RECIPE: No-cook zoodles with grilled shrimp

Credit: Virginia Willis

Credit: Virginia Willis

Zucchini noodles, aka zoodles, can be your summer BFF.

Zoodles are long, thin spiralized strips of raw zucchini that are sometimes used in place of pasta. I was ambivalent regarding zoodles until a refreshing salad awakened me to the possibilities. This recipe was inspired by a raw salad comprised of zoodles and corn in a creamy homemade herb dressing from the new cookbook “Zucchini Love: 43 Garden-Fresh Recipes for Salads, Soups, Breads, Lasagnas, Stir-Fries and More,” by Cynthia Graubart (Storey Publishing, $14.99). I liked it so much, I now have a brand new spiralizer attachment for my stand mixer. If you want to make a less costly investment, there are many other spiralizer tools available, including hand-held and hand-crank.

Zoodles are watery — zucchini is 94% water — and often break when cooked. However, raw zoodles shine in a salad or as a room-temperature element in a dish. In the summer heat, it’s nice to have dishes that need little or no cooking. When raw, the same sponginess that causes zoodles to fall apart works to an advantage to soak up the dressing.

Store-bought yogurt-based ranch dressing, available in both the produce department and the salad dressing aisle, is a great condiment for your summer pantry. It’s light, flavorful and great with summer vegetables like these zoodles. For a savory burst of color and flavor, add grape tomatoes and an aggressive amount of whole basil leaves for big, bold, herby flavor. You could also add raw or cooked corn kernels cut off the cob if you want to stretch this main course summer salad to 6 ingredients.

Simply assemble the salad base and place the hot grilled shrimp on the zoodles. The heat will ever-so-slightly wilt the zoodles and tomatoes. Prepare for the zesty aroma of basil, too. This is summer on a plate.

Ranch Zoodles with Grilled Shrimp

No outdoor grill? No problem. The shrimp can be cooked on a stovetop using a grill pan. Turn the heat under the grill pan to medium high and let the pan heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until a drop of water evaporates immediately on contact, then add the shrimp. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.

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