Meatless Monday: Zoodles with Spinach Basil Pesto

I love my spiralizer. Have I told you that lately? Okay, I did just last week … But seriously, I’ve even written an ode to my spiralizer.

I love my zoodler.

It makes cooking so much fun.

I feel like a kid.

There you have it – my haiku to my spiralizer. There’s just something about it that makes cooking so much fun and reminds me of when I was a kid playing with play dough and making mystery meals … you know what I mean? Now that that’s off my chest (#awkward), here’s a quick and easy recipe that I made last week for St. Patrick’s Day- a super green, yet healthy, vegan dish for B and me. Sorry, I’m Italian and we had already had corned beef on Sunday  – so for the holiday it was super green noodles.

zoodles and pesto

Zoodles with Spinach Basil Pesto

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 medium-to-large zucchini
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • a large bunch of basil – about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped or slivered almonds (toasting them brings out a nutty flavor)
  • 3-5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (depending on how thin you like your pesto – I like mine a little thicker so I use less olive oil)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Using your zoodler (okay, or spiralizer) cut your zucchini into fun noodle-like pieces. When done, I put my zoodles in a pile on the cutting board and like to cut them in 1/3s or 1/2s so the pieces aren’t so large. Set aside.
  2.  Add garlic, basil and spinach to blender or food processor. I use my food processor and it works just fine. Mix well.
  3. Add in toasted almonds, continue to blend until a thick paste forms.
  4. Add in olive oil, one tablespoonful at a time and continue to blend until paste becomes somewhat creamy. Add in any extra salt, garlic, basil or olive oil to taste, as necessary. Mine makes about 1/3 cup pesto, which is perfect for this recipe. You could probably use a little less pesto but I like my zoodles coated!
  5. In a pan over medium heat, toss zoodles with pesto and heat for about 3-5 minutes or until just tossed and warm. Enjoy! Makes two healthy dinner portions.

Top with any of your favorite toppings – I like mine with parmesan cheese (not vegan), diced tomato, more fresh basil and even sometimes sautéed onions.

I’ll definitely be sharing more zoodle recipes soon – I’ve already made shrimp zoodle scampi, zoodles with homemade tomato sauce … and even used my spiralizer on sweet potatoes to make curly sweet potato fries!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s the next Meatless Monday recipe you have planned? I’m joining with this MM linkup and of course checking out MeatlessMonday.com for ideas!
  • Zoodler fans – what zoodle recipe should I make next? This is my second one shared in a week.
  • How do you make your pesto? I typically use basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pignoli nuts, so this is a different version for me! 

Garlicky Spicy Shrimp and Zoodles

Have I mentioned that I got a spiralizer? I know, I’m behind the times. I had been using my mandolin to make zoodles and even a knife to make thin shreds for salads (like a papaya or apple salad). But guess what – the wait is over. I finally found a spiralizer I love, that meets my needs (is easy-to-use, doesn’t take up a lot of space and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles) and I tried you out. So beware – there may be an influx of zoodle recipes coming your way!

Here’s the first recipe I tried out. Good news – even B enjoyed it!

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way shape or form giving up pasta. I am Italian and pasta holds a special place in my heart, especially homemade pasta. So yes, to answer your question (I knew you were going to ask) – I will still be making homemade pasta. BUT this is great for a quick, easy, healthy weeknight dish. The following meal took less than 30 minutes to make!

Garlicky Spicy Shrimp and Zoodles

Garlicky Spicy Shrimp and Zoodles 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 medium-to-large zucchini (mine were each about 8-10 inches in length and 3 inches in width about)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. divided
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 14 large peeled and deveined cocktail shrimp (note: you can use raw shrimp, just cook them a little bit first before anything else – I just didn’t want to handle raw shrimp)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • salt, to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Use your spiralizer to make zoodles! I have this spiralizer (iPerfect Kitchen Envy Spiral Slicer Bundle – Vegetable Spiralizer – Zucchini Spaghetti Pasta Maker)  and LOVE it because it’s perfect for my needs – its simple, easy to use and easy to clean and takes up practically no space in my kitchen. I used the larger size zoodler setting for this recipe (my spiralizer only has two settings which is perfect for me). I chopped the zoodles in about half so they weren’t super long. Set zoodles aside.
  2. In a large nonstick pan, add 1/2 of extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until start to become translucent. Add in garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add in shrimp and be careful not to overcook- toss with oil, shallots and garlic until just warm.
  4. Add in zoodles, broth and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook the zoodles – I like mine just a little bit softened – if you prefer yours al dente, definitely don’t cook more than 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and toss with rest of olive oil, basil and hot pepper flakes. Serve while warm.

Enjoy!

Garlicky Spicy Shrimp and Zoodles

Some questions for you:

  • What noodle dish should I try with zoodles next? Spaghetti and meatballs? Chicken lomein? Pasta puttanesca? Spaghetti and clam sauce? Another?
  • What’s your favorite pasta dish? Not talking with zoodles, but talking REAL DEAL PASTA! I love any pasta with seafood, especially spicy dishes. I also love B’s homemade turkey meatballs 🙂