Zoodles with Almond Butter Sesame Sauce
This cold and crunchy rendition of sesame noodles is a perfect introduction to the world of spiralized veggies. Are you ready to make zoodles?
Spiralizing is good for the brain!
I admit I was not the first to jump on the food trend of turning vegetables into noodles with a spiralizer. I am not one for kitchen gadgets, for one. And I love my noodles and pasta, for another. But once I started teaching Brain Works cooking classes I found that spiralizing was an excellent way to get my students to cook with and eat more vegetables. (At least one serving of vegetables each day is recommended on the MIND diet.) I love the flavor and crunch spiralized veggies add to just about everything.
And aren’t we supposed to be constantly learning, challenging ourselves with new skills? Yes, our brains thrive when given new experiences — another good reason to start spiralizing.
Needless to say, I am a total convert, proud owner of TWO spiralizers (I like my Oxo one the best), and have introduced my family to spiralized versions of our favorite foods. (Hint: Mix spiralized zucchini and regular pasta half and half to get them used to the idea.)
Sesame zoodles: the dish of the summer
This sesame zoodle salad was my obsession last summer; I must have tweaked this recipe a dozen times. No matter which version I made, however, it was always the first dish to be devoured at barbecues and potlucks. There even were some friends who didn’t realize it was made with zoodles until I told them! Believe me, I had the most fun telling a group of teenage boys that they had just tucked in to a raw zucchini dish. Did I mention that we don’t even need to cook the zoodles?
When I gave a Brain Works cooking class to a group of women in Boulder, Colorado, I asked them to riff on the recipe and make it their own. Their version is my final one; it is creamy and satisfying with just enough spice. And the combination of noodles made from zucchini, cucumber, and carrot is a winner.
Zucchini noodles (zoodles), cucumber noodles (cucoodles?) and carrot noodles are good choices for first time spiralizers. The most important thing to remember when learning to use a spiralizer is to keep your fingers away from the blades. Injuries usually occur when washing the gadget. Oxo has this great design that avoids the need to handle the blades.
Almond butter, ginger, garlic, turmeric: key brain healthy ingredients
Smooth almond butter stands in for the usual peanut butter in the spicy sesame sauce, boosted with brain healthy ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Olive oil replaces most of the sesame oil for a healthier fat profile.
Zucchini and carrots can be spiralized a few days ahead of time. Just wrap in a kitchen towel or paper towel and place in Ziploc baggies in the refrigerator. To keep the noodles crisp, wait until just before serving to toss with the sauce. Zucchini noodles will stay crisp longer if tossed with a bit of salt and set aside to drain in a colander. Just before serving, rinse and pat dry.
Pro Tip: If using fresh turmeric, freeze it before you grate it to avoid splatters of yellow juice; turmeric can stain surfaces and clothing (but it’s worth it!).
What are you spiralizing this summer?