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My husband LOVES pasta. I, on the other hand, can live without it, which is OK as it isn’t conducive to eating clean. But, we’ve found a way to have the best of both worlds! Spiraling zucchini into “noodles” can still taste like great Italian food without all of the guilt. Now the challenge for tonight was all in the sauce. Hubby’s favorite Italian sauce is vodka sauce and because I avoid eating heavy cream, I discovered how easy it is to use cashew cream instead. We opted to top this dish with roasted cauliflower, red peppers, and crimini mushrooms, yum! If you can’t skip the protein, grilled chicken would be delicious with this as well.

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Zoodles!

This is my first recipe of my own creation, hope you enjoy!

 

Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Vodka Sauce
Approx. 6 servings
Prep./Cook Time: 30-45 mins

2.5 lbs zucchini, spiralized
3 tbs. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 large sweet onion
1 cup good quality vodka (I used Tito’s)
2/3 cup raw unsalted cashews
2/3 cup filtered water
1 28 ounce can tomato sauce (I use Muir Glen for all of my canned tomatoes)
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tbs dried oregano
3 cups fresh spinach
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Optional toppings: grilled chicken (for a non-vegetarian dish) or roasted veggies if you want to keep it vegetarian/vegan friendly. I tossed some chopped cauliflower, crimini mushrooms, and red pepper in olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, dried thyme, oregano, and parsley for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. Viola! And may I say the mushrooms were out of this world!

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To make the cashew cream:
If you have a high power blender -soak 2/3 cup of cashews in 2/3 cup of water while you make the rest of the recipe. We’re lucky enough to have a Vitamix on loan that did the trick. If you have a lower power blender, you’ll want to soak the cashews overnight. Blend the cashews and water on high for two minutes and set aside.

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Cashew pieces soaking in water

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Like magic, now we have cashew cream!!

1. Dice the onion
2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat
3. Add onion and garlic, cook for five minutes – until soft
4. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and 1/2 tbs. dried oregano onto the mixture and stir to combine
5. Pour vodka into mixture and cook down until reduced by about half
6. Open can of diced tomatoes and can of tomato sauce. Pour into saucepan
7. Heat to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes
8. While sauce is cooking spiral zucchini into “noodles”
9. Heat olive oil in large skillet or wok, add zucchini spirals and cook for 4-6 minutes or until they reach your desired consistency. Do not overcook
10. Remove “noodles” from heat
11. Remove sauce from heat for 5 minutes and then add in cashew cream
12. Return sauce to burner on medium-low heat and add in spinach along with remaining one tbs. of dried oregano
13. Stir sauce until spinach begins to wilt, do not bring the sauce to a boil
14. Remove sauce from heat

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Now you’re ready to plate the meal! Serve the sauce over your zucchini noodles. Add fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste. If you’re like my husband, who likes to pack on the heat, be sure to include additional red pepper flakes on the table. Now if only it were easier resist the temptation to use that leftover Tito’s for a nice dinner time Moscow Mule…

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