Its coming up on the time when summer squash (the yellow looking zucchini) and zucchini are in season. Last week I got a couple little guys in my CSA box from Lancaster Farm Fresh. One of my husband’s favorite meals is spaghetti squash with meatballs, but spaghetti squash isn’t in season anymore so it’s harder to find! No worries, you can make a new kind of “noodle” from the abundance of summer squash and zucchini that’s available.
How the heck do you make noodles out of vegetables, I know that’s what you’re thinking. Don’t worry its VERY simple and takes about the same amount of time as boiling water and cooking traditional pasta but is much healthier for you. Don’t let the ingredient list on the meatball scare you, it’s worth it. Here’s what you need:
- Summer Squash
Meatballs & Sauce — a good pairing with your noodles
- 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
- 2 small carrots
- 1/2 a large onion
- 1 handfull (or 2) of spinach
- 1/4 cup of almond meal
- 1 egg (optional)
- 1 -2 tsp basil (dried) to taste
- 1 tsp oregano (dried) to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt & pepper (optional)
To start, you will need 1 squash (zucchini or summer squash) per planned serving, depending on the size of the squash. To make a serving of 4, start with 4 squash. To make enough for 2 start with 2. As you cut/peel the squash you’ll see how much it makes and can either stop early or add an additional squash if it doesn’t look like enough “noodles” First wash the squash and dry it. Then cut the top and bottom of the squash, you’ll do the same for the yellow summer squash or the zucchini, so that you have a nice flat surface to stand the squash vertically. Next, use your vegetable peeler and start at the top and “peel” the squash by creating a peel the length of the squash.
If you want shorter “noodles” you can cut the squash in half first, but I like the longer ones so you can actually twirl them around your fork when you’re done! Continue creating your peeled squash noodles until the remaining squash is too small to peel anymore. Take the remaining and cut it as thinly as possible so you don’t waste it and add it to the “noodle” pile.
After you created your noodles, place them in a colander and let them sweat. This is a tip I took from Melissa Jouwlan’s Well Fed cookbook, and you do this to remove some of the water from the squash which keeps your noodles from being too watery at the end (anyone had this problem before?). In the colander, coat the squash with sea salt, and then let sit for 20-30 minutes.
While you are letting this sit you can use this time to make your meatballs and sauce. I recently posted a great way to add veggies to your meatballs, so rather than repeat that info, check here for my gluten free, veggie filled, and delicious! meatballs. To make the meatballs, use a mini prep food processor and chop the veggies (carrots, onion, and spinach) and then throw all the other ingredients in a large bowl and mix it together. Create meatball from the meat mixture and place in the pan to cook.
After the meatballs are mostly cooked, I add 1 – 2 cans of marinara sauce to the pan and then let it simmer for about 10 minutes (you can just add it and let it heat up too, the cooking is done at this point). Now before you judge, I know that I’m takeinga shortcut by using Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce…I know its sacrilegious to not make my own sauce, but this one doesn’t have any crappy ingredients, tastes great, and helps to get dinner on the table faster! Trust me about the can too, it’s $1.79 (I think) a can and the best value for your dollar!
After you’ve let the squash noodles sit, rinse the salt off and then dry the noodles (you just did all that work to remove the excess water after all). Then throw them in a large saute pan.
I added a tiny bit of coconut oil since I didn’t want them to stick. Toss the noodles in the pan, moving with a wooden spoon for 3 to 5 minutes, until the squash is tender. Place the squash on plates and get ready to serve!