This summer I invested in one of those vegetable spiralizers. These gadgets take vegetables like zucchini, sweet potatoes and carrots and transform them into long thin “noodles.” Instead of the countertop model, I opted for the smaller hand-held one. It works just fine for me, and because it’s smaller, it also tucks away neatly. But if you plan on doing a lot of noodling around with a spiralizer, the larger countertop unit is a good option.
These spiralizers provide a creative way to get more vegetables into your diet. It’s also a way to replace noodles and pastas if you have gluten-intolerant issues or because you just want to avoid them altogether.
Spiralizers work well not only for replacing pasta in cooked dishes, but also in salads and soups. You can also spiralize vegetables to serve as a side dish.
Zucchini appears to be one of the more popular vegetables to spiralize into long thin strands. You may have seen recipes for “zoodles,” which refers to zucchini noodles. With zucchini in abundance it was an easy choice for this Paleo-friendly pad thai recipe, which called for matchstick-size pieces of zucchini. But I wanted the noodle feel to it and thought of the spiralizer. Traditionally, pad thai calls for rice stick noodles.
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The recipe is from “Paleo Monday to Friday: A Diet So Good You Can Take the Weekend Off” by Daniel Green (Kyle Books, $22.95). There continues to be much talk and plenty of cookbooks out on the Paleo way of eating, also known as the Paleo diet. Followers eschew all processed foods, refined sugars and dairy. Eating this way is supposed to be similar to the way Stone Age hunter-gathers ate.
While flipping through this book, which landed on my desk earlier this summer, I dog-eared many pages. First off, Green – author of 11 healthy cookbooks including “The Paleo Diet” and a judge on the Food Network TV show “Kitchen Inferno” – writes that the concept is to eat Paleo 80 percent of the time and ease up the other 20 percent. “If you make good choices from Monday to Friday, you can relax the rules on the weekends,” Green writes in his latest book.
“Paleo Monday to Friday” contains lots of fish recipes, from salmon and scallop ceviche to today’s pad thai with shrimp. This pad thai worked for me for several reasons. First off, I love everything about the dish: rice noodles, eggs, sauce and lime. I also like shrimp and always have some in my freezer.
While this pad thai doesn’t use tamarind paste in the marinade, it does use fish sauce mixed with maple syrup and chile powder for kick. Fish sauce is made from fermenting small fish. While fish sauce is on the salty side, a little goes a long way. Just 1 teaspoon is used in this recipe. And if you don’t have a spiralizer, cut the zucchini into matchstick-size pieces.
Paleo pad thai
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can cut the zucchini into matchstick-size pieces.
Recipe adapted from “Paleo Monday to Friday: A Diet So Good You Can Take the Weekend Off” by Daniel Green (Kyle Books, $22.95).
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Juice of 1 / 2 lemon
1 teaspoon favorite chili powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Shrimp and vegetables:
3 small to medium zucchini, washed, spiralized
Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, or more to taste
2 green onions, washed, ends removed, thinly sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
12 large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons cashews, for garnish
In a large bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients; set aside.
Once you’ve spiralized the zucchini, pat it dry with the paper towel.
Heat a large nonstick wok or skillet over high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add the zucchini noodles and saute about 2 minutes. Remove zucchini from the wok and add it to the marinade. Stir in the cilantro, green onions and bean sprouts.
Meanwhile, spray the wok again with olive oil cooking spray and add the shrimp. Saute the shrimp for 2 minutes on each side until cooked through.
Divide the vegetables between serving plates and top with the shrimp. Garnish with cashews and serve.