Marinara with Zucchini Noodles

This is a simple vegetable version of traditional spaghetti, but with a twist; instead of using grain pasta, we’ll make our own fresh zucchini “noodles.”

1/4 cup water
1 yellow onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
8-10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 box Pomi brand crushed tomatoes (26 oz.) or 2 cans diced (or crushed) no-salt tomatoes (14.5 oz. each)
1 small (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves minced)
1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian spice mix
6 medium zucchinis, cut finely into “noodles” (see step 2)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Sautee the onion in the water on medium-high heat until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes on medium heat to soften (adding water as needed to prevent sticking). Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic powder and spices, and turn down to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. While the sauce is simmering, make your zucchini noodles. Cut the ends off the zucchini first. Using a mandolin slicer, use the appropriate blade insert to create thin strings (like long matchsticks) of zucchini “noodles.” For short noodles, cut the zucchini in half before slicing. The zucchini cooks down, so make a bunch. Place noodles into a pot of boiling water and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until zucchini is softened (but not breaking apart; undercooked/al dente is better than overcooked).

3. Drain zucchini and combine with the sauce (or keep separate and serve the sauce over a bed of the zucchini noodles if you prefer). Add the basil to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes before serving. Optional: Serve with grated walnuts on top in place of Parmesan cheese.

Notes: Instead of making zucchini noodles, you may also add chunks of diced zucchini to the sauce. / Greens, such as kale or chard, may also be added; kale with the tomatoes; chard with the basil. / To grate walnuts that look like Parmesan cheese, use a rotary style cheese grater.

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes; serves: 4

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  1. MollyM says

    We were short on time so we used store bought spaghetti sauce, but the zucchini noodles were delicious! We were sceptical, but had an abundance of zucchini from our CSA, so thought we would give it a try. Would reccomend to anyone!! Do be careful not to over cook, as I think they would be gross. We kept them a little on the crunchy side and they were great! Thanks so much for the idea.

  2. says

    Hi Molly, Yeah, the zuch noodles can get really soft, and just kind of dissolve if overcooked. Thanks for the comment! 😉

  3. Gary says

    Made this 2 nights ago and it was great! The leftovers were even better because the zuchinnis were softer. Thanks again Cathy! :-)

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