Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Pumpkin Sauce, a little taste of fall without going too overboard with the pumpkin- which I know many of us can do. This dish is a great representation of using vegetables in a sneaky and innovative way, by transforming them into low carbohydrate zucchini noodles and turning fall squash into a thick and creamy sauce- no dairy required. Garnished with fresh sage, a drizzle of roasted pumpkin seed oil or high quality olive oil, toasted pumpkin seeds, and you’re good to go. Added bonus, watch me make this recipe HERE on my YouTube channel!
You all know by now that I’m a fan of sneaking in vegetables wherever can, especially for the men in our lives that dislike veggies (B, I’m talking about you), or for the kids, or even for ourselves when we’re looking at being more mindful of our carbohydrate intake. I’m always turning to zucchini to make that happen. We’re quickly approaching the holiday and it can get tricky eating healthy all the time, I get it. We’re surrounded with more social gatherings this time of year than any other time, and most of those events center around food and drinks. It all starts with Halloween which is the official kickstart of the holidays, followed by Thanksgiving and then Christmas (for most of us). Regardless, there’s an abundance of carbohydrate rich foods that we’re bombarded with such as bread rolls, sweet potato casseroles, pies, cookies, cakes, breakfast pastries, and office treats. We simply can’t get away from them- so what to do? Make sure that you’re being mindful and keeping your carbohydrate intake in check.
Carbohydrates aren’t evil! I’ve talked about them before here for The Body Book and will be posting this week an in depth look into carbohydrates; but to recap, carbohydrates are our preferred energy source. It depends on how much (grams of carbohydrates) we already have stored in our body, how much we’re consuming, how our bodies utilize those stored carbohydrates, and ultimately how those carbohydrates are either used for energy or stored for energy later (i.e. fat). You can see, there are so many factors of how our bodies determine the use or storage of carbohydrates, but this is universally true- if you eat too many carbohydrates than your body has “need” for, it will get stored, and most likely into our fat cells. Is this a bad thing- no, unless your body is continually utilizing those energy sources and it continues to be in storage mode, then you may encounter fat gain/weight gain.
Why am I harping on this? Because, I get it! EVERY one of my clients talks about holiday weight gain around this time of year and ultimately we come up with a structured meal plan to achieve/maintain their weight loss they’ve worked so hard to keep off the past year. It’s a delicate balance, and anytime you can sneak in delicious lower carbohydrates foods, naturally it’s a win win for both your fitness/body composition goals and your taste buds. Also, I’m going to say this because I know I’ll have hundreds of emails about “well how many carbohydrates to I need to eat in a day”- great question and for that I’d be happy to look over your lifestyle, goals, and come up with a plan together- make an appointment with me to chat about that.
Now back to this delicious dish…
This recipe is the perfect solution, zucchini pasta as a way to increase the nutrient density, fiber, and flavor into your diet without going overboard on carbohydrates. If you’ve never roasted your own pumpkin before to make pumpkin puree, you’re missing out! It’s so easy and tastes a thousands times better than the canned kind. Sugar pumpkins are especially delicious as they’re the sweeter and smaller counterpart to the larger pumpkins we normally see around Halloween.
Sugar pumpkins are called “sugar” for a reason, they’re naturally sweeter and are perfect for making purees out of- for this sauce I use the pumpkin mixed with tahini, savory herbs like thyme and sage, cashews and tahini for creaminess, and lemon to balance the flavors. A couple garnish options include roasting pumpkin seeds (be resourceful and use leftovers from the sugar pumpkin!), a dash of fresh grated nutmeg, and my favorite find at the health food store, roasted pumpkin seed oil. It’s incredibly rich, dark green/brown and tastes like pumpkin seed on hyperdrive.
- 4 large zucchinis
- PUMPKIN SAGE SAUCE //
- 1 sugar pumpkin, roasted then pureed
- 1 medium green apple
- ½ cup fresh sage, chopped
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon roasted pumpkin seed oil
- Juice of 1 clementine
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (using some for baking)
- pinch of turmeric
- black pepper
- sea salt to taste
- garnish: roasted pumpkin seeds, dash of cinnamon, fresh black pepper, roasted pumpkin seed oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Slice the sugar pumpkin in half, placing the flesh side up, bake the pumpkin on a well greased baking sheet for 45 minutes or until tender. Scoop out the pumpkin from it's skin, using a high speed blender or food processor, puree the pumpkin with all remaining sauce ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste. Transfer the pumpkin puree into a pot on the stovetop to heat through again. Create If you do not own a spiralizer you can use a mandolin on the ribbon blade.
- ASSEMBLY //
- Put 1 spiralized zucchini per plate, ladle the Roasted Pumpkin Sauce on top. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds before enjoying/serving. Store pumpkin sauce in a separate container for leftovers and make zucchini noodles directly before serving.
I hope you all try this one out and enjoy it as much as I did!
Videography by Dan Martinie.