Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zoodles with Sausage, Peppers, Mushrooms & Tomato Sauce

I got a spiralizer last year on sale at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and it is so much fun to use. That might be the most American middle class sentence ever written on this blog. But really. Love being able to have a big bowl full of spiralized vegetable noodles and meat sauce without feeling like I just ate a brick of gluten. I started out steaming or boiling zoodles (zucchini spiralized into noodles), but they get pretty sloppy-- a better method is to spread the zoodles out on a baking tray in the oven and cook at 400F for about 15 minutes. They bake just enough to loose the raw crunch without absorbing moisture and are then the perfect canvas for whatever toppings you so choose.
spiralized zucchini noodles = zoodles
This recipe combines a simple tomato sauce with a few more veggies (bell peppers + mushrooms), and sausage for protein. Alternatively, you could brown ground beef or ground turkey in the skillet first, then add the veggies and sauce. But I'm a sucker for those pre-cooked, well seasoned sausages (without preservatives! Hooray!) at Trader Joes. Just chop them up and throw them in. 

baked noodles ready to be topped with sausage and veggies in tomato sauce
I've also baked this recipe up as a casserole: mixing the zoodles into the tomato-sausage mixture and pouring it all into a lightly greased casserole dish, topping with some shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese, and baking it in a 400F oven or under a low broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly. 
Easy, delicious dinner chock full of vegetables
If you don't have a spiralizer, a julienne vegetable peeler also works fine. And you can even just dice up the zucchini and sauté it with the onions and peppers if you want for a noodle-less tomato ragu. Enjoy the added veggies in your naturally gluten-free spaghetti dinner!  

Zoodles with Sausage, Peppers, Mushrooms & Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

3 zucchini or summer squash, shredded into noodles with a spiralizer or julienne peeler
1 tablespoon cooking oil (such as olive oil or canola oil)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, any color, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced white or brown mushrooms
4 pre-cooked, Italian-seasoned-style chicken sausages, sliced in half length-wise then chopped into half moons
1 15oz can or bottle tomato sauce, no sugar added (try to find just tomatoes and salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend (or 1/2 tsp each of dried oregano, parsley, rosemary)
pinch each of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 400F/ 204C. Spread the spiralized zucchini noodles evenly onto a baking sheet. Once the oven is preheated, place the zoodles in the oven and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until the zoodles around the edges just begin to brown. Remove from oven and set aside. 

While the zoodles are baking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom. Add the onion and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the minced garlic and sliced mushrooms, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until onion and peppers have begun to soften. Add the chopped sausage, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat down to low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until the sauce is heated through. 

Divide the baked zoodles into 4 bowls or plates, top with sausage-tomato sauce, and garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately. 

Storage tip: Combine any leftover zoodles and sausage-tomato sauce mixture and store, covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.