Zucchini Coconut Noodles

zucchini lemongrass coconut noodles // loveandlemons.com zucchini lemongrass coconut noodles // loveandlemons.com
This is my perfect cooking scenario: I walk into the farmers market with an open mind and no preconceived recipe idea. I take a quick scan and an idea instantly pops into my mind. I grab zucchini, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, these gorgeous amaranth greens, and we head home. (Ok, we stop at the doughnut stand, and then head home).

Later that night, I start chopping, mincing and simmering. Jack works on the computer upstairs and instead of being mad that he’s working yet another weekend, I go to my zen place of carefully balancing flavors over the stove. Lemongrass, coconut and lime zest perfume the kitchen. He comes down, we pour wine. I continue simmering and we taste… it’s nearly perfect. Maybe a pinch of salt. I layer in diced tomatoes, barely wilted amaranth greens, herbs, and pour it over my zucchini noodles. Everything comes together exactly how I had envisioned and then it even sits well for the camera. Click, click, click, and then we lovingly sit down and enjoy sunday dinner.

I promise, this never happens. At least not from start to finish.

But it’s the times like this that keep me going… they reset the score and make me forget about the recipes that have been labored over, the food that wilted before the camera, the dishes that piled up in the sink. And of course the snarky comments that Jack and I have exchanged throughout this process. It’s moments like this that remind me to think less, intuit more, have more patience, and to be more open. Good things happen when you’re open to them happening. A Love & Lemons life lesson and a recipe…

zucchini lemongrass coconut noodles // loveandlemons.com

zucchini coconut noodles

Serves: serves 2
for the coconut broth:
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 approx. 4-inch piece of lemongrass
  • splash of fish sauce (or tamari)
  • juice of 1 juicy lime & some zest
  • pinch of coconut sugar
  • salt & pepper
everything else:
  • 1 bunch aramanth greens (or spinach)
  • 2 roma tomatos, diced
  • 3 zucchinis, sliced thin (ideally with a julienne peeler), or rice noodles
  • small handful of basil leaves
  • small handful of cilantro leaves
  • crushed, toasted peanuts
  • chile-garlic sauce, or sriracha
  • tofu or other cooked protein (optional)
  1. Heat coconut oil over low heat. Add most of the scallions, grated ginger and the lemongrass piece (whole, you'll remove it later). Add the coconut milk and fish sauce and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, while you prep everything else. (about 20 mins). Add lime juice and a pinch of sugar. Taste and adjust. If it becomes too thick as it reduces, add a few tablespoons of water.
  2. Dice & deseed your tomatoes and add those to the pan.
  3. Prep zucchini noodles and set those aside.
  4. Chop amaranth leaves and add those to the pan. Stir them in until just wilted.
  5. Add basil and stir until wilted.
  6. Turn heat off, remove the lemongrass piece, add zucchini noodles and serve into bowls immediately (you don't want the zucchini noodles to cook).
  7. Top bowls with cilantro, crushed peanuts, and serve with chili-garlic sauce.

sidenote: even if you’re not a gadgety person, I highly recommend getting a julienne peeler. I’ve all but quit using my vegetable spiraler because it’s a huge contraption to drag out. You can get a julienne peeler for as cheap as $9, and it takes up no space in your drawer.


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  1. Jess from cooksmarts.com

    Alright Jeanine, you’ve convinced me to try zucchini noodles! I’ve been struggling with finding better non-starch alternatives for our paleo meal plan members, and I think this is going to be great. Can’t wait to try!

    • jeanine

      🙂 I just love them!

  2. I’m glad I’m not the one doing the snarky comments thing. My roommate and I used to make jokes like, “Another quick and easy weeknight meal” (after working on something for upwards of two hours) or, “If it’s easy, why bother?” And now I live and cook with my sister, and we make the same jokes. They ARE jokes, but when we’re exhausted from the chopping and blending and sautéing and everything else that goes into making a vegetarian meal and maybe not even loving the results THAT much, there’s definitely an undercurrent of bitterness. I’m clearly the common denominator, so I was wondering if something’s just wrong with me…but maybe it just goes with the territory of cooking (or undertaking anything else) seriously. Anyway, I’m glad you had an easy, breezy time with this one, and the results still look fantastic.

  3. Lynn from sacatomato.com

    I am so making this dish!!! You’re story pulled me in, wonderful description that I can relate too. Merci 😉

  4. Your pictures, recipes and work is very inspirational for many. Fantastic life lesson and recipe 🙂

  5. This looks and sounds perfect! I must get a julienne peeler! Thanks for the tip, and the delicious recipes.

    • jeanine

      I think a julienne peeler is such a must! So cheap and also easy to store… so many uses 🙂

  6. OK this is my kind of meal. I seriously wish I had everything to make this right now. What a great recipe!

  7. These look AMAZING! I cannot wait to try out this recipe. I just found amaranth greens at our local farmers market and had no clue what to do with them. Now I have a plan:)

    • jeanine

      Thanks! I’d never used them either but they were so pretty I just had to get them. They really just wilt down like spinach, with a more mild flavor. I think they could go into so many things…

  8. Ashley from edibleperspective.com

    Wow. This meal is A+. Love your words in this post, too. 🙂

    • jeanine

      thank you, xo 🙂

  9. Emma from coconutandberries.com

    It’s reassuring that things don’t always turn out perfectly for you either! It’s easy when you see these beautiful pictures and recipes to think that it’s as easy as 1,2,3 for some bloggers.
    Love the look of this- am overwhelmed by courgette right now in the garden and wanted an alternative to pesto courgette noodles and courgette pad thai (not that I don’t love them, but new is good)
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • jeanine

      ha, yep, not perfect. Far from it 🙂

  10. Tieghan from halfbakedharvest.com

    My kind of meal! Coconut zucchini noodles? YUM!

  11. Laura from thefirstmess.com

    Never would have guessed that you guys have your little blips and remarks on the blogging/creativity front. Your work is always so polished! It’s true that you have to think of all things well + good to make them real though. And I want these noodles. In muh face. Perfect, Jeanine 🙂

    • jeanine

      ha, thanks Laura :). It’s something that’s hard for me to communicate, my graphic designer-ish tendency is to make things pretty not show the disasters that often happen behind the scenes. But the process has been a lesson in “teamwork” that’s for sure…

  12. You make healthy food look so incredibly beautiful! I would never think to pair zucchini with coconut milk. I also never knew a julienne peeler existed! I’m definitely going to get one!

    • jeanine

      yes, you need one!

  13. Elliott from fforfood.com

    My word. This sounds all too, too familiar – from the snarky comments to the wilty food at the mercy of the camera lens to the rare kismet moments, when it all comes together.
    Nice one!

  14. this looks and sounds so perfect! I recently (I know, VERY late to the party) got a julienne peeler and I can’t stop. Anything and everything must be shredded. Always a fan of these flavors too, can’t wait to try it.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.