Southwestern Zucchini Noodle Bowls

Add a little fun to your pasta dish with oodles of noodles made from zucchini.

The growing trend of adding healthy alternatives to traditional dishes has led to the creation of noodles made from zucchini and other items. These tasty alternatives offer a light refreshing base for a healthy meal that is sure to become a family favorite.

Just the Basics

This tasty dish is full of flavor and packs a healthy punch as well. Easy to make and customize, this dish is built upon a bed of noodles crafted from zucchini.

Noodles and Zoodles

While both the Chinese and Italian cultures lay claim to the invention of the noodle, the oldest historical mention comes from China. Those noodles didn’t resemble those we use today and are nothing like the trendy zucchini noodles used in this recipe.

As they’ve grown in popularity, zucchini noodles have earned the moniker of zoodles. A zoodle is just a thinly sliced strip of zucchini that resembles a noodle. Whatever you call it, zoodles are an excellent alternative to traditional pasta that is low in carbohydrates and rich in many vitamins and minerals.

Health Benefits of Zucchini

This summer squash is a member of the gourd family that is often considered a vegetable but is botanically a fruit. It is a nutrient-dense food with several health benefits. These include:

  • Aids Digestion
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels
  • Reduced fatigue and improved mood

Recipe & Preparation

This recipe for Southwestern Zucchini Noodle Bowls takes less than half an hour total to make. It is a recipe that can be kept and passed on to future generations.

The primary ingredient is obviously those zoodles. You can buy zucchini noodles from the store or you can easily make your own to ensure ultimate freshness. There are a few kitchen tools out there that make this process a snap, including an attachment for stand mixers. However, a standard julienne peeler can do the trick. Just lightly apply pressure with the peeler and run it along the sides of the zucchini until you have completely julienned the entire fruit. Boom, zoodles!

Ingredients

The remainder of the ingredients includes those for making the cilantro lime vinaigrette as well as the remaining items for the bowl itself. If you don’t like one of the items on this list, don’t worry, it can be left out or another can be added in its place. It is really up to individual taste.

For the cilantro-lime vinaigrette:

  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2 packed cups of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  • ½ cup of olive oil

For the bowls:

  • 2 medium zucchinis (turned into zoodles)
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 14 ounce can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ of a thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 large sliced avocado
  • ¼ cup of queso fresco
  • Cilantro for garnish

Preparation

Combine the ingredients for the cilantro-lime vinaigrette in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Then set this aside while you assemble your bowls. Simply add the zoodles to a large bowl and top with the other ingredients. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the mixture and toss it like a salad to mix well. Garnish with a little fresh cilantro and serve.

Variations

The possible variations for this dish are as plentiful as the various ingredients that can be added or removed. To maintain the vegetarian basis of this salad, try this variation from Create Mindfully that adds vegan chicken or this recipe for a Sesame Almond Zoodle Bowl. You can also add actual meat to the zoodle bowl in recipes like this one for a Crispy Baked Chicken Parmesan Zoodle Bowl or this one for a Summer Shrimp Zoodle Bowl.

This healthy filling dish is a great choice for a quick snack or light dinner. Quick to make and easily customizable to fit your specific tastes and nutritional needs, the Southwestern Zucchini Noodle Bowl is a dish that offers a tasty way to eat healthily.

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