Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lip-Smacking Pesto Zoodles Stirfry

In my cooking world, new meals are a privilege found only on vacations and days with canceled class. After my Women's Nutrition class challenged me to add more dietary variety, though, I've been eating oodles of this dish.

Oodles of zoodles to be exact, paired with sliced beggies drenched in a rich chicken stock, creamy pesto, juicy pan-fried fish and a sprinkle of hemp seeds on top. With that mouthful, can you really blame my addiction?


gluten free celiac zoodles paleo stir fry
Um, YUM?
Zuchinni noodles - a popular grain free and vegan pasta substitute - have always intrigued me. So when I had an Amazon gift card with my name on it (literally), I chose a mini spiralizer to join my drawer of kitchen gadgets

Like many of the other recipes I've shared, this one is allergy friendly (gluten, dairy, grain and nut free!) and easily adaptable. To get your zoodle dance on, begin with these simple ingredients: 

Serves 1-2
1 spiralizer, julienne peeler, or ninja knife skills
1 medium zuchinni 
1 cup mixed veggies, sliced lengthwise (I love using a mix of snow peas, green beans, squash, and beets
Handful of kale/spinach leafs
3-4 tbsp chicken/vegetable stock (I love Imagine: Free Range Chicken Broth)
2-4 tbsp pesto (I love to alternate between this and this recipe)
Sprinkle of hemp seeds (or alternate nut/seed) 
Cooking oil (olive, coconut, etc)
Optional: 1-2 filets of choice of fish, chicken, or meat substitute

Begin by assuming the position (in my boyfriend's words) of transforming your zuchinni into noodles. If you have a spiralizer, follow the instructions on the  box. If using a julienne or knife, cut the zucchini into thin strips. Whatever method you choose, guard your fingers! (I may or may not have almost lost a few inches of skin so far.) 


gluten free celiac college zoodles paleo
Dangerous but delicious!

After making your noodles, leave them in a bowl or plate to dry. Some suggest sprinkling them with salt to remove the possibility of any acidic zuchinni taste. I've done it with or without salt and loved them equally

Next, you can pan fry your optional protein. Because the dish doesn't have any grains, I love topping the stir fry with fish to bump up the nutrients and staying power. My favorite topper has been trout pan fried with olive oil in the skillet for 2 minutes on either side at medium heat. My salmon recipe also tastes delicious on top!

You can also prepare your pesto at this time. I love always having a jar in my fridge, either as dip for veggies or sauces for dinner. Feel free to use your own favorite recipe, a store bought winner, or one of the two I've suggested. 


pesto paleo gluten free nut free celiac college
My favorite green mix...besides green smoothies!
Finally comes the mountain of veggies and the actual cooking! To get the stir-fry feel, I slice mine into strips. Throw them into a pot with a few tsp of cooking oil and start cooking them at high/med heat. I fry mine until the veggies are soft and lightly blackened, adding a few tbsp of the chicken broth as I do. 

Then rotate the heat to low, and throw the zuchinni noodles on top to steam. Some eat them raw, but I prefer my noodles just softened. When the noodles have cooked with the pot lid on for a few minutes, add a tbsp of the pesto and the last of the stock, stirring them into the veggies. You can also add in the kale/spinach leaves at this time.


Pot o' goodness!
Once all the ingredients are thoroughly cooked and heated, pour them into a bowl(s). Place the protein of choice on top plus the leftover pesto. Sprinkle a few hemp seeds on the top, find and fork and dig in! 

When time is low and life is busy, sometimes experimenting with new foods falls to the bottom of my to-do list. As I dig into another zoodle bowl tonight, though, I can't help but think this is the tastiest school project yet!



How do you get more variety into a limited diet? Haave you ever had zoodles? Comment below! 




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