Zucchini “Noodles” with Sesame-Peanut Sauce

by on April 19, 2013
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Zucchini Noodles with Sesame-Peanut Sauce

It’s been a week full of tragedy and fear. My heart aches for the families of everyone hurt or killed in Boston and Texas, and my reaction to everything that’s happened (and continues to happen) is to plant myself in front of the news in search of the answers to “What?” and “Why?” It’s not a healthy response in a number of ways. Seeing the number of mistakes that the media has made, I’m becoming convinced that it’s probably better to check the news only once a day to avoid all the speculation and outright errors. And on a personal level, being holed up in front of a TV or computer screen has made me more sedentary than usual and less inclined to pry myself away and create a new recipe.

So it was lunchtime yesterday before I was finally able to drag myself off the couch and back into what I call “The Voisin Test-Kitchen.” I wanted something fresh and cold and under 200 calories, so I came up with this pasta salad that doesn’t use pasta.

Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer in Action

When it comes to low-calorie pasta alternatives, I’ve come to rely on two options: packaged shirataki noodles (made from a type of yam) and strands of raw zucchini made with a spiralizer. Of the two, I prefer the zucchini because it’s cheap, it’s unprocessed, it tastes better, and it has a less “gummy worm” texture. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can get a similar effect by using a mandolin to shred the zukes or you can make “ribbons” using an ordinary vegetable peeler.

Though it has only 116 calories, this salad is higher in fat than most of my others because of the peanut butter and sesame oil. I’ve used the very minimum I could while still maintaining the delicious flavor of spicy Asian peanut sauces. If you’re watching your daily fat intake, you might want to eat it on a day when you’re not consuming other sources of fat. But if you’re looking for something light yet flavorful, do give it a try.

Zucchini Noodles with Sesame-Peanut Sauce

Enjoy!

Susan

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Korine April 19, 2013 at 12:54 pm

VERY interesting! I want one of those spiralizers… :)

So you don’t cook the zucchini at all?? Definitely trying this… Thank you!

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2 Linda April 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Hi Susan,
Do you have a recommendation re: spiralizers? I couldn’t find one locally but can order from Amazon…..from no choices to too many choices. Thanks for all you do for we plant-eaters :)

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3 Susan Voisin April 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Hi Linda, here’s the link to the spiralizer I have. I have to say, I got it at a Big Lots (close-out store) for much less than it costs on Amazon, but that was many years ago: Spiralizer on Amazon

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4 Carol April 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I’m allergic to nuts. Any idea to replace the peanut butter. BTW, the spiralizer costs about U$ 125,00 in Brazil… so sad.

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5 Susan Voisin April 20, 2013 at 9:23 am

Are you allergic to seeds, too? If not, you could try tahini or sunflower seed butter.

Sorry about the price in Brazil! You could try the vegetable peeler option.

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6 janet @ the taste space April 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Zucchini noodles for the win! They are also my favourite non-pasta noodle and I guiltlessly pair them with richer sauces. This looks delicious. :-)

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7 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance April 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I have that same spiralizer, and love it. I think zucchini noodles make the best pasta substitute–we eat them all the time. The sauce in your recipe sounds delicious–can’t wait to try this!

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8 Anne-Marie April 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Courgette noodles are great! This looks tasty and certainly a lunch idea I shall try. We’ve done a lovely Mimi Kirk recipe-pasta alla checca, which is a raw tomato ‘pasta’ dish, yummy! Thanks for all of your ideas! X

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9 heidi April 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I made a similar recipe and subbed PB2 for the peanut butter to save fat calories since I also used sesame oil. PB2 is processed, so that may be a deal breaker for some, but the result was delicious.
Susan, thanks for your always-great, always-reliable recipes; I’ve printed and used so many!!
P.S. Janet, I bought my spiralizer on Amazon; it’s the same one pictured in Susan’s second photo, above.

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10 moonwatcher April 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

This looks great, Susan! The photos are beautiful, and I love the look of the zucchini spirals especially. I will have to try something like this really soon.

I am with you on being careful not to overdoes on news reports, while also keeping a compassionate and attentive stance to those who are suffering directly, and how we might help ease that, even in the tiniest of ways. It’s a loss for all of us.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on reacting to the tragedy in Boston, and for nurturing us all with a healthy beautiful meal.

xo

moonwatcher

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11 luminousvegans April 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Looks like a great dish for the warmer weather. I wonder if I could use my food processor to shred the zukes….I don’t think it would look as nice as your spirals though. *sigh* another kitchen gadget I want now :-). This looks delicious.

