Pasta is one of my favorite foods. I could live off of carbs in general, but especially a big bowl of starchy noodles covered in a tomatoey-garlicey sauce and loaded with parmesan cheese – HEAVEN! And, yes, when I was 14 I could get away with eating said types of foods whenever I wanted… But, along comes the big 3-0 (what?!) and my body just doesn’t metabolize the way that it used to (big surprise there). I find myself regularly looking for healthy alternatives to my favorite comfort food after a long day of work, teaching, studying, self-practicing and Lord knows what else. Lucky for me, I’m also a huge vegetable lover, which is why when momma gifted me with a spiralizer for Channukah last year I was instantly in love.
I know we’re all familiar with the spiralizer by now – it’s quite the rage. But, this one is the best I’ve seen – lightweight, tiny, fairly easy to clean and handles any zucchini like a boss!
As a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition we learn about all different types of diets. This is not so that we can instruct our future clients as to which diet they should be on, but rather so that we can discuss why certain ones likely did NOT work for them. People tend to fall of diets – the word in itself is so restrictive. Just the thought of being on any sort of “diet” immediately feels unreasonable and short-term, at least for me.
All of that being said, I have been toying with veganism lately. I like to call myself vegan-ish at this point, as there are times when I still enjoy a bit of goats or sheep milk cheese in my salads and, while I’m trying to ween myself completely off, I also think if you enjoy something you should eat it (just educate yourself first)! Anyways, the change came after reading Alicia Silverstone’s cookbook “The Kind Diet” – highly recommend!! – and after doing some of my own research into way animals are treated on large-scale farms. You guys, it is absolutely heartbreaking and the impact said farms have on our environment is just as bad. I won’t get into details for you meat-lovers, and I have nothing against you meat-lovers, but I do advise you to find out where your meat, dairy, eggs are from and do some research into how they treat their adorable living beings. Plus, since I’ve gone vegan-ish, the changes in my body and energy levels are unreal. I feel amazing and the little bit of belly fat that was clinging to my body has almost completely melted off. It’s magical… But also a big learning curve when it comes to making comfort food (the “mac and cheese” I tried to make the other night? Not so great!).
My most favorite site.. And smell!
This is one of my favorite, easiest, go-to recipes and the sauce is sooooo simple. I’ve made it vegan, but if you’re still a dairy lover you can use parmesan in place of the nutritional yeast. This dish is clean and fresh tasting, while being loaded with that authentic Italian flavor that I crave.
Zoodles Al Pomodoro
(feeds 2 small eaters, or 1 hungry human)
2 zucchini, spiralized!
5 tomatoes, chopped, salt and peppered
5 cloves garlic, roughly minced (I do one for every tomato – you can adjust to your liking)
Red pepper flakes
Any sort of Italian seasonings, dried or fresh (optional)
- Add a generous glug of olive oil to a non-stick skillet, over medium-low heat. Let warm, then add garlic, and as much red pepper flakes as you wish. I like to go heavy here – maybe a full tablespoon. Sauté garlic until fragrant, but not brown.
- Add chopped tomatoes and juices, and Italian seasonings if using, Cover and allow to cook for at least 10 minutes, the longer the better. If you’re pressed for time here you can turn the heat up, just make sure you stir so nothing burns.
- Remove cover and let sauce thicken for at least another 5-10 minutes.
- Add zoodles to pan, toss to coat, and let cook for around 2 minutes. I like to keep them a little crunchy.
- Spoon into a bowl, top with nutritional yeast (or parm, if using).
- Enjoy! Bon Appetit!
**Another great addition, if you’re a seed lover such as myself, is sunflower seeds! I know it sounds strange, but try it. Add it on top at the end, just before eating, for an extra crunch.