An Alternative to Pasta and Fries - Courgette Noodles and Courgette Fries

I have recently begun trying to lower my intake of carbohydrates, particularly processed white carbs. I found this difficult because I love pasta and potato fries so when I came across the idea of using different vegetables in place of these foods, I was very eager to experiment with some recipes. I have played around with a few different ingredients, and so far, my favourite vegetable to use as a carb replacement is the courgette (or zucchini to American folk).  I have made both noodles and fries in this way and both recipes are very quick and easy to make; they really don’t require much more effort than cooking the real thing.


Courgette/Zucchini Noodles

Ingredients:
At least 1 courgette per person (they shrink down a lot)
Olive oil or whichever oil you prefer

Equipment:
Julienne peeler or a spiralizer. The julienne peeler is the cheaper option, I found mine in Kitchen Compliments in Dublin for €11.50. These can also be easily purchased on Amazon or in stores selling kitchen gadgets/utensils.

Zyliss Julienne Peeler

Method:

1. Begin by just ‘peeling’ the courgette with the julienne peeler, or if you have a spiralizer use that; it should start to look like spaghetti noodles. When you get down to the seedy inside, stop and turn the courgette over and begin again on the other side. Continue until you have gotten as much off the courgette as possible (do not use the seedy core of the courgette).

2. Once you have made all of your noodles you will need to place them in a clean cloth (a clean dishcloth is fine for this), in order to squeeze most of the moisture out. Try and get as much out as you possibly can as too much moisture can make whatever sauce you are serving with it too watery.

3. Heat a frying pan (non-stick preferably) with a very small amount of olive oil (1tsp per person) over a medium heat, add in the noodles and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until they are warmed through and slightly soft - you don’t want them mushy. Think al-dente - like pasta.

4. I made a quick sauce for mine by mixing together some Greek yoghurt and pesto. I then added some cherry tomatoes and cooked chicken to make a very quick and easy dinner. Other sauces you could try with the noodles could include Bolognese sauce, or a simple tomato sauce. Treat these noodles like you would any normal pasta; so whatever you would normally serve with your pasta serve with these.



Courgette Fries

Ingredients:
At least 1 courgette per person
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Either spray or lightly coat 1 or 2 baking sheets with some olive oil - depending on how many courgettes you are using.

2. Slice the courgettes into about 3-inch sticks, try not to make them too thin, otherwise they will burn.

3. Line the courgettes up on the trays, spreading out evenly and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.



Variations:

You could easily add a variety of different seasonings to these including garlic, oregano, or Italian seasoning. If you are adding the seasoning do so when adding the salt and pepper, before cooking.