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12 Patrícia April 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Hi Susan, loved the ideia! I’ll put that machine on my wish list, it´s so cool! :)

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13 Connie Fletcher April 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

It’s getting to that time of year, isn’t it? The raw season….yum. This looks delish! Today hit 72 degrees…but tomorrow will struggle to hit 50…but this is definitely in my future!!! Thanks for the recipe!

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14 Judy April 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

What a wonderful dinner I had this evening. I had some brown rice left over so added some shredded carrot, finely chopped red pepper, a couple of sliced scallions and some roughly chopped peanuts. Then I made “THE SAUCE” and poured it over the hot rice. OMGoodness….it was deeelicious! I only added 1/4 tsp of Sriracha. (figured I could always add more if needed, but it was plenty for me). It took just a few minutes to put together and I was lucky enough to have all ingredients on hand. Now will have to get some zucchini and try the salad. Normally I will make a recipe exactly as it is written the first time around and then make my own changes. I will NOT be changing this recipe. It was “just right”. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

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15 Susan Voisin April 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I’m so happy that you liked the sauce, Judy! I do have a bit of a “spice tooth” (and actually added a lot more to my bowl) so it’s good that you reduced the sriracha. :)

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16 Sam April 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Hello Susan,

I don’t have words to describe your Fat-Free Vegan Recipe site.

I have a couple of questions for you.

Q1. Where can I purchase colorful book describing all the recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,, Snacks ( Fat-Free Vegan Recipes)?
Q2. How come you didn’t like Dr. McDougall’s health approach? What is so negative about you? I am trying to follow his plan and wondering whether I will loose it or gain excee weight later on?
Thanks. Have a nice evening.
Regards,
Sam

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17 Susan Voisin April 20, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hi Sam,

Unfortunately I don’t have a book at this time, but you can print all the recipes you like right from this blog.

I’m not sure where you got the idea that I don’t like Dr. McDougall’s plan. I’ve written positively about his latest book, The Starch Solution, and posted a recipe from it. I often take photos for the McDougalls and always enjoy their recipes. I don’t think you can go wrong on a balanced plant-based diet, as long as you don’t over- or under-eat.

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18 Nancy Nurse April 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

Well, I can’t help but comment here – hope you don’t mind, Susan.

I attended Dr. McDougall’s Ten Day Live In Program and both my partner and I have had PHENOMENAL health benefits!! OMG, there is nothing like it!

I was experiencing daily angina attacks as well as heart palpitations, severe hip joint pain, knee pain from a horrible fall. For five years, I was in pain, especially at night. My cholesterol was close to 300, medium high B/P, my partner was experiencing severe gout attacks at a minimum of every 2-3wks. Within 24 hrs, my angina pain stopped and has not returned (my last attack was last June), all pains have completely gone! Even my diabetic neuropathy pains I started to experience are completely gone. (no, I wasn’t a diabetic, but started experiencing burning on the top of my feet). My cholesterol dropped 88 points in one week! B/P normal. My partners gout has never returned. We have both lost 0ver 40 pounds and our energy is soaring!

Honestly, at this point, I cannot think of one negative thing to say about it. Nothing, nada.

And just think of all of beautiful loving animals lives you saved from fear and torture. There is no need to animals, fat or dairy. We have been severely brain washed.

Susan has some wonderful recipes, fabulous website and most of her recipes, I believe, would be considered McDougall safe. Just replace the oils with veggie broth.

Thank you, Susan for allowing me to share my story! :)

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19 Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy April 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm

What a tragic week it’s been indeed. I’m with you…I’ve been glued to the news. So incredibly sad. all we can do is send prayers and love. On a lighter note, this is a beautiful salad:)

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20 Kari @ bite-sized thoughts April 20, 2013 at 12:42 am

I love these sorts of recipes and your version looks really fantastic. I also like having slightly higher fat sauces with noodles like these because it brings everything together – and the vegetable base keeps it light and fresh.

Weeks like these need recipes like these, in my view.

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21 Rachel Cotterill April 20, 2013 at 8:59 am

I’ve seen a few people around the blogosphere trying out zucchini (or as I’d call it courgette) noodles. I have to have a go at this – I’m doing the 5:2 diet so I have some days when I really need a low-calorie alternative.

