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Divas: What in the world is a Zoodle?

’Tis the season when zucchini and summer squash are plentiful. What to do with all these squash? Of course you can grill, sauté, bake, freeze, make bread or leave some on your neighbor’s porch when they’re not looking. But did you know you can make a substitute for pasta?

Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, are a healthy, nutritious alternative to pasta. Using a tool called a spiralizer; zucchini is cut into thin ribbons like spaghetti.

Zoodles can be sautéed, steamed, or added to salads. What a great way to add veggies to your diet. They’re low carb, paleo-friendly, gluten free, unprocessed and a delicious vehicle for pasta sauce. Oh, cheap and easy, too. What’s not to love?

Just to prove I don’t put bacon in everything, here’s my healthy take on spaghetti and meatballs. I swapped zoodles for pasta and made delicious meatballs with turkey, spinach, garlic and parmesan.

ZOODLES WITH TURKEY AND SPINACH MEATBALLS

Yield: about 50 mini meatballs

Serves: 4 - Time: 1 hour

What You’ll Need:

For the meatballs:

1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup parmesan cheese

½ cup soft bread crumbs

1 pound ground turkey

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

For Zoodles:

3 medium zucchini or summer squash - spiralized

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 teaspoons minced garlic

pinch red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 Roma tomato

Here’s How:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Defrost the spinach. Use a clean towel to wring it dry and run your kitchen scissors through it to finely chop the spinach.

In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for meatballs with your hands until just combined. Form into 50 or so mini meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Place on the foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

While the meatballs are cooking, spiralize the zucchini into zoodles. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and butter. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the zoodles and toss well to coat. Cook until the zoodles soften slightly, tossing often, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Top with the lemon juice. Add thinly sliced, seeded tomato and toss to warm through.

Serve the meatballs on a bed of zoodles. Top with extra parmesan.

If you’re a numbers person - 1 cup cooked pasta is 221 calories and 43g carbs and 1 cup zoodles is 25 calories and 4.6g carbs not to mention the additional vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants not found in processed pasta.

To find fresh, locally-grown produce, visit the Pahrump Farmers Market every Saturday from 7:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the corner of Highway 160 and Postal Road. That’s where I found the beautiful orange zucchini I used for the photo. I’m there each week with my husband peddling Uncle Bob’s Sensational Seasonings. I’m happy to answer cooking questions or give recipe suggestions. Come by and say “Hi”.

Fabulous Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! NEW website and blog - www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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