I'll be honest, I really don't like zucchini. I mean, I'll eat it, but typically I would rather have any other vegetable... that is until I dove into the world of zucchini noodles (affectionately nicknamed "zoodles").
When made into noodles, zucchini can carry any flavor - even a classic red sauce with meatballs like this recipe. Any other pasta-lovers out there excited for a nourishing alternative to white flour noodles?!?
I thought so ;)
This recipe also happens to be a teaser for the 4-weeks of scrumptious recipes & meal plans in our upcoming Nutrition Bootcamp, Oct. 1-29. That's right! Bootcamp is back with all new fall-flavored recipes. Join us!
With the overflow of zucchini and summer squash this time of year, I couldn't wait for Bootcamp to share this recipe. For you gardeners and farmer's market shoppers, you know what I mean. There's more zucchini around than anyone knows what to do with.
Also, with my new baby in tow (sorry, I couldn't help but share his one-month bday picture ;), quick, easy dinner recipes with only one pot to clean is clutch. I know you moms out there know what I'm talking about.
The beauty of using zucchini instead of pasta is that it doesn't need to be cooked separately. Just throw the zoodles right into the pot and in just a minute or two, they're soft and ready to be twirled on a fork.
So this recipe is dedicated to all you pasta-loving, zucchini-growing, baby-toting ladies out there.
Hope you love it!
With love & zest,
Where to get Zoodles?
You can buy pre-made zoodles at Trader Joe's or most health food type stores like Whole Foods. If you have a spiralizer, it takes seconds to make your own zoodles.
(We highly recommend getting a spiralizer as zucchini is just the beginning... you can spiralize sweet potatoes, beets, carrots... the fun never ends ;)
Zucchini Noodles with
Meatballs & Red Sauce
- 1 lb spicy Italian chicken sausage, no casing
- 1 egg
Or get pre-made frozen meatballs
Marinara sauce and Zucchini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 (~26-ounce) jar marinara sauce (~3 cups)
- 4 medium zucchini if spiralizing your own, or 4 cups of pre-made zoodles
- Grated Parmesan cheese & fresh basil for serving
- In a large bowl, mix up the sausage with an egg, then roll the sausage into about 12 meatballs. (If using premade meatballs, skip this step.)
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the meatballs to lightly brown (~3-5 min).
- Add the onion and garlic, season with salt & red pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, ~3-5 minutes.
- Add the marinara sauce and oregano.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is slightly thicker ~15 minutes.
- Add the zoodles to the pot, tossing often until the zucchini just starts to soften, ~1 minute.
- Serve topped with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese & fresh basil.
- If saving extras to reheat, don’t cook more than 2 min. to prevent zucchini from getting mushy. I like my noodles crunchy, so I toss the noodles in the marinara then immediately turn off the heat. (The zoodles release a lot of water that thins out the sauce.)
- Zucchini releases water, so to make sure you don't end up with a thin sauce, simmer the marinara until it seems like the sauce is too thick before adding the zucchini. Once you add the zoodles, the liquid released will dilute the sauce into the perfect consistency.
- Another strategy to keep the sauce from getting too diluted is to add extra flavor- add more salt & seasonings than you typically would for "real" pasta.
Want 40+ more nourishing recipes like this one?...