Spiriteds, the zucchini noodle is back and just in time for the new year, just in time for us to detox and rebalance and do whatever else we plan to do post-holidays. All I can say is we have made this Dairy-Free Creamy Avocado Pesto Zucchini Bowl at least four out of the last six nights, underscored by K-Hubs’ declaration, “Morgan, if you made this every night I would not mind. I would not mind AT ALL.”
There you have it. This paleo and vegan zoodle bowl recipe is now dinner for us for all of the nights ever after, and our tastebuds are stoked. 2017 is full of flavor and flair and feeling like it’s date night.
As an aside to my declaration of love to the zoodle, may I also just say if you are venturing into zoodle territory for the first time, this is the recipe to start with? Because with the garlic, coconut oil, salt, and pepper, your zoodles will be restaurant-style level. You’ll feel like a million bucks without spending a million bucks, which happens to be my favorite way to feel like a million bucks.
And let me just say, if you are going dairy-free, this is also the recipe to start with? Because avocado + olive oil + garlic + cilantro + parsley + other delicious ingredients = YUM, YUM, and more YUM. You won’t even remember that this creamy deliciousness contains exactly no dairy.
Just, you gotta try this.
The Gram, and even Mom, used to make spaghetti at least eight times a week, much to my delight. And, holy cow, did I miss that basic dinner when we went paleo! I was all, “I wonder if anyone would notice me trying to make spaghetti and meatballs in the closet with a hot plate? Bueller? Bueller? Yes? No?” Zucchini noodles are seriously the way out of that and other related carb-loading conundrums.
Since we’ve made this almost every night in the last week (stopped only because we ran out of zucchini before we could get back to the store), we have discovered a few ways to make this delectable dinner even easier to make.
For one, after julienning or spiralizing your zucchinis, pat them dry with paper towels or napkins, if you have them. Who wants a soggy zoodle? Just say no to soggy zoodles. We’ll have none of that in our kitchens. Alternately, you can sprinkle a little salt on them, leave them in a strainer for a few minutes, and let the water seep out.
Two, unless you’re straining your zoodles to dry them (in which case, start with that step), begin this recipe by making your creamy avocado pesto. While it’s mixing in your blender, then go to work on the noodles. It doesn’t take long to pat them dry with paper towels or napkins.
Three, if you are on the fence about using veggie noodles in place of grains (I was going to say “shelf,” but that’s not the correct idiom), add more cloves of garlic. As a starting point, I add two to the pesto and two to the sauté pan. Add more to the pan if you are still adjusting to zucchini noodles. Honestly, a little extra garlic + a little extra coconut oil = was someone talking about regular pasta, because I don’t remember.
Fourth, cracked pepper. If you can get your hands on it, do it. It sends the flavor to the moon and back.
Finally, this is absolutely one of my most favorite vegan recipes. However, if you do eat meat, this is one recipe you can top with peppered chicken strips, sautéed shrimp, or maybe even bacon? I haven’t tried that last one. I’m seriously writing out loud here. But now I feel compelled to try that variation and report back on what I discover. If you beat me to it, comment below and let me know your findings!
Any which way you make this ridiculously delicious paleo and vegan zoodle bowl, it will mark a bright start to 2017! Just, another word to the wise? Stock up on the ingredients. Your tastebuds would want you to.
- 1 avocado
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, divided and pressed
- ¼ teaspoon lime juice
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon onion salt
- 3 zucchini, julienned or spiralized (patted dry or drained in a colander)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Cracked pepper for garnish
- In a high-speed blender, combine avocado, olive oil, 2 cloves pressed garlic, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, lime juice, parsley, cilantro, and onion salt. Blend until smooth and herbs are chopped into small pieces.
- In a large sauté pan, combine zucchini noodles, coconut oil, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and garlic and saute for about 3-4 minutes or until the noodles have been warmed and absorbed the coconut oil, garlic, and salt.
- Remove pan from heat and pour avocado pesto mixture into the pan.
- Toss avocado pesto and noodles together with a fork until evenly mixed.
- Top with cracked pepper and serve immediately.