Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Snacks

"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban

What to cook when the oven is broken – Zucchini ‘Pasta’ Salad

Don’t listen to people who tell you that kitchen toys are a waste of money. Where would we be without the food processor, or stick blender or various chopper/slicer/pureeing devices that do save money and make cooking fun? Last year, we bought a spiral slicer. That is, I purchased it and Ira shlepped it back from the US. A further development on the mandoline (and you can get a fine one for about $50), it’s the tool you need to make that mound of carrots or attractively, curled cucumbers that you admire alongside your takeout sushi, along with nifty spiral sliced potatoes which you can slice with ease, combine with olive oil and salt and roast and enjoy, and our family’s favorite, ‘noodled’ vegetables.

‘Noodled’ vegetables? What we mean is slicing vegetables like carrots and zucchini so that they’re long and pasta like, and dressing with whatever comes to mind for a quick and satisfying meal. Zucchini is particularly satisfying as it’s long strands are soft but with a chew when served raw with a tangy mustard, tahini dressing and tossed with other vegetables such as thinly sliced red peppers or halved cherry tomatoes (or both) and topped with chopped parsley or cilantro (or both), according to taste. Here’s the basic concept.

Note: If you don’t have a spiral slicer, you can take the zucchini’s and cut them from top to bottom in thin slices. Then, stack ’em up and julienne ’em in small matchstick pieces. Works just fine.

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ Salad
6 Zucchini – medium sized. Dark or light are fine – a plumpish zucchini with a nicely rounded end, will slice particularly well.
2 red peppers – thinly sliced
1/2 cup mixed – chopped parsley and cilantro (another option is to use basil and parsley)
Optional: halved cherry tomatoes (leave out the peppers and add the basil)
3-4 Scallions, thinly sliced, including the greens (or, chives, or even thinly sliced purple onions – you can pour boiling water over them to reduce their bite and then dry)
Note: If you’re making this earlier in the day and eating later, just drizzle a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper on top. Before you dress it, drain an liquids as zucchinis give off a lot of liquid.

Dressing
1/2-1 cup tahini
1-3 tbsp sharp dijon mustard
Lemon juice – 1-2 tbsp, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Homemade Tahini
1 cup tahini paste
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2-1 cup water
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
1 tbsp (to taste) harissa or other hot pepper product
Optional: bunch of fresh parsley or cilantro
Puree in food processor, adding more water and/or lemon juice as needed. You can keep it in the fridge for 3-5 days, using as a salad dressing, etc, adding more water to thin it, as it will thicken.

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About Beth Steinberg

I co-founded and run, Shutaf, inclusion programs for children and teens with special needs. I'm also a writer and internet content developer with a team called The Honey. I direct local community theater with a group called Theater in the Rough, specializing in experiential productions performed out of doors.

2 comments on “What to cook when the oven is broken – Zucchini ‘Pasta’ Salad

  1. Paula
    July 17, 2012

    nice recipe…especially the dressing! I made it with my pampered chef mandolin-the one I got from your party!

    • Beth Steinberg
      July 17, 2012

      Good use of that mandolin! This past week, we added in some carrots in order to round out the zucchinis. Also, had a sesame noodle dressing for those who wanted that peanut butter taste in addition to the tahini dressing.

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This entry was posted on July 2, 2012 by in About Food, Dinner, Lunch, Snacks and tagged , , , , .

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