Cooking Butternut Squash Noodles With Pasta Texture

Happy Monday!  What did you do this weekend?  I had a good one for several reasons, but the three main ones were definitely because it was SUNNY BOTH DAYS, I ran 7 miles on Sunday (with ZERO knee pain), AND I got to meet Neil from none other than, Neil’s Healthy Meals and his lovely wife, Lynne on Saturday!  Neil, Lynne, Luke, and I all got together for lunch and had great laughs, food, and general conversation.  I love meeting bloggers I follow in real life!

So, back to the topic at hand today:  BUTTERNUT SQUASH NOODLES!

I’ve had a BUNCH of emails, comments, and in-person questions about my veggie noodle “porn” as one of my pals called it.  We’ve gone too far as humans, right?

Actually, who am I kidding?  LOOK at this zoodle …errr voodle errr …boodle…

monday10

Whatever you call it, it’s really magnificent!  I am a former pasta-holic.  I put my hands up and admit it.  So when I tell you the following fact, it’s the absolute truth:  I have eaten actual pasta twice in the last 8 months.  

Some people are super skeptical about purchasing a spiralizer.  I get it.  My first purchase was the Veggetti.   

Delizioso!
horrible photo from a VERY early post.

I started out making zoodles (zucchini noodles) and at first I was like, “ugh, whatever, they suck”.

SO open-minded of me, right?

I stuck by my Veggetti and I kept using it to make things like cucumber-based salads, carrot-based salads, and regular and sweet potato fries/pancakes.

Then I got an actual sprializer and started playing with the big kids:  Turnip, celeriac, cabbage, and most importantly BUTTERNUT SQUASH.

squashnoodles
so much more than a pretty veggie…

Cooking spiralized noodles has really become a sort of trial and error process, for me.  Firstly, I had to contend with the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit heats switching to a British oven.  Secondly, I am SUPER picky about food texture.  I don’t like my veggie noodles watery and, if I’m making them for a pasta dish, I want them as close in texture to pasta as possible.

There are some people who are afraid of change and the idea of making vegetables into pasta is just something they downright fear.

Photo Credit

Side-note:  I feel like there are people who read my blog that were not even born when Wayne’s World came out.

Whatever, I’m old.  It bears repeating.

Obviously.

BUT back to butternut squash noodles.

I’ve discovered there are 3 rules for cooking butternut squash noodles with PASTA texture:

  1. You must use your Blade C. (I ALWAYS get A and C backwards.  Apologies!)
  2. You must cook the noodles FRESHLY spiralized.  (If you store them in the fridge for a few days they will leak moisture and shrivel up into nothingness in the oven. )
  3. You must cook them at a LOW heat (about 125 Celsius/ 250 Fahrenheit) for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, tossing around the pan every 12-15 minutes.  (My oven takes about 53 minutes, to be exact.)

Your butternut squash noodles will have the most amazing texture if you follow these rules!  My husband absolutely devoured/loved my slow cooker marinara sauce best on our noodles.  When you can wrap your veggie noodles around your fork and bite down on that perfect texture, you’ll be like, “spaghetti who?”

..and it started from one amazing veggie!

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Happy butternut squash noodle making!   Get creative or keep it simple.  This veggie in noodle form will seriously make you think twice about grabbing a box of pasta next time you’re at the shop.

Did I also mention it takes almost NO effort to make butternut squash noodles?

I’ve shared this before, but Ali over at Inspiralized.com has a great tutorial for how to prep and spiralize just about anything that can be spiralized.  Check out her tutorial here.

You might also like to check out more of my spiralizer recipes here.

Have you jumped on the spiralized noodle bandwagon yet?

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Spiralized Butternut Squash Caprese Salad

There’s nothing I love to order more at an Italian restaurant or deli than a caprese salad.  I love the combination of fresh basil and tomato — it’s so delightful!  It’s such a fresh tasting salad that instantly makes me think of summer.  Adding butternut squash into this traditional salad packs it with extra nutrition and really fills you up. Sprinkle on a bit of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and prepare to be in food heaven!  

caprese1One of the things I miss about living in New York has to be the Italian eateries.  I miss going into a small delicatessen and looking behind the glass counter at all the amazing pastas, meats, cheeses, and salads.  I loved getting a caprese salad whenever possible.  

The smell of fresh basil has a special power over me.  It’s an herb certainly worth growing.  

caprese2

Did you know that basil is one of the healthiest herbs in the world?  Basil, also known as St. Joseph’s Wart, belongs to the mint family.  What makes basil so healthy?  Basil has antibacterial qualities, provided by its volatile oils — such as, estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene.  Basil also has important antioxidants such as, orientin and vicenin, which, have been found to protect cell structures.  Plus, it tastes beautiful and makes margherita pizza, salads, soups, pastas, and sandwiches taste fantastic.