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22 Susan Voisin April 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Rachel, I’m doing 4:3, which is why I created this recipe. Stay tuned–I’ll probably be posting more very low calorie recipes.

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23 VeganYinzer April 20, 2013 at 10:23 am

This really looks wonderful. I love finding new uses for raw zucchini.

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24 Karmalily April 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

I made this for lunch today, and it’s delicious! I added scallions as a garnish, and some baked tofu. It made a great, light lunch with a side salad.

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25 Rachel (teacher-chef) April 20, 2013 at 8:07 pm

LOVE IT – You are like the 3rd person today that I have seen use that spiral thingy. I added it to my wedding registry (and if we don’t get it, I think I will have to buy one for myself for all those delicious summer veggies when we get home from our honeymoon). SO COOL – I need it now

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26 Carol Schweppe April 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm

I made the zucchini noodles today & added a cup of chikpeas as well. Served it up as a light dinner. FABULOUS!!! Also made the Asparagus Omlette a couple days before but doubled it so we could both have 2 for lunch! Yummy!

Thanks for those 2 news hits for our menus. I have made the Heavenly Hashbrown Hash at least 5 times for us …ultimate comfort food. We eat the whole pan usually in one meal with a BIG salad! I’ve shared the recipe (& your website) with everyone I know. Everyone loves it, too.

Thank you for all your wonderful blogs & recipes…I’ve been a fan for over a year…got to you by way of John McDougall’s website!

Healthy in California,
Carol & Steve (2 vegan 65 yr. olds!)`

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27 Barbara April 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Thank you so much for this gorgeous recipe. I love zucchini noodles!
But I really would like to know where you buy these beautiful dishes, the noodles loom even more delicious in this beautiful bowl :)

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28 Susan Voisin April 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Thanks, Barbara! Both bowls in these photos were handmade locally. I hang out at crafts fairs and stores looking for good deals on dishes I think would photograph well. I’m glad you liked this one.

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29 Alissa - Not Just Apples April 22, 2013 at 8:21 am

I love the idea of a spiralizer, but I haven’t invested in one yet – surely with the summer months ahead, when there’s lots of homegrown courgette/zucchini to be eaten, that would be a great time to have one in my kitchen!

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30 Lori April 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm

What else do you use the sprializer for?

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31 Coffee Girl April 24, 2013 at 7:12 am

Hi!

I made this recipe yesterday and it was absolutely delicious! Too bad it didn’t look that good – I cut my zucchini with a peeler. There is absolutely no place in my tiny kitchen for another device.

I look forward to trying other recipes from your blog.

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32 Melissa April 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I have never tried zucchini ribbons to replace spaghetti before until tonight. Dee-lish-ous! I did not even miss the pasta and was completely satisfied. Thank you Susan.

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33 Sofia April 26, 2013 at 7:26 am

LOVED this recipe Susan – we just shared it on our weekly recipe round-up here: http://www.veggiefocus.com/blog/best-vegan-recipes-of-the-week-02/

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34 Susan Voisin April 26, 2013 at 8:04 am

Thanks so much, Sofia! I’m always happy when people share the right way, with a link rather than copying my recipe. I’m glad you liked it!

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35 Cesare Raphael DiAngelo April 27, 2013 at 11:45 pm

My response to senseless loss and destruction is the same as yours- create.
The irony of using a pressure cooker to kill and maim when it should be used to save and nourish must seem as a disordered inversion to you as to me. Rather than inflict more loss and destruction beyond our defense in this topsy turvy world where the public realm is secretized and the private realm invaded we must keep perspective to keep fear at bay and find the daily joy to create when and where we can. I’m off to a a 2nd experiment with rhubarb crisp the first being an unmitigated flop and turning to one of your bar recipes to help salvage the sauce.

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36 Teresa May 3, 2013 at 10:17 am

Wow, this is so yummy! It tastes better than any peanut thai sauce I’ve had. I bought the spiralizer and have to say thanks. What a clever way to substitute for pasta.

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37 debalou3 May 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

OMG…just made this!!! Any excuse to buy a new kitchen gadget and I am on it…saw this recipe and it sound yummy, and boy is it. I was amazed that the “noodles” really have the feel of real noodles. Will definitely make this again…and again. :)

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38 Denise May 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I made this for lunch and it was absolutely delicious. I add a handful of chopped cilantro, green onions, and chopped peanuts on top.

