Zoodles with ham, peas, and basil is a simple weeknight dinner that is packed with bright spring flavors.
If meal planning was left to my three-year-old daughter, Elle, we would have pasta every single night. It's to the point lately where she will will try to influence the dinner menu during preschool pick-up. "Mama," she says sweetly, "are we having pasta for dinner?" You can't blame the girl for trying. I love pasta and so does my husband, so it would be easy cook up a pound of noodles every night and call it a day. These days, however, I find too many nights of pasta weighs me down. That's why I was thrilled when zoodles burst onto the culinary scene. Zoodles provide all the fun of eating pasta without the actual pasta.
If you're not familiar, zoodles (a ridiculous word that means zucchini noodles) are made by spiralizing a zucchinis. You need a special tool to spiralize, but zoodles are such a mainstay in our hose now I say it's well worth the investment. For more on how to make zoodles, including the spiralizer I own, click here. Do zoodles taste like pasta? Well, not really. They do, however, have the same texture and look of pasta, and when topped with a hearty sauce they really do give the feeling of eating a big bowl of comfort. They're a perfect gluten-free pasta alternative, and also a great way to add more veggies into your diet.
Besides saying the word "zoodles" over and over to drive my husband nuts, I've found the vegetable noodles have brought some of my favorite pasta dishes back to our weeknight table. Now when Elle asks for pasta I can make whole wheat noodles for her, zoodles for me and Andrew, and top everything with one simple sauce. Everyone is happy and I don't have to make two completely different dinners.
Since we hosted a big Easter brunch this weekend we had some leftover ham in the fridge that needed to be put to good use. I love the combination of ham, peas, and basil together so with that combination in mind this simple dish of zoodles with ham, peas and basil was born. In terms of substitutions, I used a good quality nitrate-free ham for this recipe but imagine that bacon or prosciutto would also work.
Kid-friendly notes: This dinner includes many kid-friendly flavors, but if you have a resistant eater here are some suggestions, keeping in mind that some kids will happily eat this meal as-is:
- Peel the zucchini before spiralizing to keep the zoodles a more familiar white color.
- Still don't think they'll go for zoodles? Cook up some whole wheat pasta in addition to the zoodles. Mix the two together, or just serve the whole wheat noodles.
- Serve the whole wheat noodles or zoodles drizzled with olive oil, a pile of peas with a little salt, a pile of the sautéed ham, and a few pieces of basil.
We all loved the bright spring flavors of this easy pasta dish. So round up these simple ingredients and make yourself zoodles with ham, peas and basil tonight!
ZOODLES WITH HAM, PEAS, AND BASIL
½ cup diced ham
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chicken broth
4 medium zucchinis, spiralized
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
3-6 sprigs basil
¼ teaspoon salt
1. To a large saute pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ham and saute for 10 minutes until the ham is browned and crispy, then remove from the pan.
2. Turn the heat to medium low and add the minced garlic. Saute for a minute, watching that it doesn’t burn. Add the chicken broth, turn heat to medium, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the spiralized zucchini and defrosted peas to the broth, turning to combine and warm through. Serve the warmed zoodles topped with ham and sprinkled with basil.
Notes: I used this Spiral Vegetable Slicer for this recipe.
Making this recipe? Let me know what you think, if your family liked it, and any adaptations you make in the comments. I really do love hearing from you! And be sure to tag #realfoodwholelife on Instagram so I can see what you're making!
To follow along with Real Food Whole Life and for healthy recipes, meal plans, and tips straight to your inbox, subscribe here