While I love fresh out of your own garden basil, you can easily buy a basil plant to keep in your kitchen or home to add flavor and nutrition to your every day foods.  

Basil is even good in a cocktails; basil gimlet, basil lemon martini, and basil was also used at a bar I used to go to in NYC for their mojito recipe!  YUM!

caprese3

I’ve been neglecting my spiralizer lately, and I feel really guilty about it.  In fact, Luke and I have been eating way too much meat lately and have both realized — since my recent nutritional therapy certification — that we need to abstain from wheat.  However, that’s a whole blog series in itself (and may become one)!

You don’t have to own a spiralzer to make this recipe, because it would be just as delicious with chopped or sliced butternut squash.  This is a chilled salad, however, so you will be refrigerating the squash after it is fully cooked.  I prefer spiralizing butternut squash, so when I can, I will take advantage of that over chopping any day!

squashnoodles

With the 4th of July coming up (wow, that makes me homesick) this salad would be a wonderful addition to any BBQ or get together.  Spiralized butternut squash caprese salad is so colorful, flavorful, and simple — you really should give this recipe a try.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spiralized Butternut Squash Caprese Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Chilled spiralized butternut squash caprese salad. A colorful and fiber rich version of the traditional Italian classic.
Ingredients
  • 1 Medium butternut squash (spiralized or chopped)
  • 2 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped (and two full leaves to garnish)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp of healthy oil (I used hemp, you could use any healthy oil of your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp of grated parmesean cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. You will want to cook your butternut squash noodles or cubes and let them cool in the refrigerator ahead of time (minimum of 90 minutes)
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 (ovens vary).
  3. Prepare and peel your butternut squash for spiralizing or chopping. If you're going to spiralize your butternut squash you should use your "C" blade (for thinner noodles).
  4. Cook the squash until thoroughly heated (mine took about 30 minutes)
  5. Place cooked squash in the refrigerator to cool.
  6. To prepare the rest of your salad:
  7. Chop up your tomatoes into chunks
  8. You will want to roughly chop your basil leaves, and depending on how strong your want your basil flavor to be, you may want more than ¼ cup!
  9. Finely chop the garlic.
  10. Once your squash is cooled, place the chilled noodles (or chunks) into a giant bowl and add in the tomato, basil, and garlic.
  11. Add in your 2 tbsp of healthy oil and combine all the ingredients.
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Place the salad mixture back in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  14. Once the entire salad mixture has chilled thoroughly, add in your 2 tbsp of grated parmesean cheese and garnish with two full basil leaves.
  15. Mangiare!

You could cut down on the cooking time by serving this salad cooked, but during the summer don’t you just love a pasta salad or chilled veggies?  I know that I do.

caprese1

Do you like basil?  What’s your favorite Italian dish?

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Spinach Pesto and Butternut Squash Pasta

This vegetarian dish is simple, colorful, delicious, and healthy.   Butternut squash noodles are one of my favorites to make with my spiralizer.  This meal is not only beautiful in presentation, but it is bursting with flavor and a whole lot of nutrition!

spinach pestoIf you read my blog already, you know that I’m obsessed with my spiralizer.  It has CHANGED MY LIFE.  It really has.  Not that I didn’t eat a (mostly) healthy diet before I “spiraled” into a new way of eating (sorry – had to), but having that nifty kitchen tool has really revolutionized my diet.

I love pasta, so please don’t read this and think, “ugh, here’s another person trying to convince me that vegetables shaped like spaghetti are a perfect substitute for my favorite carbs” — I am not here to talk you out of loving traditional pasta.   However, I have really come to love making pasta dishes using veggie noodles, because they are delicious and healthy.  

The butternut squash noodle is so wonderful.  It holds a great texture when baked and really complements an array of sauce options (vegetarian, vegan, etc.).

Spinach Pesto and Butternut Squash Noodles

I always used to think that pesto was strictly basil, pine nut, and garlic, and in a traditional sense, this is correct.  However, there are other varieties of pesto you can create.  Pesto, is a generic term for anything that is made by pounding, so there are various other pestos, some traditional, some modern, but all delicious!

I chose to make my pesto out of frozen spinach, because Luke kept bringing up that we had a massive amount of it and it needed using!  As per, my intuitive cooking light went on and out to the kitchen I went to start thawing out the frozen spinach with pesto on my mind.

pesto

Isn’t that beautiful?  It really does taste as good as it looks.  I love the combination of the spinach and the garlic.  If you choose to use hemp oil, it really takes the place of adding pine nuts by giving off a nutty flavor and really enhancing the flavor of the entire dish.

squash noodles

If you haven’t spiralized a butternut squash before, here’s a helpful video from the spiralizing queen, Ali Maffucci over at Inspiralized.  It really is as easy as it looks and so much fun to make!

