Use Shredded Veggies Instead of Noodles

Who Doesn’t Love Pasta?

Sure pasta and noodles technically originate in Italian and Asian cuisines, but these days pasta seems as American as burgers and fries. You see it on menus across all genres of food covered in sauces from every regional cuisine imaginable. It’s also a fantastically common staple in most family kitchen, as it’s literally a “just-add-water” type food that even the most novice of cooks can master relatively easily. It’s also inexpensive and shelf-stable.

But…

Delicious as it may be, eating pasta all the time isn’t without its drawbacks. Usually made from wheat semolina, pasta can be a carb bomb, spiking our blood sugar and zapping our energy. It might be a cheap, non-perishable food, but (like most cheap food), it comes at a cost. Pasta can also be problematic for folks attempting follow a gluten-free lifestyle, but lucky for them, food makers and marketers have taken care of that little problem.

Or have they?

Even the highest quality gluten-free whole-grain pastas are loaded with quickly digestible carbohydrates that can lead to a spike in blood sugar and eventually weight gain. Remember, “whole grain” flour is still flour with a much higher glycemic load than it’s actual whole grain counterpart. Brown rice pasta will turn to sugar in your system more quickly than whole brown rice, for example. As such, those of us who are watching our waistlines should consider keeping our processed carbohydrates to a minimum, treating starchy, flour-based foods like bread and pasta as “treats” instead of daily staples.

Vegetable Pasta: The Healthy Alternative

Before you get too upset thinking I’m taking away the vehicle for your grandmother’s famous meat sauce recipe passed down through the generations, consider the possibility that there’s more to twirl on your fork than pasta made from grain flours. Using a couple of simple kitchen tools and some completely unprocessed vegetables, you can not only have a delicious, low-glycemic, healthy vehicle for your favorite sauce, you can also twirl it on your fork and satisfy your primal pasta needs.veggiepastasauce

Shredded Collard Green “Fettuccine”

Directions:

  1. Rinse your leaves well and find a really sharp straight-edged knife
  2. Taking care of your fingers, use one hand to stack up and flatten out two or three leaves on top of a cutting board
  3. Run the top 1/2 inch of your very sharp knife parallel to the rib in as thick or thin a slice as you’d like to eat, and repeat on both sides of the rib (I chose a “fettuccine” thickness)
  4. In a large saucepan, bring about 1.5 inches of water to boil with a pinch of salt
  5. Place the collard green “fettuccine” into the boiling water and stir for one minute, ensuring that all the “noodles” are slightly wilted
  6. Strain in a colander and either plate with sauce on top or toss in to mix

Zucchini “Spaghetti”

This next veggie pasta dish requires a special tool. It’s actually a very simple (and inexpensive) kitchen tool that I found in the “As Seen on TV” section of Bed Bath and Beyond, recommended by a fellow AHS coworker here on the HR Ops team.

The Veggetti.

This little $14 kitchen gadget works better for this particular culinary task than the $50 mandolin I returned to purchase it.

veggiepastazucchinipesto

Directions:

  1. Veggetti your raw zucchini – estimate about 2 per person (here’s a video to show you how)
  2. In a large saucepan, bring about 1.5 inches of water to boil with a pinch of salt
  3. Place the zucchini “spaghetti” in the water and boil on low for 3 to 5 minutes, making sure it doesn’t get too soft. You want it to be al dente, just like regular pasta – don’t let it get mushy
  4. Strain in a colander and toss in your sauce – optional to add in a meat and extra veggies of your choice

The beautiful thing about both of these options is that you are doubling or even tripling your daily veggie intake while also allowing yourself a larger helping of “pasta,” totally guilt-free. Enjoy it! And come back here and let me know what you think once you do!

 

2 thoughts on “Use Shredded Veggies Instead of Noodles

  1. What are your thoughts on the idea that most people aren’t gluten intolerant but rather allergic to “round-up” which is typically used on wheat before harvesting.

    • I think that if that were true then folks eating organic wheat products not sprayed with Round Up wouldn’t have a reaction to gluten. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case. I don’t doubt that Round Up could cause and is causing problems in our food supply, but it’s not linked to gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease as far as I’m aware.

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