Friday, April 5, 2013

'Zoodles': Detox Dinner of Champions

Detox Delight: Chunky red pepper & mushroom marinara over "zoodles" with steamed asparagus.

 Earlier this week, I wasn't sure I was going to even make it to the weekend on this detox. Though I'm battling some intense sugar cravings at the moment, that wasn't what had me feeling weak. It was general boredom with my food. Eating a salad every day was getting old quickly and no salt and no sugar even made my favorite sweet potatoes not such a favorite.

That's when I had a brainstorm. This detox doesn't have to be dreadful. With the ability to eat almost anything from the plant kingdom, my options for meals are endless. I was the one limiting my options with my limited thinking.

Enter "zoodles," spaghetti-style zucchini shreds that can be used in place of pasta for a vegetarian, grain-free entree or side dish. Making zoodles is easy. All you need is a julienne vegetable peeler (I picked mine up for $5 at the grocery store) and some washed zucchini. Use the julienne peeler to peel strips of zucchini from top to bottom, stopping when you get to the seeds. I save the middle part and slice it up to add to the dish. To prepare them, heat a skillet to medium heat and give them a quick saute just until they get flexible (the heat of your sauce will cook them further). It's much faster than making pasta.
"Zoodles" only need a quick saute in a dry pan.
I topped my zoodles with a chunky sauce made of onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, fresh thyme, oregano and dried chile flakes for a little zing without salt. I served some spears of steamed asparagus on the side. The best part of this recipe is that it's family friendly and gave me the opportunity to eat with my family instead of sitting in the corner with my detox food glaring while they noshed on their own yummy dinner -- which is exactly what I was doing every night before. To round out the meal for Lily and Brian, I added some broiled polenta slices and fresh cherry tomatoes.

The sauce was a little spicy for Lily but that didn't stop her from asking for seconds.
Brian gave me the best possible compliment on this meal. He said it didn't feel like it was missing anything. Not only was it yummy, but it felt complete to him. He wasn't missing meat, pasta or dairy. A man of few words, Brian doesn't compliment often or effusively. I went to bed feeling pretty proud of myself.

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