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So this week continues my on-going quest to insert more vegetables into my life. Having recently passed the one year mark on this operation, it’s time to step up the game. My body understands the difference between healthy and unhealthy now, finally, and it’s time to escalate to the next level. I’m marking the occasion with a juice cleanse! 

Honestly part of it is to initiate next level status, but part of it is because I have been having frequent headaches and other illness-y symptoms recently and I want to get out whatever toxins are making me sick. To prep for a juice cleanse, the juice company recommends taking a few days to work your way into it, which means a mostly vegan, gluten-free, unprocessed diet. I’ll talk more about this later but I wanted to set the stage!

I don’t mind eating mostly produce at all, certainly not just for a couple of days, but my body gets annoyed if it doesn’t have what feels like a real meal. And, I figure three days of nothing but cold-pressed juice is coming up, so I don’t really want to eat a whole bunch of vegan soup leading up to that. So I thought about meals I’ve made in the past that are solid food, warm and almost entirely plant-based. I really love spaghetti squash so I decided to think about something like that.

zucc marinara

Zucchini Marinara

I decided on zucchini pasta, which I have seen around Pinterest, blogs, etc. I love zucchini and I sometimes will add it to a gluten-free pasta dish I make, so this seemed like a no-brainer. I got directions on how to do the zucchini part from this lovely blog. I wasn’t so strict about avoiding the seeded middle, and I reduced the oil a bit. Still, it’s a great resource.

There are some really great things about this recipe. The first is that it is really easy. I often spend half an evening trying to get things set up when I cook something for the first time, and I’m like the slowest dicer alive (though I’m getting better). So the fact that this recipe involves few ingredients and few steps is really great. It’d be amazing for a night where you work late or are just not that into it. Second, it is surprisingly filling given how simple the recipe is. Third, it tastes delish.

Zucchini Marinara

Serves: 2. Prep Time: 15 Minutes. Cook Time: 10-15 Minutes.

Ingredients

  • 3 Small Zucchini
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Cups Diced Fresh Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Diced White Onion
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine*

Directions

  1. Wash & dry Zucchinis. To make the linguine, use a vegetable peeler and drag it across the zucchini, creating ribbons. Strip zucchini, rotating as you go, until you have stripped down to the seeded core and there is no more of the denser fruit left. Repeat on all three zucchinis.

    Zucchini  "linguine" ribbons

    Zucchini “linguine” ribbons

  2. Dice tomatoes, onions, basil and mince garlic.  
  3. In a large sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat.
  4. Add garlic and onions, sautéing until garlic is browning and onions are translucent. 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add in tomatoes, salt, pepper, half the basil and wine.
  6. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are a sort of a puree consistency. Approx 10 minutes.
  7. While sauce is simmering, add the rest of the oil (1.5 TBL) to another saucepan, heating to medium heat.
  8. Add the zucchini. Stirring often, let zucchini sautée until it looks ready, (generally it will look less papery, more shimmery). It’s okay if it browns a little, but not too much. Should take about 3-5 minutes.
  9. Add the rest of the basil to the sauce, stir.
  10. Serve sauce over zucchini. Enjoy!
Multitasking!

Multitasking!

Some Notes: 

  • The wine is totally optional. I added it because I have a different recipe that calls for white wine, and there happened to be a bottle of cabernet sitting open on the kitchen counter, and I figured no one would mind if I stole a couple tablespoons. I added it because I was worried that without it there wouldn’t be enough liquid, but I think if your tomatoes are juicy enough it shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you do omit the wine, I’d recommend adding another 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper to give the sauce a flavor boost.
  • I served the zucchini and sauce over some fresh spinach to add extra nutrients and calories. You could also add parmesan cheese or even something like grilled chicken.

Like I said, I am a big fan of this recipe. Crazy easy, healthy and it tastes good. The trifecta. It’s maybe not the most filling recipe I’ve ever posted, but I was content. If your goal is to find a meal that is clean, vegan, gluten-free, sugar free and generally detox friendly (okay aside from the wine…oops) but still seems very hearty and satisfying, this is the way to go. Even if you don’t care about it being clean, but are just looking for something healthy and painless to make for dinner, it’s an option I am for sure keeping around for frequent use. Plus there’s a lot of ways you could change it up to suit your own needs.

Yummm...nutrients!

Yummm…nutrients!

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