Raw Zucchini Marinara

by Gena on April 21, 2009

I’ve like to think of recipes as templates, not prescriptions. My favorite recipes are the ones that require minimal time, minimal ingredients, and can be adapted in a maximum number of ways. For me, versatility matters more than shock and awe.

Remember my zucchini alfredo? Well, zucchini pasta is every bit as quick and versatile as regular pasta. Here’s a variation that I guarantee you’ll all love: zucchini pasta with sweet pepper marinara. I was shocked at the authenticity of this dish: it tastes like the best marinara sauce you’ve ever had, only without the hours bubbling on the stove! I got the basic recipe from Wendi’s lovely site, Pure Jeevan, and I made a few modifications. Here’s it is:

Zucchini Pasta with Sweet Pepper Marinara (adapted from Pure Jeevan)

(Serves two)

1 very large red or yellow bell pepper, deseeded
¾ cup cherry or roma tomatoes
¼ cup sundried tomatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Generous sprinkle dried thyme
Generous sprinkle dried oregano
¼ cup basil
2 pitted dates

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till thick and smooth. Serve over spiralized or thinly sliced zucchini, and enjoy!

Another great thing about this sauce? It’s neutral, so it can combine with any food. You can serve the pasta with raw nut-meatballs (like these), chunks of avocado (which is how I prepared my bowl), or any other mix-ins. Here’s a close up of the thick sauce:

close-up

And a bird’s eye view of dinner:

dinner-shot

I hope I’ve managed to inspire you all to try out vegetable pasta. Use zucchini, carrots, or beets as your base, and any sauce you love. And let me know what you create!

In other news, my very dear friend Nelly sent me a link to this article today. I don’t always love Tara Parker-Pope’s column, but I did love this piece, which discusses the tremendous significance of friendships in maintaining good health. (I also thought it was apropos, given my quitiversary post, that this research ranks friendship on par with smoking as a determiner of heart attacks.)

I’m blessed to have many deep and enduring friendships in my life. Some, like Nelly, are women I’ve known since Kindergarten, who have watched me grow up; some are professional acquaintances who have become dear friends; some are people I’ve met through my interest in health. They all enrich my life more than I can say. This article serves as a very good reminder that health isn’t simply a reflection of what we do and don’t put in our bodies. Social bonds, psychological states, and emotional stability have a direct impact on our bodily well-being. So it isn’t a platitude to say that health is spiritual, as well as physical.

The food and health blogging community is all about nutrition, of course–and that’s great. But let’s all remember to celebrate the components of “health” that go beyond the purview of our kitchens and workout regimens. Next time you feel tempted to skip a lunchtime workout in order to catch up with a good friend, or tempted to celebrate a social occasion with an uncharacteristically rich meal, don’t berate yourself: your instincts may be every bit as “healthy” as your typically conscientious habits. Friends make us healthier in mind, heart, and body.

Have a great night, everyone! xo

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

VeggieGirl April 21, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Scrrrrumptious “pasta” recipe!!

Amen for life-enriching friendships.

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LK- Healthy Delcious April 21, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a few days and its really amazing! I’m very inspired by the raw movement, even though I’m nowhere near ready to take the plunge myself. I might try incorporating more raw food into my diet if anything.

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 7:42 am

LK,

Thanks for saying hi!! I am so glad you like the blog and cannot wait to read yours, too.

Gena

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Elese April 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Hi Gena,

I am so excited to find a raw food blog written by someone around my age who posts on a regular basis! The recipe you put up looks delicious. I have made a basil pesto sauce with zucchini, but I will have to give this one a try. I also really liked your info on iodine…very helpful to me personally….and your post about leading a busy life but maintaining a raw diet. I even found the office fridge tips helpful!

Thanks and keep up the great posts. I’ll be reading!

-Elese

PS I would be interested in how you think yoga fits in with your raw foods diet. I am trying to incorporate more of that into my routine… if you have already posted on this, point me in the right direction :)

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 7:44 am

Hey Elese!

Your comment makes my morning! Thanks so much. I’ve been working hard and I’m so happy that readers are liking my posts.

Raw foods REALLY helped me deepen my yoga. To be honest, eating raw gave me more focus and commitment to yoga than an eight day yoga retreat did. I haven’t posted on this yet, but now I have inspiration for a great post soon: thank you!!

