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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Thai Carrot Noodle

Veggie Noodles

There's a new way to get your daily dose of veggies: veggie noodles. While there's nothing wrong with a whole grain noodle or pasta (certainly packs more nutrition than regular enriched), veggie noodles can offer a variety of nutrients with less calories. So grab your julienne peeler, vegetable spiralizer or mandoline and start "noodling!"

Aside from a cooked spaghetti squash, which forms its own noodle, "zoodles" (a.k.a zucchini noodles) became a popular pasta substitute. Zucchini makes a great swap for spaghetti noodles and can be tossed with marinara or pesto sauce. Carrots are another go-to vegetable to "noodle." Their slightly sweet flavor pairs well with peanut sauce for an Asian-inspired meal or can be spiraled and left raw to top salad greens. Sweet potato noodles can simply be baked and converted to curly fries. Even broccoli stems can be saved from dumping in the trash: "noodle" them! Got cucumbers, radishes, rutabaga, parsnips, or turnips? The fun doesn't end.

Veggie noodles can easily be made with the right tool. A mandoline will do the job by using the julienne blade and adjusting the thickness if needed. A spiralizer is a less expensive option and can come in the form of a handheld or countertop tool. The least costly is a julienne peeler, which like a mandolin will form straight strips rather than curls. Whatever tool you use, be creative and have fun!

Carrot Noodles with Thai Chicken Peanut Sauce (Printable PDF)

Non-stick cooking spray

1 lb. raw skinless boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 Tablespoon olive oil

5-6 large carrots, peeled and sliced into noodles

1 clove garlic, minced

2 green onions, chopped

? cup natural creamy peanut butter

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon less sodium soy sauce

1 Tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1-2 Tablespoons hot water to thin sauce, if needed

? cup unsalted chopped peanuts

2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Heat to medium high; add chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from skillet and set aside. Heat olive oil in same skillet. Add carrot noodles, garlic and green onions. Sauté until noodles are crisp-tender. In a medium bowl, stir peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil together. Thin with water if needed. Pour into skillet with carrot noodles. Add cooked chicken. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Yield 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 270 calories, 12 grams fat, 280 milligrams sodium, 18 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 23 grams protein

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