Loving the BITE: Zucchini Noodles Lo Mein

21
Aug
2014

zucclomein2If you happen to keep a garden in all your spare time off the bike, you may have zucchinis coming out of your ears this time of year.  And, if you don’t, you can likely find good prices on them at the store.  This is a good thing, because zucchinis make a great “noodle” for pestos, marinaras, and even lo mein.  They have a very neutral taste, fry in coconut oil well, and can help keep your body lean and strong with “light at night” dinner options. Here’s how to use zucchini as a super easy, quick, and delicious noodle substitute:

Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Noodle Lo Mein

Ingredients:

Noodles:

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil (or avocado oil)

Stir-Fry:

  • 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil (or avocado oil)
  • 2 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2-1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cups stir-fry vegetables of choice
  • 16 ounces meat/protein (pork, chicken, tofu, etc.)

Easy Lo Mein Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp light soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp red crushed pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar, honey, or agave

zucclomein3Instructions:

  1. Using a cheese grater or julienne peeler (be careful!), grate whole zucchini length-wise into long strips or “noodles.”
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add zucchini noodles and stir-fry until golden brown and crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. In separate large pan or wok, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat.  Add meat and stir-fry until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Add remaining ginger, garlic, onion, and vegetables (can add additional oil if needed to keep from burning).  Stir fry until tender-crisp, about 4-6 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix all sauce ingredients.
  6. Once vegetables are cooked, return meat to pan and add sauce.  Stir fry until thoroughly coated.  Add zucchini noodles and stir fry until warmed and coated (don’t allow to become soggy). Enjoy! Serves 4.

Comments: You’ve heard it here before; dinner is a great time for vegetables.  A lot of vegetables.  I recommend covering half your plate with them, every night.  Here are a few good reasons.

1) If you’re trying to maintain a healthy or lean weight, or lose weight to improve your power to strength ratio, these low-calorie, nutrient rich foods will give you a lot of benefit, without promoting fat storage (I’ve never had a client ruin their fat loss plan by eating too much zucchini).  They’ll also fill you up with volume, and help you control the portions of other foods at dinner.

2) As an athlete, you need the extra antioxidants.  All of us have a lot of damaging free radicals in our bodies; they are a natural product of many biochemical processes.  In fact, most athletes have extra oxidative stress because they engage in extra biochemical processes: all the extra breathing, muscle contracting, and fuel metabolizing during training.  Never fear, you just need some extra antioxidants from food like zucchini.

3) Disease prevention.  Vegetables’ fiber, anti-inflammatory components, and cellular detoxifying agents simply promote cellular health and whole-body health.  From the cells on up, they reduce our risk of many chronic diseases including Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer. This week, blow it out of the water and get your vegetables as your main dish, zucchini noodles.

In just one cup of zucchini, you’ll get:

  • Twenty calories (compare this to 80-120 from pasta).  Four grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
  • Vitamin C (potent antioxidant), beta-carotene (potent antioxidant), folate, and potassium.  After riding hard, zucchini can help you replenish potassium and fend off leg cramps.
  • Anti-inflammatory components: The seeds of summer squash contain omega-3s, carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin, and anti-inflammatory starches.
  • Anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties: Dried summer squash seeds are often used in folk-medicine as treatment of intestinal parasites in some parts of the world.

Bonus Recipe:  Frozen Zucchini Shreds

If you’re still wondering what to do with all that zucchini, grate it (skin and all), and freeze it in individual portions.  Add it to smoothies for a vegetable kick and a thickener.

It’s the stuff of summer.  It provides antioxidants, fiber, protein, and anti-inflammatory components for very little calories.  If you’re striving to be a lean, strong cyclist, it’s a good choice this week.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body. 

Enjoy Your Ride
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Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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