Curly Ribbons and Spaghetti

Today was just one of those lazy summer afternoons. I threw together a gigantic everything salad for lunch.

This monstrosity contained kale, red onion, cucumber, tomato, fennel root, fennel leaves, and avocado, drizzled with EVOO, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, and sprinkled with some s&p and ground flaxseed. A slice of untoasted multigrain bread on the side and that was that. Simplicity in a bowl, I say. 🙂

This was my first time buying and using fennel. It has a minty licorice smell and taste! 😀 Definitely adds a new flavor to the mix.

* * *

I was a lucky lucky girl today.

TWO packages were waiting at my door by 4pm.

First came the Brita filter my boyfriend graciously sent to me from Club Bing. Yay for filtered NYC water! Let’s hope this one doesn’t grow green mold/ algae like the one my suitemates and I had last year! *gulp*

Shortly afterwards, the second item arrived…

Yup, that’s a Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer!

Thanks to Amazon Prime (free for students with a .edu email), I ordered it on Wednesday and received it today.Even though I bought the spirooli myself and I knew that I would be getting it, I still felt like a kid opening Christmas presents!

I’ve seriously gone way too long without one. Look at my fail zucchini “spaghetti” cut by hand from a while back and you’ll see what I mean…

Of course zucchini is zucchini, and any way you cut it, it tastes the same. But my long, thick, and unevenly cut zucchini matchsticks just didn’t look or feel like spaghetti. It was missing that curly ribbon-like texture, the type you can wrap around your fork a billion times and proceed to stuff your face with.

Here’s where the spiralizer does its magic.

Why yes, I did pause the cranking spiralizing process to grab an action shot. I did it for you 😉

The zucchini noodle was super crazy long! If I didn’t rip it off at intervals, it would have held intact til the end. No joke.

And just how cute is this “mushroom” …

I was having so much fun experimenting with different blades and veggies!

I knew it was time for a serious “spaghetti and meatballs” REVAMP.

Zucchini Spaghetti and Bean balls

Bean balls:

* 1 cup black beans, cooked
* 1/4 cup brown rice, cooked
* 1/4 cup oats
* 1/4 cup onion, minced
* 1 small carrot, grated/zested
* fennel leaves, chopped
* 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
* salt & pepper
* seasoning of choice (herbs, ground flaxseed)

Spaghetti Sauce:

* 1 cup broccoli, chopped
* 1/2 cup canned crushed tomato
* 1.5 cups tomato sauce
* 1/2 avocado
* drizzle of agave (optional)
* s&p
* seasoning of choice (herbs, ground flaxseed)
* generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast

Directions: Prep the bean ball mixture. Combine all ingredients. If it’s too wet, add more oats. Give it a quick taste for seasoning and then send it to the refrigerator, leaving it there for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Roll up the mixture into small “meatballs” and line them up onto an oiled foil-covered cookie sheet. (My mix inadvertently yielded 17–hey, my lucky number!)

Bake for 18-20 minutes, flip them, then bake for another 15-18 minutes.

As you wait, make the spaghetti sauce. In a pan on medium heat, sauté broccoli in some EVOO and s&p. As soon as they turn bright green and before caramelizing,  pour in the tomatoes. I used up the rest of my can of plain crushed tomatoes and added in some jarred pasta sauce. Mash up the avocado and incorporate it into the sauce. After seasoning it with s&p, herbs & flaxseed, and nutritional yeast, give it a taste. Mine was a little on the sour side, so I included a few drops of agave nectar–a totally optional and preference-based add-in. Let it simmer until the bean balls are ready. Turn off the fire.

Take out the fully baked bean balls, try to resist eating one (I couldn’t!!! ;)), and drop them into the chunky sauce to coat.

They flattened a little. Don’t they look like baby bean burgers? lol.

Assemble the raw spiralized zucchini spaghetti with the cooked sauce and bean balls!

We mopped up the sauce with some bread (not shown). De-lish.

While zucchini spaghetti is obviously not the same as flour spaghetti in terms of taste and texture, it’s surely a close alternative. I welcome it with open arms and an open mouth, no innuendos intended. 😛

Do you own a spiralizer? What do you like to make with it? Please help feed my growing addiction to this new toy 😆

P.S. I cut my finger while cleaning the spiralizer blade. At least I know that it’s razor sharp… lesson learned the hard way…

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