Gena

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Hangry Pants April 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I love your message about friendship!

As much as I would love to make zucchini pasta again, I feel like I need something better to make the “noodles” with.

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 7:44 am

I hear ya! We’ll have to get you a spiralizer.

You could always do the spaghetti squash, cooked, too!

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Lauren April 22, 2009 at 5:05 am

I mixed zucchini “fettuccine” with pasta the other night. I tossed it into the boiling water with the pasta, so it obviously wasn’t raw – but it sure was tasty. I’ll have to try it your way!

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 7:44 am

That’s a great “raw-ish” tip, Lauren! Thanks for sharing it!

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Little Black Dress April 22, 2009 at 5:26 am

OMG that looks so incredibly delicious. I am def. going to get on the zucchini pasta bandwagon asap.

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 7:45 am

So happy you like, Anna!

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Hope April 22, 2009 at 5:38 am

Hi Gena – I love your site – it is the first one I read every morning now, and I love this recipe and the post in general. Thanks very much.

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 7:46 am

Hope, that brings SUCH a smile to my face! Thank you so very much!!! Keep reading!

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Hope April 23, 2009 at 5:08 am

Hi again – I just thought I would also mention that both I (who live in Maine), and my little sister (who happens to live in NYC) have started eating raw since we discovered your site. We were both already vegan. It has only been about 5 days now, but we both feel amazing and LOVE the food. (We have also been trying out some of Ani Phyo’s recipes.) Last night we both made this Zuchetti recipe and both could not stop talking about it on the phone this morning. It was incredible! Thank you so much!

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Jenna April 22, 2009 at 5:59 am

Gena,
this recipe looks amazing. Thank you.

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 7:46 am

Anytime! More to come! :)

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leatitia April 22, 2009 at 6:30 am

This looks so good, I’m print this out right now! :)

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orlie April 22, 2009 at 6:55 am

i’m going to try this sometime this week! it looks really amazing. thanks!

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Melissa (fitnessnyc) April 22, 2009 at 7:41 am

that looks amazing!

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 7:47 am

Thank you, everyone!! I am so glad the recipe looks as good as it tasted: it was truly one of the better dinners I’ve had in a while :)

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Melomeals: Vegan For $3.33 a Day April 22, 2009 at 7:54 am

I adore veggie pastas..

I had a wicked delicious raw daikon/zucchini/carrot pasta yesterday with a yummy thai sauce. (I’m going to blog about it later today)..

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jen April 22, 2009 at 10:26 am

hi gena,
i am loving your blog so far! it’s really inspiring!
i can’t afford to buy a spirulizer right now, do you have any suggestions for improvisation? thanks!

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 11:09 am

Hey Jen!

I love that you love it! Please keep reading :)

I would just use a regular carrot peeler, and slowly and surely peel away thin strips! I’ve done this before and it works. You can also use a mandolin, if you have one?

Gena

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Amber April 22, 2009 at 10:28 am

Love the blog, what sprilizer do you have? thanks

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Gena April 22, 2009 at 11:09 am
Amber April 22, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Thanks Gena! I was looking at that last week but the reviews weren’t great, but seeing your noodles sealed the deal, I just purchased.

I ate raw last summer and had a hard time sticking to it over the winter but this week I started back up. Love what I have read so far. In the future I would love to hear about any beauty/products products you use. =)

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Gena April 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Cool! I will definitely be doing a post on that :)

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Shelby April 22, 2009 at 11:35 am

I’ve made a dish like this before and it turned out amazing. I love raw noodles =)

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Bianca- Vegan Crunk April 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I wish I had a spiral slicer to make prettier zucchini noodles. Mine always look more like fettucine since I have to use my vegetable peeler. The marinara sounds simple and delicious.

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Rebecca April 22, 2009 at 1:33 pm

The sweet pepper marinara sauce looks delicious. What a pretty meal! The avocadoes look yummy too. :)

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Rose-Anne April 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm

As much as I love to cook with heat, it’s an incredibly appealing idea to have more recipes that don’t require much more than some knife work or a few minutes in the blender. Your sweet pepper marinara sounds great. I’m not much of a sauce-maker, but yours I think I could handle!

