Put some sun into your plate with this beautiful Greek zoodles served with spiced roasted chickpeas and a delicious sun-dried tomato pesto. This easy vegan and gluten-free dish is made of simple ingredients tossed together with a perfect seasoning that will make you forget it’s actually healthy!
With the recent snow storm and cold temperatures in Chicago (yes, in March!), it might seem a little bit too early to share this perfect Summer plate with you. However, I have decided not to let me fool by the weather. After all, we had two days at 68°F (20°C) back in February, so I guess and hope the recent snow was just a last time thing before spring finally shows up and surround us by warmer temperatures. So as we are slowly going in this direction, let’s treat ourselves with a wholesome and healthy zoodle dish.
I discovered zoodles a few years ago in Stockholm. With a colleague of mine, we used to go for lunch to this tiny restaurant using fresh and great quality ingredients. And they had zoodles! It was way before the zoodle trend really started to go crazy, and I remember we asked them how they made these long stripes out of the zucchinis, as it sounded to us as a wonderful idea to eat more veggies served as if they were pasta (spaghetti or tagliatelle). My favorite dish on the menu was indeed a Greek zoodle salad, served with chicken, feta cheese and fresh olives.
Thing is, I don’t really eat chicken anymore as I’m always very suspicious about the origin of the meat. So then I figured I could at least keep the feta cheese in my recipe, but then I figured there was something missing. As of a sudden, I had the idea of making my zoodles entirely vegan and gluten free, but still in a Greek style. The important to me was to create a wholesome and tasty dish, colorful in the plate, and nourishing too, so that it keeps you full for quite a while (in case some people still believed that eating vegetarian food is not really satisfying and nourishing).
So here I simply sauté my zoodles for just a few minutes in a frying pan together with olive oil and minced garlic, until they are tender but still able to hold their long noodles shape alike. Then I prepared some spiced roasted chickpeas, that add some crunchiness to the dish with a subtle spicy taste of cayenne pepper. Plus chickpeas are very nutritious and fulfilling while providing a great vegetarian-friendly source of protein. To me, they are one of the key ingredient of this zoodle dish.
Finally, I made a homemade sun-dried tomato pesto to serve the zoodles with. You may want to use a ready-to-it pesto jar instead of making your own, but I really encourage you to try at least once, because it is extremely easy to make and also very forgiving when it comes to the proportions. Just mix all the ingredients in a food processor ; add more pine nuts if you want to, or more sun-dried tomatoes, more olive oil. Just adjust until you get the desired consistency, and season as it suits you.
If you happen to make this dish often, you might want to use another pesto for a change sometimes, such as a green or black olive pesto for instance. You can also garnish with roasted cherry tomatoes or other roasted red pepper stripes. Variety is key remember ; so just add your own twist to the recipe and have fun! Good thing: you can even make it in a jar and bring it with you as a picnic for hot summer days. Whether they are served warm or cold, these zoodles are amazingly tasty!
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 handful fresh olives
- 1 can (400g) chickpeas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 4 oz (110g) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ¼ cup (35g) pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- For the zoodles: slice the ends of the zucchini and spiralize it into long noodles, or simply cut it into super thin stripes with the help of a potato peeler.
- Sauté the zoodles in a frying pan with the olive oil for a few minutes, until tender (they must keep their shape). Add the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper.
- For the chickpeas: preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C). Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy, stirring every 10 minutes.
- For the sun-dried tomato pesto: in a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until well blended. Add more olive oil if necessary and taste to adjust the quantity of salt.
- Serve the zoodles together with the spicy roasted chickpeas, the sun-dried tomato pesto, and garnish with fresh olives and basil leaves.