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39 Lisa May 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I make the same type of noodles but have never heard of a spiralizer. I use my citrus zester and run it with pressure down the sides of the zukes until I hit the very center with the seeds. Makes a perfect spaghetti sized “noodle.” Had some today with lightly steamed veggies topped with a raw ranch vegan rand dressing that uses cashews. FABOO!

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40 Brooke May 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Tried this tonight, but I used spaghetti squash instead of zucchini because that is what I had on hand. It was awesome! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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41 Jen May 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm

I made this for dinner tonight and my two year old cleaned his plate. :) I didn’t have any bell pepper so I grated a carrot and chopped up some green onions. At the last minute I threw some fresh cilantro on top, since I had it in the refrigerator. This was delicious!

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42 Yvonne S May 10, 2013 at 9:19 am

This looks amazing! Is it time for lunch yet?! I debated between the padermo and benriner spiralizer a few months ago and ended up with the benriner. I can’t help but notice that your noodles look so round and plump, while my benriner produces very flat noodies. It may sound ridiculous, but it makes all the difference when trying to replace the traditional noodle experience with a healthier version for a picky man-child and 2 boys. ;)

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43 Linda May 17, 2013 at 12:04 am

This sounds delicious.

I bought a spiralizer a few years back for about $15 from a local grocery store (in Florida). It’s a Joyce Chen spiralizer and works great, and the price was right, too.

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44 Karen May 21, 2013 at 9:45 am

What a fantastic recipe. I did my usual “what’s in the kitchen” modifications. I did not have bell pepper. I did add a little lime juice and chopped basil at the finish. It was fabulous. Next time I’ll make it with 4 zucchini so that we have even more to enjoy! I love previous posters’ ideas to add slivered carrots, peanuts, scallion, or chickpeas. I will have to try some of these. Thank you for another wonderful recipe that will become a regular meal at our house. Wonderful flavor in a low calorie density meal, perfect for our “lean” days, too.

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45 nancy May 21, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I used a peeler that has a wavy blade. it cost $1.50 at the Asian market (99 ranch). this was my first raw meal and it was wonderful! my 5yr. old and fast food eating husband even enjoyed it!

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46 Carol May 27, 2013 at 1:50 am

Hi Susan,
Love your recipes! especially the zucchini noodles. Can you tell me where I can purchase one of those spiral cutters that you have? and also can the zucchini noodles freeze and not turn brown? I would love to make a batch of them and immediately freeze for future use. Thank you for the advice and look forward to seeing more new healthy recipes!

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47 Susan Voisin May 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Hi Carol, the spiralizer I use is available from Amazon. Here’s a direct link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007Y9WHQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0007Y9WHQ&linkCode=as2&tag=fatfreevegank-20

As for freezing, I’m afraid zucchini totally turns to mush when frozen. These noodles are best when used right away. Wish I had better news for you!

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48 Nicole @InfiniteLittlePleasures June 5, 2013 at 3:19 am
49 Tanya June 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

Had this for lunch today…fabulous! I warmed in the the microwave for 30 sec just because and I think I loved it even more. Thank you for all you do!

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50 MaryBeth Smith June 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

WOW, this looks fantastic. I am going to have to get a spiralizer — I can tell that will be my new favorite kitchen toy. I have an absolutely HUGE zucchini in the vegetable crisper that I have been delaying dealing with — problem solved! Thanks for another great recipe.

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51 MaryBeth Smith June 11, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Update: after looking a bit more online, I found another alternative to the spiralizer: a julienne peeler. It sort of looks like a razor — so “shave” down the length of the zucchini (away from your fingers!) and you get all of these lovely “noodles.” I purchased mine at Bed Bath and Beyond, but there are several listed online for under $10. (I paid about 14 for a set of two. The other peeler looks like it would be good for making all kinds of thin chips.
This recipe is sensational. I use seasoned rice vinegar for everything, and I probably used a bit more fresh ginger and garlic, because I love the strong, hot flavors. Company good!

