In our ongoing quest to eat better we are always on the look out for alternatives to pre-packaged foods. Our ideal plate is mostly vegetables, a fair amount of protein and limited carbohydrates. So when Ryan suggested we make spaghetti with squash noodles instead of pasta, I was intrigued. Of course the idea is all he brought to the table as he had no idea how to actually make squash noodles, what kind of squash to use or anything other than “I don’t know, I just heard someone say squash spaghetti somewhere”.
Gratefully the internet knows what squash spaghetti is and had a few options on how to make it. One of my favorite DIY bloggers, All Things Thrifty posted just last week about making zucchini noodles using a julienne peeler. Since we didn’t have one and couldn’t find one easily, I followed this video tutorial from SummerTomato.com using a regular vegetable peeler. From what I gathered about squash vs zucchini flavors, I decided to do half and half — three summer squash and three zucchini. Both of which are in season locally and fantastically cheep and ripe at our local produce stands. Score.
First things first. The *size* of the squash and zucchini are important to mention. I thought I’d need nearly six total for 2-4 servings, but ended up using only 3 because mine were much larger. I started using the vegetable peeler, but it was slow going so I switched to the grater using the largest holes. Much better! Using the grater gave me strings similar to how the julienne peeler makes. I can see how the peeler would be much easier in the future however. Second, squash and zucchini are very watery. When I do this again I will need to soak up some of the water before I cook them.
I made a simple red sauce, similar to the red gravy I’ve posted about before. I added mushrooms and browned ground round beef (go ahead, say that out loud a few times, it’s fun) to up the protein count. I spooned out the meat after it had browned into the sauce, leaving the drippings in the skillet. I used these drippings to cook the noodles rather than olive oil because, well why not?
I loved it! Ryan wasn’t so crazy about it and missed noodles. I liked the taste the zucchini added although I could have done without all the extra water. If I had a thinner sauce or a oil and vinegar based dressing, I suspect I may not like it quite the same. As such, with a thicker, meaty sauce, the light, cool squash and zucchini were a nice companion. They kept the dish from feeling too heavy. I want to try this again, it may take some convincing to get Ryan back on board.