Cooking should be fun, because it is fun!  If you don’t own a spiralizer and you love your veggies, you really need to get one.  Honestly, I’m not lying, again, when I say it has changed the way I cook and eat.  It has also unleashed my “inner chef” as it has inspired me to experiment with more flavors, spices, and combinations.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Spinach Pesto and Butternut Squash Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian / Easy
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Spinach replaces basil in this variation on a classic pesto sauce. It's still green, it's just a little bit different!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of frozen or fresh spinach (thaw out for two hours and remove excess moisture if frozen).
  • 2 T of grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup of your favorite healthy oil (I used hemp oil which is nutty and full-bodied)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (or whole if you're using a food processor).
  • 1 butternut squashed, spiralized (see instructional video in post).
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Once you have your spinach selection ready, place spinach, oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor or blender. (It's really best to "feed" the oil in as you process, but you can also put it in a bit at a time with a blender or mini food processor if needed!)
  2. Set aside until squash is spiralized and baked.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200 C (of approx 400 F)
  4. Cut the top end of your squash off and cut the long part of the butternut squash (before you get to the seeded/pulpy bit).
  5. Peel and cut in half widthwise.
  6. Spiralize both halves using your C blade.
  7. Coat your baking sheet with healthy oil (or cooking spray) and spread noodles over evenly and cook for 30-40 minutes (ovens vary so keep checking the texture)
  8. **If you like a crunchier veggie noodle I would not go past 30 minutes at this temperature.
  9. Once your noodles are done, divide out on a plate and top with pesto and garnish with a fresh basil or spinach leaf for presentation.
  10. Enjoy

 

spiralized butternut squash pasta

I know this will become an instant favorite for you and your family if you’re fans of traditional pesto on pasta.  This is a nice alternative to not replace pasta in your life, but to expand your dietary horizons.

Do you ever make alternative pesto?  What’s your favorite spiralized noodle?

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Coodles and Dilly “Mac” and Goat Cheese

Coodles?  What the?

Wow!  This is my first Tuesday post in AGES and my first one linking up with Jessica and Jill for #DishTheFit in a LONG time.  I have seriously missed it, ladies!  The Fit Dish link up is so fun, so yes, I’m glad to participate once again!

Today’s topic for #DishTheFit is “share your favorite healthy recipe” and mine is something that has become a new fave.  About a month ago, I finally started using an official spiralizer and retired my Veggetti for good (sorry, l’il guy, but you needed to move over for the big kids to cook!)  I am not exagerating in any way when I say this, I COULD USE THE SPIRALIZER EVERY DAY FOR EVERY MEAL.  I don’t know why I had to get all “capsy” about that, but it’s a serious statement?  Yeah, that’s it.  Having a spiralizer is a great way to add lots of veggies into your diet and with wonderful blogs like Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci you can get new recipe ideas all the time!  Speaking of new recipe ideas, ahem, let me get on with mine.

The magic of “coodles”.

I love carrots and always have.  Sometimes carrots get a bad rap, but they shouldn’t, because they are loaded with nutrients that are fantastic for us.

you’re welcome.

So, now that’s been squared away, I can say not only is the carrot a healthy veggie, but it also makes one of the best types of veggie noodles out there.  Whether you cook them in a pan, boil them like pasta, or roast them in the oven, carrot noodles is a wondrous food!  However, one DOWNSIDE to carrot noodling (new verb, can you dig it?) is, it is really tough finding a wide enough carrot to do full spaghetti style noodles with.  Don’t let that discourage you though, because what I discovered through trial and error is that carrot noodles make the most awesome macaroni style of noodles.

carrot noodles

To make the macaroni style noodle you’ll not find a more perfect veggie to do the job than the carrot.  Using your “B” blade, you will get perfectly shaped noodles on your first try.  As I mentioned above, you can pan cook, boil, or roast your noodles; it’s really up to you how you want to cook them.  I opt for pan cooking with carrot noodles because it takes about 5-7 minutes and they have a nice toasty taste to them and retain the perfect amount of heat for mixing in your toppings.