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52 Evan June 13, 2013 at 12:03 am

Can someone please explain to me the texture of the zucchini noodles? On nearly every blog and youtube video advocating zucchini pasta, they completely forget to explain how they feel and taste, as compared to regular noodles. Are they al dente? Are they chewy? Are they wiggly? Please someone compare and contrast the zucchini noodle with the regular noodle, because I’m definitely considering getting one IF they aren’t just some miserable healthyfood that is a sad substitute for delicious, bouncy, meaty wheat pasta.

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53 Susan Voisin June 13, 2013 at 7:43 am

Evan, the best way to describe zucchini noodles is to say that they taste like raw zucchini. If you’re curious, take a zucchini and cut it into matchsticks and taste. They’re slightly crisp, not chewy, and not much like wheat pasta, except in shape. That’s because they’re made from zucchini. ;)

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54 Kayla Benavides June 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm

This recipe is amazing! I used green pepper since I did not have red, and added some chopped up purple cabbage. It was soo delicious!!!

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55 Jessica July 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Just made this for dinner! It was delicious and so light! I could eat this every day! I used my mandolin slicer for the zucchini pasta..this was my first time using zucchini like that and it was so easy and good! Thanks!

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56 Zann July 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I just got my spiralizer from Amazon.com, and can’t wait to try it out on this recipe. I was wondering if I could substitute tahini for the peanut butter and sesame oil–maybe kill two ingredients with the one that I actually have on hand! :) Thanks!!

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57 Susan Voisin July 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Sure! It’ll taste different, but still good. Hope you enjoy it and your spiralizer!

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58 Adrienne July 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Hi Susan,

I’ve been reading your blog for years as a long time vegan, but this is the first time commenting! I just had to after seeing your comment about the unavoidable high fat content of peanuts – while I do not personally stray from fats, I did accidentally pick up powdered peanut butter (by Just Great Stuff) for a backpacking trip, not realizing that it was ideally light in weight because they took all the calories (the fat) out of it that hikers need so badly. Dismayed, I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it and read that some people use it in peanut sauces and for lower calorie peanut spreads and apparently the lack of fat isn’t very noticeable. I think its about 45 calories per 2 tablespoon serving and I think you just mix it with water. Have you tried it before? If it works, I wouldn’t mind making all the peanut sauce in the world with it.

Thanks for the great website!
-Adrienne

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59 Jodie July 19, 2013 at 8:18 am

Adrienne-

I made this recipe using PB2 and thought it was great. Give it a try!

Jodie

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60 Nicole July 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Ok just got my spiralizer and made this! Yum Yum Yum. I didn’t use the oil instead I used sesame seeds cause that is what I had on hand.

I’ve been following you for a year now and finally am writing to you but you have made my lifestyle change wonderful.

Thanks so much,
Nicole

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61 Karyn August 5, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Hi! Just found this recipe on Pinterest, and it sounds great! I read through all the comments and one answer touched on this maybe not being so perfect leftover? I would like to make it in the morning to take for my lunch, would the sauce still be ok or should I make it alone and throw it on top of the “noodles” when I am ready to eat? Thx!! :)

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62 Susan Voisin August 5, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I think it would be great for lunch. I like to give it a little time for the flavors to develop but not so long that the zucchini gives off too much water. Making it in the morning for lunch sounds like a good amount of time.

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63 Allison August 12, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Legit recipe. Aspiring to be domesticated– was kind of lazy to use measurements after a long day at work and just eyeballed. Flavors mesh well and turned out great! It looks and tastes like I know what I’m doing!

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64 Gabriela August 28, 2013 at 6:33 am

This is so good! I just made it for lunch today. I got similiar recipe from my friend, so I mixed yours and hers together :) , I replaced the vinegar with lemon juice, skipped the chilli, used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic and added fresh parsley.

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65 Vienna November 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm

This was delicious! Any excuse to whip out my spiralizer, and this recipe is definitely worth it. It was as if the zucchini soaked up the peanut sauce, like a marinate, as opposed to the thick peanut sauce I have experienced coating noodle dishes. I love those too, but this was just as good and guilt-free. Will make again.

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66 Jennifer April 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Oh my deliciousness!!! My poor husband was late coming home from work today and we ate it almost all gone before he got home! Seriously, he got about three bites. But how can you say no when your kids ask for seconds of ZUCCHINI! My five year old asked for “more of this stuff” and my three year old said “I like these noodles!” This is our first week to be vegetarians so these are all new foods to us. Thank you for a successful and satisfying dinner!

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