I’ve started to see lots of recipes for raw zucchini “noodles” appearing on blogs, and I became very intrigued by them! Using vegetables as your noodle base is not only a lot healthier than regular pasta, but it’s also much easier to make because there is no actual cooking involved! Plus there are so many fun possibilities once you add a sauce and any other additional ingredients that you want.
I’ve already made variations on zucchini noodles a few times now, and these are two of my favourite combinations...Both include mango, but in different ways – the first uses it blended into a sauce for the noodles, and the other uses strips of mango in the salad along with the noodles.
Both versions were absolutely delicious! And even though they were coated in creamy sauces, they were still nice and light – unlike the way similar pasta dishes with creamy sauces can leave me feeling.
I also liked the texture of the noodles...Most recipes recommend using a spiralizer to get thin strands of zucchini, but since I don’t own one of those, I used a regular vegetable peeler instead. This created wider, flat noodles, so they were more similar to a broad pasta like pappardelle.
On to the recipes...
First up: Zucchini Noodles with a Mango-Mint Sauce
Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
Wash a large zucchini and peel into long strips with a vegetable peeler. You can use the skin, but stop once you get to the core and the seeds start showing. Add the strips to a bowl and discard the remaining core.
To make the sauce, add the following ingredients to a blender:
½ a ripe mango, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
8 leaves of mint
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
Pinch of chilli pepper flakes
Pinch of salt and pepper
Puree and adjust seasoning if you like (Note: the mint flavour was pretty strong, which I liked, but if you are not a big fan of mint then you should probably start with less than the amount called for, and then you can add more depending on your tastes).
Pour the sauce on to your noodles and mix it in. Top with a handful of nuts – I used raw walnuts, but the original recipe suggests pistachios.
Makes 1 serving.
Then I started thinking of more ways to eat raw noodles...I love peanut sauce on pasta, so I wanted to do a version of peanut noodles...but instead of the usual soba noodles, I used a combination of zucchini and yellow summer squash (although you could just use all zucchini), and instead of the usual peanut sauce, I made an almond butter-chili sauce. The sauce was not very spicy, so if you prefer a bit more heat, feel free to add in a pinch of cayenne or chilli pepper flakes. I thought it paired really well with the noodles and mango!
Summer Squash Noodles with Mango and an Almond Butter Sweet Chili Sauce
1 large zucchini
1 large yellow summer squash
1 ripe mango
About ¼ cup raw almonds, sliced
Almond Butter Sweet Chili Sauce
Inspired by this recipe
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp mango chili sauce (or your favourite sweet chili sauce)
Juice of half a lime
½ tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp honey or agave
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tbsp coconut water (or regular water if you don’t have coconut water)
To make the salad, follow the same procedure as above for the zucchini and squash. Cut a mango in half and then cut each half into long strips. Add to noodles.
Toast the almonds in a skillet for a few minutes, being careful not to burn them.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and whisking together. Add more coconut water if it looks too thick (but aim for thicker because I found it thinned out once I added it to the noodles).
Pour sauce onto noodle-mango mixture and stir it all in. Top with sliced almonds.
Makes 2 servings
(Note: if you plan on making one serving for yourself and saving the leftovers, like I did, don’t make the mistake that I did by mixing in all the almonds at once because they will get soggy the next day...instead, keep them separate and top each serving with the almonds when you want to eat them).
Now I'm looking forward to trying more ways to eat zucchini noodles, so let me know if you come across any good recipes! Maybe I will try this method with other vegetables too...like these asparagus ribbons on Nat's blog!