Zucchini is pretty much everywhere during these days of summer. It really is a versatile veggie with so many mealtime possibilities, and I absolutely love turning zucchini into “pasta.” It’s easy to do and it gives you a fresh take on traditional pasta, not to mention another way to serve zucchini.
You can use a julienne peeler to turn your zucchini into pasta. I found that my peeler didn’t produce long strands of “pasta” and it was a little clunky. I recently bought a hand-held peeler (no room in my cupboards for a big peeler), and it couldn’t be easier to use. My GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer easily turns zucchini into noodle-like strands in minutes, with no fuss. This is the perfect tool if you like to turn veggies into noodles for dishes like Zucchini Pasta with Fava Beans and Harissa Sauce, and you want something small enough to store easily.
So these fava beans you’ve heard so much about (you know…to serve with the Chianti?). What are they and how do you prep them? Well, fava beans are super-hearty, and come packaged in big, green pods. They can be served any number of ways, but when you buy them, make sure to get about a pound per serving.
Their pods are big and thick, but they only hold 3-4 beans each. Shell them (break off the tip and open up the pods), then submerge them in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Next add them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, then peel off the waxy outer cover. After that, the world is your oyster, so to speak.
If you’ve never had or made harissa, I highly recommend it. Harissa is a paste (or condiment, really) made using chilies, herbs, and spices, and is prevalent in North African cuisine. I made some for a recipe for work recently, and since it was so easy to make, I tossed together another, slightly different batch for this dish. Its spicy goodness goes well in so many dishes. For example, you can add it to eggs, casseroles, stews, or use it as a rub or paste for meats.
My idea was to add the harissa to some marinara sauce and toss it with the zucchini and fava beans. The added sauce was perfect over the cool zucchini “noodles” and hearty beans.
Enjoy this summer dish of Zucchini Pasta with Fava Beans and Harissa Sauce with a glass of… well, you know.
Recipe for Zucchini Pasta with Fava Beans and Harissa Sauce
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- 2 large zucchinis, washed and ends removed
- 2 pounds fava beans, removed from pods
- 3 dried chile peppers, stems and seeds removed, rehydrated
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 4 fresh basil leaves
- 2 green onion, ends removed, cut into pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce
- Optional: grated Parmesan cheese as garnish (or use your favorite vegan cheese)
- Use a spiral cutter or julienne peeler to make “pasta” strands from the zucchini. Set aside.
- Remove the fava beans from their pods. Add the beans to a skillet of salted, boiling water for about 30 seconds, drain them, then submerge them in a bowl of ice water until cool.
- Remove the waxy cover from the beans, and set them aside.
- Boil about 3 cups of water, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the dried chile peppers to the pan. Make sure the peppers are submerged in the water. The peppers should remain in the water for about 20 minutes, then you can drain them.
- Toast the coriander, caraway, and cumin seeds in a pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, tossing occasionally. Grind the seeds into a powder.
- Transfer the chile peppers to a food processor. Add in the chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, the oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, basil, green onion, and seasonings.
- Pulse until smooth.
- Add the marinara sauce, and 2 tablespoons of the harissa paste to a serving bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add in the zucchini pasta and the fava beans, and toss to mix.
- Serve on individual plates.
- Garnish with fresh black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese, if you’d like.