 

Coodles and Dilly “Mac” and Goat Cheese

coodles and cheese

This recipe is SUPER simple and tasty.  All you need is a few carrots, goat cheese, and fresh (or freeze-dried) dill.  Seriously, that’s ALL you need.  When I’ve made this dish in the past, I’ve purchased a goat cheese with the herbs already in it, but you could certainly buy plain goat cheese and mix in your dill (or whatever herb you fancy)!  I have always loved pickled carrots, so the idea of combining carrots, cheese, and dill was a no-brainer!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Coodles (Carrot Noodles) and Dilly "Mac" and Goat Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian (Easy)
 
Carrot "noodles" and creamy dill infused goat cheese put a spin on traditional macaroni and cheese.
Ingredients
  • 3-4 whole carrots
  • 2 T. herb goat cheese (or plain goat cheese with herbs you mix in)
  • 1 T. Fresh (or freeze-dried) dill
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel, chop the ends off, and cut your carrots widthwise (or in thirds if they are long)
  2. Using your "B" blade, spiralize your carrot into macaroni sized shapes
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon of fresh (or dried) dill to the carrots
  4. Cook until the carrot is slightly "al dente" 5-7 minutes in a pan (3-4 minutes boiled or 12-15 minutes roasted at 400 F)
  5. Place cooked carrots in a bowl and immediately add your goat cheese and mix thoroughly
  6. Add salt & pepper to taste
  7. EAT!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 100 Fat: 3.5g Saturated fat: 2.5g Carbohydrates: 11g Sugar: 6g Sodium: 150mg Fiber: 4g Protein: 9 Cholesterol: 22mg

 

This recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make and is a great side idea for upcoming summer weather in place of a heavier macaroni and cheese or pasta salad.  You can also add other types of herbs or additional veggies to bulk it up!

Coodle Mac and Cheese
as rachel ray would say, “yum-o”

Thanks to Jessica and Jill for coming up with the topic this week for favorite healthy recipes!  I can’t wait to see what everybody else has to share!

Have you tried “coodles”?  Do you own a spiralizer?  Do you feel like carrots are an unappreciated veggie?  Join up for #DishTheFit with Jessica and Jill and join the fun!

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Pasta la Vista, Baby!

Hi everyone!  SO, how silly is my post title?  Ridiculous.  Whatever, I’m ridiculous.  However, as silly as the title is, it’s SUPER relevant!  Why you ask?  Either you actually did, or I am hearing voices …probably the latter — no, okay, the star of food post is:  SWEET POTATO “MOCK AND CHEESE”!

Mock and cheese?  Yes.  I replaced the traditional macaroni in my version of this comfort food classic with sweet potato “noodles”.  I know it is sort of “wrong” to say that I prefer this recipe to regular mac ‘n cheese, BUT it makes a very good substitute and packs a lot more nutrition.  One serving of this dish contains loads of fiber, potassium, vitamin A and it slashes your calorie total by leaps and bounds!

“Sweet potato ‘noodles’? No, thanks!”

That would have been me, back in the day.  Replacing pasta with anything was like, whoa!

lolz

However, if you know me (or read my blog) it is a fact that this girl LOVES sweet potatoes.  I won’t blather on about it, but they are good for you and they are very delicious.  When you cook sweet potato it takes on an array of different textures to work with, which makes it so versatile to use as a substitute in many dishes. Making sweet potato noodles is also a breeze.  You don’t need a spiralizer or a VEGGETTI (which I love, don’t hate!) No, all you need is a veggie “PEELER”.  That’s right, a peeler.  I just whittled down my sweet potatoes with a regular ‘ol peeler and cut the strips down into shorter pieces (about the size of a gemelli pasta).

Sweet Potato Noodles
the before.

The recipe, please!

So, once you’ve prepared the “noodles”, and by all means you do not have to cut the peeled sweet potato down to a smaller size, you’re going to chop up some yellow onion and throw it all together in a large skillet.

  • Preheat your oven to 375F — get this out of the way!
  • Cook the sweet potato and onion for about 12-15 minutes on medium heat, covered until the texture is as “al dente” as a sweet potato can get.
  • While you’re cooking your “noodles” prepare the cheese sauce.  To make a simple, low fat/calorie cheese sauce mix 1/4 cup 1% milk with 5 teaspoons of flour thoroughly, while heating 1 cup of 1% milk in a sauce pan.  Add the flour/milk mixture in with the heating milk and stir until thick.  Remove from heat and add in 2/3 cup of reduced fat, shredded cheddar cheese (or any cheese you fancy) and add in 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika and cumin.  Boom.  Done.
  • Once your noodles are ready, add them into a baking pan (add cooking spray/oil to avoid sticking!)
  • Top with cheese mixture and mix thoroughly throughout the pan.
  • Top with panko break crumbs and 2 tbsp of additional shredded cheese.
  • Bake 20 minutes and EAT!
Sweet Potato Mac n' Cheese
so good.

If you’re looking to try something new and look beyond pasta, I definitely recommend giving this dish a go!  I am certain that kids will love it as well!  Happy eating!

Do you use veggie “noodles” or “zoodles”? What’s your favorite pasta replacement? I have been bitten by the veggie noodle bug? Share your veggie noodle recipes with me, please!

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