As we get older, one of the many things that we need to watch is our blood sugar levels. I am always looking for ways to cut down on my refined carbohydrates; but this particularly difficult for me, because I am such a lover of carbs. Growing up I used to eat a lot of Top Ramen—all by itself. It was so tasty and so not healthy for you! I came up with my own healthier version after eating at a noodle restaurant in Ann Arbor, while visiting my daughter.
I decided to replace half the noodles with zucchini pasta and the other half with ½ serving of angel hair pasta. Eating foods with a low glycemic index is key in keeping our blood sugar levels from having large increases. Believe it or not, spaghetti (white) has glycemic index of 44, according to Dummies.com. The Mayo Clinic states a low glycemic index is between 1 and 55. It should be cooked al dente. Overcooking the pasta, surprisingly increases the glycemic index.
My soup base is just five ingredients: organic chicken stock, reduced sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic clove (smashed), and fresh ginger (sliced and smashed). Sliced Chinese barbecue pork and hardboiled egg are my protein ingredients. Then I topped the soup with some bean sprouts and green onions.
What makes this recipe so easy is a lot of the prep work can be done in advance. The Chinese barbecue pork was actually a leftover. The zucchini pasta was spiralized the day before and stored in a zip lock storage bag. The hardboiled eggs can also be cooked ahead of time. The soup base can be made in a few minutes, while cooking the angel hair and zucchini “al dente.” This soup is just perfect for cold fall and winter nights and it’s delicious and healthy too!
- 1 (32 ounce) package organic chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 slices fresh ginger (smashed)
- 1 garlic clove (smashed)
- 4 ounces “al dente” cooked angel hair pasta
- 2 medium zucchini, spiralized and cooked “al dente”
- Chinese barbecue pork slices*
- 4 hardboiled eggs, halved
- Bean sprouts
- 2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
*Recipe for Chinese barbecue pork is in previous post.
- Using a medium pot, heat chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. After it boils, let it simmer until you are ready to assemble the soup.
- Cook the angel hair pasta until it is “al dente.” At the same time, steam the zucchini pasta until it is “al dente.”
- Pour the soup base into individual soup bowls. Add the angel hair and zucchini. Then top with barbecue pork slices, eggs, bean sprouts and green onions. Serve immediately.
Last night, we had a gluten-free and vegetarian meal. I had two zucchini that I wanted to use before they went bad, so I decided to use my spiralizer and make the healthy veggie pasta. For the sauce, I had “pinned” a recipe by Lemons and Basil that used lentils in a marinara sauce. I made some minor changes to the original recipe—only one clove of garlic, just 4 tablespoons of tomato paste and omitted the spaghetti seasoning. The sauce is very flavorful and the lentils makes it hearty. My husband, the meat lover, gave me thumbs up, and that’s all I needed to hear about my simple and healthy dinner!
Lentil Marinara with Zucchini Spaghetti
- 2 large zucchini, spiralized
- ½ cup dry lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1¼ cups water
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can organic diced tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons organic tomato paste
- ¼ medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon organic dried basil
- 1 teaspoon organic dried oregano
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
- Fresh basil, chopped
- Using a small saucepan, add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until water is all gone, about 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- While lentils are simmering, add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, dry basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese to blender. Blend thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- After lentils are cooked, add the sauce to the lentils. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Steam the zucchini while the sauce is simmering. Cook vegetable until just tender. Divide the “pasta” evenly onto 2 plates. Add sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan and fresh basil. Serve immediately.
Since I have to follow a special diet for my medical procedure on Friday, I thought I would make beef bolognese with zucchini pasta for tonight’s dinner. I can eat vegetables, as long as they are cooked. Normally, I would have whole wheat pasta, but no whole grains this week! The inspiration for my dish came from Ina Garten’s “Weeknight Bolognese,” Food Network, 2015. As usual, I made changes to the recipe, reducing the amount of wine and salt and eliminating the cream. The sauce with its hint of spiciness from the red pepper flakes compliments the mild tasting steamed zucchini!
I had purchased the Paderno 4-Blade Spiralizer at Williams-Sonoma earlier in the summer, but it remained in the box until today. Like with so many kitchen gadgets, there was a learning curve. After I figured out how to put it together, I used a blade which made angel hair sized pasta. I thought it was too “dainty” for the bolognese, so I tried the next size larger. It was the perfect thickness for the sauce and for steaming!
- 4 medium zucchini, made into pasta using a spiralizer
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ teaspoons dried organic oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat a 12-inch nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat. Add ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into small pieces, until no longer pink and slightly brown. Depending on the leanness of the meat, drain any excess fat.
- Return to the heat, add garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute.
- Pour the wine slowly into pan. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Stir ingredients, until well combined. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, steam the zucchini, until slightly tender.
- Finally, add nutmeg and basil and stir well. Serve on top of the zucchini pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 4 to 5 servings.