Ask any gardener, and they will tell you that by mid-to-late summer zucchini plants are going bananas, and you can’t give the stuff away fast enough! This is an awesome time of year, when zucchini can be had cheaply at the super markets and farmers markets (or maybe your neighbor, just ask nicely).
Be prepared, there may be lots of zucchini recipes in the near future, especially since I planted 8 plants this year! Here’s an article with a dozen recipe ideas, I’m sure at least a few will find their way to my test kitchen in the upcoming months.
This recipe was my first experience with the new food craze of “zoodles”, the cute name for noodles made from zucchini. You can try to hand-julienne them, but a mandoline slicer makes the job far easier. Bascially, the whole zucchini gets shredded into thin noodle-like strands and cooked, then treated like pasta. But way healthier! You’ll get loads of vitamins, plus fiber.
This chicken piccata recipe makes enough for 4. You could easily cut this in half, or double it and freeze some, depending on your mood. I mixed half regular pasta and half zoodles for my first taste, but you can feel free to go all-in, or even use spaghetti squash pasta instead.
- 4 half chicken breasts
- 1 pound pasta
- 1 huge ripe zucchini
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4-6 tbsp capers
- Sea salt to taste
Step 1: In a frying pan, heat up 1 tbsp oil. Dice the garlic into tiny pieces, and cut the ends off the zucchini. Add the garlic and chicken to the oil, and cover the pan. Cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, then flip and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink at all.
Step 2: Boil your pasta noodles 8-10 minutes. While pasta is boiling, take out the mandoline and slice the zucchini into thin strands*. Add the zoodles in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking with the pasta.
*See bottom of post for full instructions
Step 3: Drain the pasta and zoodles. Add to the pan with the chicken, and pour in the oil, lemon juice, and capers. Cover, and steam cook 5-7 minutes.
Once everything is heated through, place on plate, season to your liking, and serve! This is a double-portion, because my fiancee eats like a racehorse who just finished the Triple Crown.
The capers and lemon juice give this dish a nice tangy flavor, while the zoodles add a mellow vegetal taste. You could also use shrimp here, or broil or boil the chicken instead of pan-frying. Go forth and get your servings of sneaky veggies!
To make zoodles:
1. Set your mandoline to the thinnest setting. This will make long thin sheets. Add the comb to slice into noodles.
2. Place the zucchini flat on the mandoline top-to-bottom (lengthwise) and push down the mandoline face. This will cut the first layer. Move the zoodles from underneath the mandoline to a plate.
3. Put the zucchini back to the top of the mandoline, now flat side down, and push down again. Continue until you have a very thin layer left. Hand-slice this layer, or be very very careful to not slice off your thumb!