles with mix-ins:
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Mix in's (e.g., fresh spinach, fresh basil, cooked meatballs, cooked sliced Italian chicken sausage, cooked shrimp)
- Sauce (marinara, basil, butter)
- Spiralize zucchini
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add garlic and saute for 30 - 60 seconds.
- Add spiralized zucchini and saute for 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add mix-in's, such as fresh spinach, fresh basil, cooked spaghetti, cooked meatballs, cooked shrimp, or cooked chicken sausage. Use tongs to combine over medium heat.
- Serve with your favorite sauce and parmesan cheese if desired.
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes
Chopped fresh basil