Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) with White Beans and Tomatoes
Zoodles, or zucchini noodles agilo e olio with white beans and tomatoes make an easy weeknight meal. Even picky eaters love this zucchini spaghetti!
If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that kids love noodles. Buttered or olive oil pasta is a regular on kids’ menus. In Italy it’s called Pasta Bianco. Spaghetti aglio e olio (with garlic and olive oil) is such comfort food and how I usually make our pasta bianco at home. For the past few years zoodles, also know as zucchini noodles, have been gaining popularity. My girls and I have so much fun zoodling with our spiralizer. And I’ve found that zoodles are the easiest way to get my kids to eat zucchini without any complaints.
As I’ve learned from a few zoodle fails, there are a few tricks to making delicious zucchini noodles. This week we made a zoodle spaghetti with that flavorful aglio e olio flavor, and added some white beans and tomatoes for added protein, texture, and heartiness.
What are Zoodles/Zucchini Noodles?
The first few times I made zucchini noodles, I used a julienne grater. It worked just fine, but took forever. Finally I invested in a proper spiralizer, and it has made spiralizing vegetables so much easier. This bunch of zucchini spaghetti came from one zucchini and took about 30 seconds to spiralize. To make your life even easier, you could incorporate spiralizing into your food prep day (I have ambitions of a regular food prep day, but it usually doesn’t happen). My kids love carrot and cucumber ribbons in their lunch boxes.
I adore my summer garden right now. The sunflowers are blooming and the zucchini plants are doing what they do best: growing crazy fast. Zoodles to the rescue!
How to Make Kid-Friendly Zoodles
Here’s the trick to getting kids to enjoy zoodles. I love zoodles, but on their own as a replacement for pasta, they just aren’t as satisfying. I think it’s a texture thing – zoodles don’t have the same bite as real pasta. But when you add a big bunch of zoodles to freshly cooked spaghetti and eat both real pasta and zucchini pasta together, it’s hard to distinguish which is which.
Twirled together on a fork, you still get that comforting chewy spaghetti bite even if most of the noodles are made out of zucchini. The second trick to zoodles is to cook them perfectly. Too raw and they are stiff, but overcook the zoodles and they end up mushy.
Zoodles taste best when they are cooked in a little olive oil and garlic for just a couple of minutes so that they just begin to soften. Zoodles are also tasty with red sauce. For this recipe I cooked and drained the spaghetti, cooked some (lots!) garlic in evoo, then tossed the zucchini noodles back into the pot with the spaghetti and tossed until the zoodles were al dente.
Done! So simple and easy, and a great way to get kids to eat veggies. Plus this is a one-pot dinner. My favorite kind.
- 4 oz. favorite dried spaghetti
- 2 medium zucchini, spiralized
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, or chopped Roma tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh basil or Italian parsley
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and add to a large serving bowl with the zucchini noodles. The heat from the cooked pasta will begin to cook the zoodles.
- In the same pot over low heat, saute sliced garlic with the pepper flakes in olive oil. Cook 5 minutes or until garlic is tender and golden brown, taking care not to burn the garlic or it will become bitter.
- Add the beans, tomatoes, and both kinds of noodles back into the pot and toss to coat with garlic olive oil. Heat until zucchini noodles have softened and beans are heated. Stir in basil or parsley. Season with sea salt if needed. Serve with Parmesan, if desired.
*Vegan Option: Omit the Parmesan
*Gluten Free Option: Use GF spaghetti
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 252mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 11g