Spring is finally here and as the rain tapers off, I’m looking forward to eating more of my daily meals outside in the sunshine. If you’re a fan of barbecues, picnics and any outdoor gathering revolving around food and friends, then you’ve come to the right place. Following up with my last staple recipe, I wanted to show you one more way to transform zucchini into a new style of pasta. It may even inspire you to plant your own zucchini along with me this year.
In the first step of this recipe, you’ll find a technique called “sweating”. Don’t be alarmed with the amount of salt used in this method because we’ll be rinsing it off very well. The reason why we “sweat” the zucchini is to remove as much of the moisture content as possible, as well as tenderizing the zucchini during the process. If you don’t “sweat” your zucchini, the natural water content in the squash will be drawn out as soon as the pasta is seasoned, making a much less appealing pasta salad. Needless to say, this step is important!
Mix it up: Add your own personal flair to this salad. Try minced sun-dried tomato, scallion, fresh corn and cilantro for a different flavor combo. Minced garlic and shallots are another great way to boost this salad’s profile for an unforgettable plate of food.
The only other thing you need to know is that this pasta salad is really addictive, so you might want to make a double batch for bigger servings. This dish will definitely be coming with me to my family’s Easter buffet this year.
Creamy Zucchini Pasta Salad
This recipe yields 4 side servings
Step 1: New Zucchini Pasta
Yields roughly 2.5 cups Pasta
1. Begin with 1.5 lbs zucchini (about 5 medium sized). Peel your zucchini and slice it in half width-wise, then lengthwise, making sure that each piece is no longer than 3 inches.
2. Thinly slice the quarters before arranging them in small stacks. Julienne your stacks into thin, pasta-like strands before placing into a colander.
3. Add 1 Tbsp of salt to the 4 cups of zucchini pasta, mixing in until salt has covered every piece. You will notice how it’s started to change in appearance already.
4. Allow your zucchini to sit in the colander for at least 5 minutes, continuing to sweat. Then rinse well, taking handfuls of the zucchini and pressing/squeezing gently to remove as much of the liquid leftover from rinsing as possible. The pasta will have reduced in size – this is completely normal!
5. Place your zucchini onto a cutting board and roughly chop it.
Step 2: Creamy Pasta Sauce
You will need:
- 1/2 c AtV Sour Cream
- 2 tsp Date Paste
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp garlic granules
- 1 tsp plus 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper (maybe a tad more)
In a bowl whisk together all the above ingredients until smooth.
Step 3: Making your Creamy Pasta Salad
In a large mixing bowl combine all of the following:
- all of your New Zucchini Pasta from Step 1
- 1 c peas – you can use fresh or frozen
- 1 c chiffonade spinach leaves
- 1/4 c minced dillweed
- 2 heaping Tbsp Relish or minced Celery
- all of your Creamy Dressing from Step 2
Mix everything together evenly and enjoy!