There are many brands of gluten-free pasta on the market today, which makes it easy to continue enjoying picnic pasta salads and Sunday's pot of spaghetti on a gluten-free diet. For a healthier spin on pasta classics, there is a tool and technique called "spiralizing" that transforms vegetables into curly noodles. Talk about a healthy and naturally gluten-free pasta substitute!
With several different blades, a spiralizer tool slices vegetables (and fruit) into noodles of different thickness, from spaghetti to pappardelle. This tool costs between $25 and $50, depending on the brand, and is available on Amazon, at retailers Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma, and from Inspiralized, a food blog dedicated entirely to spiralizing.
If you don't have a spiralizer tool, no worries. You can use a julienne peeler instead to peel the zucchini into thin noodles. Julienned zucchini cooks down faster than spiralized zucchini, so be sure to adjust timing when cooking.
This healthy summertime "pasta" recipe swaps traditional spaghetti pasta for a beautiful tangle of curly zucchini noodles. It is a quick and easy dish with simple ingredients, but loads of flavor, that comes together in twenty minutes.
Diced beefsteak tomatoes, freshly chopped basil, garlic, a hint of crushed red pepper, and melty ooey-goey Buffalo Mozzarella taste like summer in a bowl, even more so tossed with fresh zucchini noodles.
- Wash and trim the ends off both zucchini. Spiralize into spaghetti size noodles (Blade C for many spiralizer tools). Trim the long noodles, set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Cook until tomatoes begin to soften, about 1-2 minutes, then add the mozzarella. Cook until the mozzarella begins to melt, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the zucchini noodles and 3/4 of the freshly chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine (I find using tongs is easier to handle the zucchini noodles and mix the ingredients together). Cook for 2-3 minutes until the noodles soften, but still have bite. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle remaining basil over top. Divide the Caprese zucchini noodles onto two plates, pouring off any excess liquid. Serve immediately.
*Tomatoes and zucchini release liquid when cooked, so there will be liquid in the bottom of the pan after everything is done cooking. You can either pour this off or serve a bit on the plate for added flavor.
*For protein, this dish pairs well with seafood and chicken.
Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels to confirm the product is gluten-free. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.