My oh my what a week it has been. I know, it’s probably been quite a week for you too, so I won’t even start to complain. I’ve been a bit disheartened as of late, because the scale has really slowed down. I went from losing about 2 pounds a week to about .5 pound a week. I think I have hit a plateau of some sort, but I do feel that my body is still changing in a good way, regardless of what the scale says. This is possibly due to a higher intensity workout….well, hopefully. Atleast i know I’ve been making excellent choices for my body, nothing bad can come from that.
Now for an awkward segue….
My dad’s favorite meal is Spaghetti and Meatballs. I’ve never really been a fan of this dish, mainly because my mom is not a little Italian grandmother (sorry Mom), and it always seems to lack something.
Being the good daughter I am, I decided to cook his favorite dish in a way that everyone in the family could eat, guilt free. Now I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but my dad is a picky eater. He wants everything prepared the same way his mom made it, and well that just doesn’t fit in with a healthy lifestyle. So he can go ahead and grumble and groan when I replace spaghetti with zucchini, but come on man, we have to get your health under control.
That sounded a bit rant-ish, didn’t mean for it to happen that way.
I made a lasagna a few months ago using zucchini as the noodle and it was absolutely delicious, however, dairy is a thing of the past for me and I refuse to do a lasagna without cheese. Zucchini is not exactly the easiest pasta replacement; you have to deal with all of the water that comes along with the vegetable. I would say the secret to the deliciousness of this recipe is the homemade marinara.
This was seriously good, I wouldn’t post anything that wasn’t. I did not miss a real noodle at all. It was satiating and most importantly, comforting.
Yes, it really is as good as it looks.
Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs
For the Marinara:
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 8oz pkg of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 oz of quality sausage (that means fresh, real, no preservatives, at the very least make sure it doesn’t have nitrates or nitrites)
- 1 32 oz can of tomatoes, doesn’t have to be exact and can be whole, crushed, or diced. Just make sure that you look at the ingredient list (all natural ingredients) and San Marzano tomatoes are really the best!
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (may omit if you don’t like any kind of spicy)
- 2 Tbs minced basil
- Olive oil
To make the marinara:
1. Heat 2 Tbs of Olive oil in a pan (should be atleast a 3 quart pan, I used a 5 quart and it was perfect) to medium high heat. Add The mushrooms and cook until browned. Add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the veggies are limp.
2. Add sausage and red pepper flakes, cook until sausage in brown. Add the chicken broth and scrape the brown bits off of the bottom. Add the tomatoes, italian seasoning, and a bay leaf. break up the tomatoes as much as possible and bring to a slight boil. Turn down to a simmer and let it simmer away for an hour.
3. Remove the bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste, and serve over pasta!
For the noodles:
- About 1 zucchini per person, for the amount of sauce listed above, 5 zucchinis were perfect
1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove most of the dark outer skin. With the peeler, make thin strips of zucchini. Be sure to avoid the seedy centers.
2. Put the zucchini strips into a colander and salt. Make sure to mix it together so that all of the zucchini is evenly coated. Let stand for 30 minutes, and then rinse the salt off. (This helps the zucchini shed some of its water)
3. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add zucchini and boil for 1 minute, remove and drain.
To put the dish together!:
On a platter, spread the zucchini noodles out, but not too thin. Top with sauce and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Top the sauce with your favorite meatballs! I would have included a meatball recipe, but it’s not a particularly special meatball. I figured we all have our favorite meatball recipe, just make sure you use quality meat!!!! And if you’re paleo: no milk, cheese, or grain in your meatball!