Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lentil Sauce Zoodles {Meatless Monday}

I heard the craziest statistic last week, it warranted sharing with all of you.
"If all Americans joined the Meatless Monday bandwagon, over 1.2 million animals would be saved."

Um. 

Yeah.

That's what I thought too. So, I figured I'd join the bandwagon. I don't usually advocate for going completely meatless, I use to be a vegetarian, but that is a thing of the past for me. No knock on vegetarians out there, but I believe there a lot of nutrition in meat that I personally was lacking when I went vegetarian. But, for one day a week (or a few times a week) may not be a bad thing for the environment, your heart, and creativity. Why creativity? Because, when you are forced to go meatless, even for one day, you have to get creative! The food has to taste good. If it doesn't taste good, or was too hard to make... you're not going to stick with it. So I think going meatless for one day stimulates those creative juices every week— bonus!

Second, let's talk about zoodles. Zoodles, if you haven't heard, are spaghetti like noodles made from zucchini. People ask me all the time, "are they hard to make?" The answer is NO! But, with anything you need the right tools. A cheese grater, or knife just won't do it. I have this one: Spiralizer. But there are so many out there you can buy depending on size and your budget.



 Usually, I spiralize about 4 zucchini on Sunday's (the above photo is the amount from 1 medium zucchini). Then I take the zoodles, and place them between two paper towels and then into a Ziplock bag. Into the fridge goes my dinner for the week. Super easy, right? The paper towel sandwich helps remove the excess liquid from your noodles as they sit in the fridge. I've read some places that people salt the zoodles to remove excess salt. I tried that one day and then realized 1) didn't need extra salt 2) the zoodles shriveled up... it was almost too much dehydration, ha! For me, the paper towels are enough, the zucchini will release liquid naturally.

Recipe:

4 medium Zucchini squash
1/2 cup green Lentils, dry
1 & 1/2 cup filtered Water

1 tbs. Olive oil 
1/2 cup yellow Onion, chopped

3 cloves Garlic
2 Carrots, raw, diced


Yields ~ 2 servings
 Directions: Wash and spiralize your Zucchini. Ideally, you want to do this ~ 30 min ahead of time, but if you don't have time for that place the zoodles between paper towels (and on a microwave-safe plate) and nuke for ~ 1 minute. This will draw out water FAST.

Meanwhile, cook your lentils. I like to "wash" and strain a few times since I buy my lentils dry and want to make sure there are no rocks/dirt in them. Place washed lentils in water and bring to a roaring boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to an active simmer for 20-25 minutes. Strain the lentils and set aside.
In a sauce pot, heat olive oil and onions over medium high heat. Add crushed garlic cloves and allow the two super fragrant ingredients sweat it out for ~ 5 minutes. Add in diced carrots and allow to soften ~ 7 minutes. Once carrots are softened, add back in lentils. Next comes your sauce! Add in the sauce and drop the heat to low. Let the whole sauce lentil mix come together for about 5 minutes.

Here you can cook your zoodles. They don't take long, the microwaving should have made them hot enough! But if they're not cooked enough to your liking, heat up a saute pan and add noodles with ~ 2 tsp. water (not too much, remember you extracted a ton of water from them, you don't want to add too much back). Place a lid on top and let the zoodles tenderize. This process goes fast ~ 3 minutes and you should be done!

Scoop on a hefty portion of sauce onto your zoodles and ~Enjoy!

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