Meatless Monday: Zucchini Noodles and Tofu "Bolognese" Sauce - Flecks of Lex

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Meatless Monday: Zucchini Noodles and Tofu "Bolognese" Sauce

Zucchini noodles

Every Monday, I tell myself that I'm going to make it a Meatless Monday. Of course, this normally devolves as soon as I eat the first meal of the day. (Oops!)

Today, I decided to suck it up and just do it. I don't have any real health reasons for such a decision. For me, it's more about discipline, and trying new recipes. I've always loved vegetables, but man do I love some fish and poultry! It's amazing how you can be challenged with cooking as soon as you remove a protein with which you're used to cooking!

Though I've been craving grilled cheese all day (ALL DAY), I decided that I needed a little more sustenance for dinner. What to make... what to make... Oh, I know! Zucchini noodles!

I first tried zucchini noodles by using my vegetable spiraler a couple months back, and I just have been neglecting this amazing appliance. Now, I can get some good nutrients in AND get creative with toppings/sauces. I cooked with tofu for the first time when I read an old post from Run, Eat, Repeat when Monica used it for taco "meat," so I decided to give it another try for a Meatless Monday. It was actually really delicious in the tacos, and you almost couldn't tell that it wasn't meat!

Considering that I had to rush to the grocery store to buy ingredients before my game tonight (we won!), and then come home after the game and attempt to cook them all up, I decided not to make my normal Bolognese sauce which requires a lot of chopping, stirring, seasoning, and TIME. Instead, I chose to make this sauce - which still took a while, but didn't take hours to make, or require twice the ingredients. Enjoy!

Zucchini Noodles with Tofu "Bolognese" Sauce

Bolognese Sauce Ingredients:
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu (I used organic, extra firm, Nasoya Tofu Plus)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of vegetable broth
  • 1 12-ounce can of tomato paste
  • Shredded parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Optional: Crushed red pepper, to taste; basil, for garnish
Zucchini Noodle Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions
  1. Dice celery, carrots, bell pepper, and onions. In a large skillet, with medium heat, saute the vegetables in olive oil until the carrots and celery have softened (about 10 minutes). Add in the garlic, and continue to saute for about 2 minutes.
  2. Drain the tofu, and crumble into the pan with the vegetables. Add basil, and cook for about 10-15 minutes (until the tofu has turned golden brown). 
  3. Add in vegetable broth and tomato paste. Stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Optional: Add crushed red pepper and mix well.
  4. Simmer Bolognese sauce on low.
  5. Spiral your zucchini noodles. 
  6. Saute zoodles in olive oil, on medium heat, for three minutes. Pro tip: Eat the "zucchini weenies" while the zoodles saute. (See image below)
  7. Add water to zoodles.
  8. Add in salt and pepper. Very little is needed, so don't get crazy!
  9. Cook zoodles for about 3-5 minutes, while continuing to stir. Remove zoodles from heat, and strain excess water. Note: Do this to prevent the zoodles from taking on a soggy texture.
  10. Remove Bolognese sauce from heat.
  11. Plate your dish! Place your zucchini noodles on the plate. Top with Bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Optional: Add basil garnish.
  12. Enjoy!
Zucchini weenies: The little nubs you get at the end
of spiraling zucchini squash. Crunchy and delicious!
Have you ever tried having a Meatless Monday? Have you ever cooked with tofu? If you have ever used a spiraler on zucchini, what do you do with the zucchini weenies?

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