Meet Sophie Manolas, a straight-talking, down-to-earth clinical nutritionist who is passionate about showing people how they can eat their way to being the greatest, healthiest version of themselves. Here she shows us her (or her older brother Nin’s, to be precise) tasty zucchini noodle recipe, as seen in The Essential Edible Pharmacy cookbook.
Nin’s Zesty Zoodles
Serves 2 as a main; also makes a quick and tasty side dish
2 large zucchini (courgettes)
juice of 1 lemon, but have another ready, just in case
sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 red chillies (chilli peppers), thinly sliced (deseeded if you prefer it not too hot)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for sautéing
100g (3½ oz) parmesan cheese or 50g (3 tablespoons) nutritional yeast
100g (3½ oz) rocket (arugula) leaves — tender baby leaves are best for this recipe
First, make ‘spaghetti’ out of the zucchini. This can be done with a commercially available spiralizer; alternatively, slice the zucchini into long, thin strips to resemble ‘noodles’ or pasta with a kitchen machine or mandolin, or with a vegetable peeler and a light hand.
Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, chilli, garlic and half the olive oil. Taste often and adjust if desired. When the four main ingredients of oil, lemon, chilli and garlic are in the right balance, this basic dressing will really sing. It shouldn’t be too mild or oily, not too tangy garlic, not too zingy lemon … to use a Goldilocks cliché, each must be just right. If it doesn’t taste great with your finger dipped in the bowl, it won’t taste amazing as a completed dish.
Now, warm your zucchini noodles in a hot pan with a little oil to stop them burning (1 tablespoon will be more than enough). Once warm but not cooked to the point of falling apart (they should have the texture of al dente pasta), take the pan off the heat, add the dressing and stir through.
While still off the heat, stir through the parmesan cheese, then add rocket leaves and stir through again. Ensure all ingredients are very well combined.
Serve while still warm.
Let’s start things right with my old friend rocket. Rocket is a gorgeous perennial leafy green of the brassica family that I eat almost every day, both because it is hugely abundant and overgrown in my garden, and because it is a superstar ingredient packed head-to-toe with essential nutrients.
Rocket is a peppery, slightly bitter leafy green, and if the taste is a little strong for your preference, try eating the younger leaves. The more mature the rocket grows and the larger and darker green the leaf, the more bitter and peppery the taste.
A powerhouse of nutrition, rocket contains beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and B vitamins including folate (vitamin B9), which is critical for healthy conception and the early stages of pregnancy and is essential for the activation of its other friends amongst the B-group vitamins.
Rocket is also very high in antioxidants responsible for cancer prevention, particularly in the prevention of cancers of the reproductive organs like cervical, ovarian, breast and prostate cancers.
In The Essential Edible Pharmacy: Heal Yourself from the Inside Out (Booktopia; $41.75) Sophia takes more than 60 of the most commonly available nutrient-dense foods (from leafy greens, root vegetables, legumes, herbs and spices to fruits, nuts and seeds), and with great enthusiasm and knowledge explains exactly why each of these foods is so good for you, plus includes delicious recipes you can use them in.
Are you a fan of zucchini noodles? Tell us what you like or don’t like about them in the comments below.