A spiralizer is a miraculous thing.
“Do you want chopped up zucchini and red sauce for dinner?” Meh.
“How about a big bowl of zoodles with meatballs and marinara?” YES.
The spiralizer turns the ordinary into the appetizing, quietly performing a sort of culinary sleight of hand.
Another thing that zoodles do, is really allow you to hone in on your sauces. Whereas a plate of pasta with salt and black pepper may not need too much coaxing to turn out a desirable meal–zoodles do require a little more sauce prowess.
That said, most pasta sauces taste great with zoodles. But, you’ll be able to taste it if something is lacking.
Therefore, with zoodles, and with the recipe below, taste often and adjust accordingly, particularly if your ingredients are slightly different. The fermented chili paste concentrate is, perhaps, the most exotic flavor here. It imparts a rich deep flavor as well as a slight kick of heat. If you don’t have access to it, a regular chili paste (or even sliced fresh chilis) would taste good here–I would just taste the sauce often and perhaps add a little extra soy sauce or even some fish sauce to deepen the flavor profile.
2.5 medium zucchini
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup peanuts, crushed or chopped finely
1 tablespoon fermented chili paste concentrate (or regular chili paste if you don’t have fermented) I use this brand.
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (white wine vinegar works too)
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 package extra firm tofu. I love the brand made by this company, as it’s made about an hour from us.
Scallions for garnish.
3 tablespoons avocado oil (or other oil with a higher smoke point than olive oil)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Pan fry the tofu
- Slice the tofu into approximately 1/2 inch slabs
- Squeeze out as much moisture from the tofu as possible, using a cheese cloth, thin rag, or paper towel
- Cut the tofu into chunks (exact size is your preference) about 1/2 inch all around
- Heat the avocado oil in a deep skillet
- When hot, carefully drop the tofu into the oil
- The tofu should sizzle when you drop it in the hot oil
- Let it cook for a few minutes, until a crust forms
- This may take several minutes, depending on how hot your oil is
- Watch it carefully, but don’t try to turn it too quickly, it will stick to the pan
- Allow it to brown sufficiently, and it should flip much more easily
- Once both sides of tofu are cooked, transfer to a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside
2. Spiralize the zucchini
3. Make the Sauce
- Heat a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat
- When hot, add the olive oil, minced garlic and ginger, and chili paste, stir quickly and reduce the heat slightly to keep the garlic and ginger from burning
- Add the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly
- When the mushrooms begin to soften, add the rice wine vinegar and tamari/soy sauce (you may need a little extra oil here as well, depending on how much the mushrooms absorbed)
- Give the sauce a stir, taste and adjust accordingly if needed.
4. Add the zucchini noodles
- Cook by tossing the noodles constantly with tongs or a pronged spoon until they break down, begin to lose their structure, and become more “pasta-like”
- Once the zucchini begins to break down, add the tofu and toss into the sauce with the zoodles
5. Serve, garnishing with chopped peanuts and scallions.