Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Veggie Summer Inspiration

 Summer is here and the veggies are really starting to take center stage in the kitchen.  I was recently inspired one Saturday morning while taking pictures of a local vegetable garden. The yellow squash blooms encouraged me to snap a photo, but then the squash motivated me to prepare a healthy, low-carb meal that my kids would dive into.

As with adults, kids choose to eat things that look good.  They say that presentation is everything . . . well, that can apply to kid-friendly foods too.  Spaghetti is something that most kids won’t turn down, mine included.  A good way to offer a healthier option is to use squash as a substitute for the pasta.  Thinly sliced squash that has been sautéed and topped with a marinara sauce can easily give the illusion that you are eating the pasta dish, just without the carbohydrates.

To put together this vegetarian dinner, I simply cut both (yellow squash and zucchini) lengthwise in half and then cut thin strips to resemble spaghetti as much as possible. The veggies then got sautéed with olive oil and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. To accelerate the browning process, I sprinkled a little sugar to boost the caramelization of the veggies. 

To serve, I placed them on plates and topped with the sauce. Plates were garnished with a sprig of parsley and its bloom.  In our house my wife and I always like to make a good marinara sauce that we divide in containers and freeze. If you have a garden with an excessive amount of tomatoes, you should make sauces to use for rainy days. Not only is it easy to put together an Italian dinner if you have a good sauce, but the flavor of summer home-grown tomatoes is hard to replicate.

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