If you’ve been keeping tabs, my last new recipe involved a spiralizer. Maybe you thought about buying one, or maybe not. I know, it totally seems like the kind of thing you’ll use once and then get angry at for taking up space. I can assure you – my spiralizer hasn’t even found a home yet; it’s living on my counter because it’s being used all the time!

Zucchini is an awesome and easy vegetable to spiralizer, and I know in just a few short months from now my gardening friends are going to be complaining about zucchini growing out of their ears. Send ‘em my way, or spiralize them. I’m telling you!

Did you know you don’t even have to cook them? If you want your zucchini noodles warmed, I’d suggest just a quick saute in your sauce, just to heat through. Anything longer and they’ll wilt down to nothing. When kept raw and tossed with a sauce, they’re perfectly “al dente.”

We’ve been enjoying them with a basil avocado “pesto.” Not quite pesto, since there are no nuts, oil or cheese, but it does taste remarkably like the real thing. Creamy and full of basil and garlic. Full of yummy healthy fats too.

I can think of so many ways to enjoy this. We’ve added chickpeas to bulk it up as a full meal. Tonight we had smaller servings beside grilled chicken. Hot-off-the-grill shrimp would be a winner too. Yup, I can see this happening all summer long… sorry, clutter-hating-husband, that spiralizer isn’t going anywhere!

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Zucchini Noodles with Basil Avocado "Pesto"

Yield: 2-3 side dish servings

Spiral-cut zucchini noodles tossed with a creamy basil-avocado sauce.

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, spiralized
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 of a ripe avocado
1/4 cup water
2 small cloves of garlic, peeled
juice from half a lemon
big pinch of salt
handful of fresh basil leaves

Directions:

Spiralize the zucchini according to manufacturer's instructions, or see the instructions linked above for tips. (Alternatively, you can use a OXO Good Grips Lemon Zester to grate long strands of zucchini.) Place the zucchini in a colander to rest while preparing the sauce.

Combine the avocado, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt and basil in a small food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

Place the zucchini noodles in a large bowl with the tomatoes. Pour the sauce over and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Note: To prepare ahead of time, keep the zucchini noodles and sauce separate until ready to serve. Gently squeeze the noodles to release any moisture, then toss with the avocado sauce.

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com