Marinated Zoooooodle Salad

I don’t know where the inspiration for this salad came from. Every time we make it, we add something new. Here is what we did recently…

Happy Summer Solstice! I was just out in my garden this morning telling my zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes to hurry and grow, grow, grow! This salad is part of the reason why! Summer is here and those of us who have planted gardens or who frequent the Farmers Markets are about to have an abundance of vegetables! OH happy day!!!!!!

Whenever we want to make something special for a summer gathering, this is one of the dishes we select. It’s one of our personal favorites for many reasons: People enjoy all of the different flavors and textures; it can sit at room temperature with no concern; it gets better with age; and it can be made ahead.

Why do I like it?

  • It’s pretty.
  • It’s healthy.
  • It’s easy.
  • It’s delicious!

Because we cater, we have several spiralizers that we use to make large amounts of zoodles (noodles made of zucchini), but you don’t need to buy a big one unless you plan on being the Zoodle-Queen of your neighborhood. If you don’t have one, this little contraption costs about $14.95 and you can find them at Walgreen’s, your local grocery store, or you can order one on Amazon.  Also, the salad works just as well with the zucchini sliced like the cucumbers. We like the zoodles because they create nice texture.

spiralizer

I am going to take a risk and assume everyone reading this recipe knows how to peel and slice, so there will be no photos of the process. One word of advice though, use the biggest vessel you can find in order to mix this salad, then transfer it to a serving bowl. We use our hands, but since you don’t have our hands, you can use a spatula. Or spoons. Or your own hands.


Marinated Zoodle Salad:

This recipe will serve millions.

Okay not really.
This will serve 6-8.

FOR THE SALAD:
2 cups Baby Spinach
2 large zucchini, ends trimmed, spiralized
2-3 cucumbers sliced (we use English Cucumbers)
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 (15 oz.) can quartered artichokes
2 large ear sweet corn, kernels removed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved (I like to use red and yellow)
8 oz. fresh Mozzarella pearls
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced (use the variety you like)
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

FOR THE DRESSING:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
Salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
First, make (or cough cough, “buy) the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Note: If you are afraid of making your own dressing, use a bottle of your favorite Balsamic or Red wine vinaigrette.

Use a spiralizer to make the zucchini noodles. We use scissors to cut them into manageable spirals (about 2 ½ inches long). Slice the corn off the cob and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini noodles with the spinach and all of the chopped and sliced vegetables, herbs, seasonings and seeds. Pour on the dressing and toss. At this point, you may serve or cover and refrigerate. I believe this salad is best when allowed to marinate for a few hours.

THE SECRET TO SUCCESS: Do NOT skip the step even if you are using bottle dressing! A few minutes before you intend to serve, take the salad out and toss it once more. Then add a few more shots of pure Balsamic Vinegar and a few more twists of freshly cracked pepper and a little more salt and garlic. Toss and serve.

Options: Think of things you like to eat and add them in.
Here are some suggestions:
Chopped avocado
Bean Sprouts
Pepperoni
Mini corn on the cob
Diced or shredded chicken or ham
Black olives
Bamboo shoots
Sliced carrots & celery
Sliced red, yellow and orange bell peppers

See? The list is virtually endless. Can you think of other variations? If so, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments and IF you are a food blogger and you have a great summer salad to share, by all means drop your link! I’d love to check it out!

Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-ups. Um. YES!

This recipe is one of my favorites of all time. Check it out.

By now most people have caught on to the health benefits of the occasional switch from pasta to zucchini noodles. I saw a version of this recipe floating around on Facebook and decided it was so pretty, I had to try it. (I love pretty food!)

My husband and I are on a strict low-carb diet, so I made my own Alfredo sauce without using flour, but if you are not under any dietary restrictions, feel free to buy your favorite bottled or frozen variety and use that. Also, if you are going to go that route, buy more than you think you will need. One of the best parts of this recipe for me was that I had enough sauce to use inside the rolls and also to pour over the top before baking. Plus, if you reheat this the next day for lunch (I do that all the time), it’s nice to have leftover sauce to drizzle over the top for more flavor.

To make it extra special easy peasy, pick up a couple containers of of shedded rotisserie chicken from your local market! That’s what I did. I did not buy enough though, so ended up boiling about three chicken tenders and shredding them by hand. Be smarter than me!

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This is what my rolls looked like after I got them all in the pan. It’s a little tricky at first, which is why you want to have more than just a tiny layer of sauce in your dish. Mine was about 1/4″ deep, so the rolls had something to hold onto. I sprinkled a little bit of the crumbled bacon on top first.

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Afterward, I drizzled on some more Alfredo sauce, Parmesan cheese and more bacon! Then it went into the oven!

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Thirty minutes later, it came out smelling and looking beautiful!

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Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-Ups

(Serves 6)

Ingredients
4 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic so used 6 cloves.)
2 1/4 c. cream
1 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish (Chopped scallions or basil would work as great garnishes as well.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4-5 large-ish zucchinis, peeled into long strips
3 c. shredded mozzarella (may not use all of it)
3 c. shredded cooked chicken (I used a pre-shredded rotisserie chicken plus a couple of my own shredded chicken tenders.)
4-5 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk cream into the butter and garlic and stir until simmering gently. Gradually stir in the Parmesan, whisking constantly. Let simmer until the sauce thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon a layer of Alfredo sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (This will help the rolls to stand vertically, so make sure it’s not too thin.) On a clean surface, lay 2-3 pieces of zucchini down slightly overlapping each other. I made mine to be about 2 & ½ inches across, so depending on the size of the zoodle, I either used two or three slices. Spoon & spread a little Alfredo sauce on top, then the shredded chicken and a sprinkle of mozzarella. Roll up tightly and place vertically in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

Top with remaining Alfredo Sauce, Parmesan and crumbled bacon. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top and baked through. Garnish with fresh parsley and MORE BACON!