Like most people in the universe, I'm using the new year as an excuse to try and eat a little healthier, move a little more, and get to a place where I'm happier about "me." I just completed a 3 day Blueprint juice cleanse (I'd write about it, but I've written about juice cleanses before - it's like a marathon - tough, long, and if your head is in the wrong place, you're going to fail) After you finish a juice cleanse, you're advised to eat "light," so I decided to make a dish loosely inspired by a recipe I saw on Inspiralized, a site dedicated to using a spiralizer to make vegetables into noodles and other fun shapes. Instead of noodles, this dish uses zoodles, or noodles made out of spiralized zucchini, and is topped with a flavorful tomato and eggplant sauce. Here's a link to the original Zucchini Pasta Alla Norma Recipe. My modified, boozier recipe follows below.
- 2 medium zucchini - OR a package of zoodles (now sold at Whole Foods and other finer grocery stores - look in the produce section)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Vegetable stock or broth - 1/4 cup
- 1 medium eggplant, diced
- 2 + garlic cloves, minced (use as much or as little as you like)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup red wine
- Fresh basil - chiffonade or whole leaves - 1/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- Optional: balsamic vinegar
- Spiralize your zucchini and set it aside.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil, onions, and vegetable stock and cook until the onions are translucent.
- Add the eggplant and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
- Ad both cans of tomatoes, a pinch of red pepper flakes, oregano, Italian seasoning and bring mixture to a simmer.
- While eggplant and tomato sauce is cooking, bring a small skillet to medium heat. Put pine nuts in the pan and toast (with no oil) until they start to just turn a darker tan color. Set aside.
- Add wine to eggplant tomato sauce. Continue to cook until wine has evaporated and eggplant is a soft but still slightly firm consistency. (mushy eggplant = no bueno)
- Fold fresh basil into the sauce just before serving and stir. Leave a few pieces aside for plating.
- Drain any excess water from zoodles.
- Split zucchini noodles into 2 or 3 portions and top with eggplant tomato sauce. Toss a handful of pine nuts and a few pieces of basil on top and serve immediately.
- Optional: I like eggplant topped with balsamic vinegar, so I put a splash of that on my zoodle dish.
My dish was a lightened up version of the Inspiralized one, but I think adding extra garlic, cooking everything all together for a longer amount of time, and adding a touch of red wine and basil added a lot of flavor. I could eat zoodles and egpplant daily, so this is definitely a dish I'll be making again.