Italian Zoodle Salad

Love pasta salad but hate the carbs?  Or, like myself, don’t love the texture of pasta salad but love the flavor?  Well, you’re in luck because this week’s recipe had all the flavor of an Italian-inspired pasta salad, without all the carbs and mushy pasta.  This Italian Zoodle Salad is zesty, fresh, and healthy with the substitution of zucchini “noodles”, or “zoodles”, for pasta.  Salami and provolone give it the heartiness you might miss from the pasta, and I promise, you’ll never make that tired old rotini again.  It’s simple, quick, and serves four people for only about 180 calories per serving.

First off, I’ll start by saying I made this dish with a little gadget called a Veggetti I purchased for $10 that claimed to make veggie pasta.  I was unsure about dropping the cash on something “As Seen on TV”, but after a little research and a couple YouTube reviews, I was swayed.  Boy, am I happy I was!  This little critter quickly sliced through my zucchini leaving me with fun, pretty, pasta-like ribbons in no time at all.  I cut a radial line halfway through the zucchini (think of a clock-face at 12:00)  so that the ribbons would be shorter, but you can also leave them long.  If you don’t want to invest in a spiral-slicing gadget, the zucchini can be cut into a dice or half-moons just as effectively.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the dressing:

  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/4 t. dried oregano
  • 1/4 t. dried parsley
  • 1/4 t. dried basil
  • 1/8 t. red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:

  • 2 zucchini, spiral-sliced, cubed, or half-moon
  • 1 c. artichoke hearts (in brine, not marinated), drained, quartered, patted dry
  • 3/4 c. provolone cheese, cubed
  • 3/4 c. salami, cubed
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10-15 grape (or cherry)  tomatoes, halved (you might want to use fewer cherry tomatoes due to their size)
  • 1/3 c. black olives, halved

First, mix your dressing together and set aside to meld while you’re putting the salad together.  Using a shaker bottle of some kind is the best, but aggressive whisking will do.

Next, in a medium-large bowl, toss all the veggies, salami, and cheese.  There, you’re already almost finished.  All that remains is to pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly.  I like to stick it back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to let the dressing infuse some of the zucchini a little bit.  If you aren’t going to serve it right away, wait until just before serving time to dress the salad so that it doesn’t get too macerated by the dressing.

The undressed salad keeps surprisingly well; I kept some in a plastic zipper bag for a week in my fridge, and when I finally got around to dressing it, It tasted just like the first serving.

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