Zucchini Noodles, AKA Zoodles, are one of the first things any newcomer to the Paleo lifestyle learns to make. It’s not hard to see why. Zucchini noodles look like green strands of spaghetti. From a distance, some people might even mistake them for real pasta. They especially appeal to people who have a lifelong love-affair with pasta. That’s right, I’m looking at you my Italian paisanos. I’ve had a few Italian friends joyously shriek when I first introduced them to Zucchini noodles! Then again, just about every nationality loves a good bowl of pasta. There’s something so satisfying about plunging your fork deep into a bowl of hot noodles, twirling round and round, collecting strands of spiraled dough, drawing them out, only to discover that they were longer than expected and are now precariously dangling in the void directly beneath your gaping mouth. Whoa. I think I just caught myself in a moment there.
I need not remind you of the boundless adverse health effects associated with refined-flour pasta. Sure you can get the gluten-free and whole-wheat varieties, but these aren’t much better for you. Instead, why not try a bowl of Zoodles. Who knows, you might really like them. You might even trick your mind into thinking your eating spaghetti and ditch some of those cravings you’ve been having. Isn’t that why you’re looking for a zucchini noodle recipe to begin with? In any case, I can assure you that they are delicious and very simple to make. There are a number of different Zucchini noodle recipes out there. This is one of my favorites. It’s simple, flavorful and uses beautiful shrimp (which gives a nice pink colour against the green), a bit of garlic and some chili flakes – not to mention bacon! Most people will have all of the ingredients already stocked in their pantry so there may not even be a need to venture to the market.
There are, however, 3 tips when it comes to making Zucchini noodles. These are not always discussed in the blogosphere – paleo or otherwise – but they are absolutely vital to the preparation of a very good bowl of Zoodles. Lucky for you, I’m going to share them with you here. I know. I’m a great guy!
#1. You MUST sprinkle the raw noodles with a pinch of salt, toss to coat and set in a colander for 1 hr. This will drain all of the excess liquid that is stored in the zucchini itself. If you have ever made a bowl of Zucchini noodles and tried to top it with a hot sauce, such as a bolognese or pomodoro, you will have undoubtedly experienced what I like to call ‘Zucchini sweat’. Not good. To avoid diluting your dish with this bitter and unpleasant liquid, be sure to follow this step.
#2. You do NOT need an expensive spiralizer like THIS ONE to make Zucchini noodles. Though, if you want to go that route, I’m not judging you. I just happen to think that your hard-earned money can be more wisely spent on important things, like bacon! I got my spiralizer from the dollar store for a whopping $3 CAD (that’s like $1.80 for my American amigos down south!) Be forewarned, however, the cheaper models do not work as well on harder vegetables like sweet potato or carrot.
#3. Make enough zucchini noodles for leftovers because you’ll want some the next day! They keep rather well in the fridge over night, but don’t keep them for much longer than that. Chances are you’ll love them so much that they won’t last through the night anyways.
Give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Paleo Zucchini Noodles with Chili-Lime Shrimp and Beef Bacon
- 2 Zucchinis spiralized
- 3 rashers Grass-Fed Beef Bacon Thinly sliced width-wise (Can sub antibiotic/hormone-free bacon if unavailable)
- 12-15 medium shrimp peeled, deveined and butterflied (tails left intact)
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried crushed red chile flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt plus a little extra to taste
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 lime cut into wedges for squeezing
- 1. Feed the zucchini through a spiralizer, one at a time, creating long strands of noodles. Depending on your spiralizer, you may need to cut the noodles into more manageable lengths (or leave them long and watch the look on your guests faces!!!)
- 2. Place the noodles in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tsp kosher salt. Delicately massage the salt into all of the noodles so as not to break the long strands. Set the colander over a bowl and set aside for 1 hr to allow the moisture in the zucchini to drain.
- Meanwhile, leaving tails intact, peel and rinse the shrimp under cold water. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel and transfer to a cutting board. Using a small paring knife, butterfly the shrimp by holding the tail in one hand and, using the other hand, running the knife down the length of each shrimp from the top of the tail to the end of the flesh. Both veins (top and bottom) should now be easy to remove by hand or with a wooden toothpick. Set the shrimp aside for the moment.
- 4. Once the moisture has drained from the zucchini, heat a non-stick skillet over med-high heat and add in your slices of beef bacon. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy (approximately 5-7 minutes) and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.
- Discard all but 1.5 tbsp of the bacon fat from skillet. Return the skillet to the heat, keeping it at med-high, and add in the sliced garlic. Stir the garlic continuously to avoid burning, cooking it for no longer than 30 seconds. Next, add in all of the shrimp, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tsp chili flakes (adding more or less chili depending on your preference). Toss the shrimp occasionally to cook all sides evenly and to prevent burning. Cook until all of the shrimp are bright pink and the flesh of each shrimp has curled (approximately 5-7 minutes).
- 6. Turn off the heat and add the drained zucchini noodles to the skillet. Toss everything together until combined and the noodles are warmed through. The residual heat from the skillet and shrimp should heat the noodles but will not cook them, resulting in a warm, ‘al dente’ noodle.
- Transfer noodles to individual bowls and serve with some lime wedges.