Although I think I eat pretty well, your site is inspiring me to renew my commitment to eating more fresh produce. This winter really took its toll on me, and I’m feeling so exuberant about spring that I want to make myself feel fresh on the inside and the outside. Zucchini pasta? Yes please! More salads? Yes please! Super-expensive fresh organic strawberries? Yes please!

(Note to self: Must look into buying spiralizer) ;-)

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Jess April 22, 2009 at 2:13 pm

That looks really good, but is it cold? I can’t imagine cold marinara sauce.

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Gena April 23, 2009 at 10:31 am

Actually, Jess, the Vitamix warms it up gently :)

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Kath April 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm

That sauce looks killer!!

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Gena April 23, 2009 at 10:31 am

It was, K! SO good, so quick :)

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Megan April 23, 2009 at 7:40 am

Hi Gena,

I saw my sister Hope already told you how much we both LOVED this recipe. It was incredibly good! Thanks so much for your blog, we are both really enjoying it! Meg

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Gena April 23, 2009 at 10:31 am

YAY!!! I am so happy, Megan! Keep reading!

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Emily April 25, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Hi Gena!
I made zucchini pasta this week just gone by. I hand cut it with my lovely new chef’s knife (making it thin enough and with my not especially efficient knife skills this took near on 30 mins!) then I topped it with a thicker version of how I would usually make my tomato soup, and I topped it with some goats cheese. It was utterly divine! I am definitely a convert – as is Andy who repeatedly told me how much he was enjoying it :)
The article you reference reminded me of reading about how it’s not just the food eaten in the Mediterranean but also the lifestyle they lead there.
I hope you’re enjoying your weekend,
Emily.

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Gena April 26, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Hey darlin!

Just saw this. I am SO HAPPY that you loved the recipe! Zucchini pasta will seriously change your life :)

And it’s so true about the lifestyle. In my own family I’ve seen only the very heavy brand of Greek food, but there is no denying that the sense of joy, pleasure, and the pace of life is so much healthier than the mainstream American paradigm.

Happy Sunday, Ems.

xo

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Katie January 3, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Hi Gena, Just wanted to say that I made this sauce a few weeks ago, and finally posted a photo on my blog. I linked back to this page, not that everyone in the blog world hasn’t already tried this awesome sauce!

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handbags June 10, 2010 at 4:35 am

That sauce looks killer!

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DeepBlue June 10, 2010 at 4:37 am

That looks really good, but is it cold? I can’t imagine cold marinara sauce.

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Andrea August 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Oh, the avocado chunks are a great idea, I have to try that next time.
I usually make a simplified version with tomatoes, a bit of garlic, salt, lemon, basil and a dash of cayenne for some extra heat;)

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Mandy October 30, 2010 at 10:49 am

This recipe is very similar to Jennifer Cornbleet’s. Here she is preparing almost the same thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLi5657CSos

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Darlene June 29, 2012 at 10:18 am

I love you already. I have tried a recipe like this one before and found the something watery. Didn’t quite know if it was the zucchini or sauce.

I love the way you refer to the thickness of the sauce. I am going to make this this weekend. I love raw foods and I love recipes that dont have alot of ingredients.

God bless you and thank you so much!

Darlene

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John Markh September 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I have tried the recipe (minus sundried tomatoes) and found it to be watery as well. Have you managed to overcome it?

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Ashley September 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I’m not even a vegetarian and I want to try and make this

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Hazel September 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm

This is THE BEST! Oh my gosh, really! So simple and sooooooooooo tasty. It made my zucchini hating husband steal my bowl of raw zucchini noodles and I think it is all thanks to the sauce :) Thank you so much for posting! Can’t wait to make it again.

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Gena September 2, 2013 at 6:42 am

Thanks, Hazel!

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Dianna Fancy September 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm

I made zucchini noodles like this with homemade marinara last Friday and took it to lunch at the elementary school where I teach. My students begged for it, and when I gave them a taste, one of the little girls in my class replied, “If this is what healthy food tastes like, I might be a convert. Can you tell my mom how to make noodles like this?” I was so shocked I actually teared up for a moment.

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Gena September 2, 2013 at 6:40 am

Amazing!

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