Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Zucchini-wrapped Spinach and Carrots with Parmesan Asparagus Spears

I apologize for no picture--Chelsea's not here to help me!  Ha!  I do have a picture, and I'll try to add it later tonight!

This is for Emily, who had several guidelines for us.  She wanted to know if we could come up with dishes that were low in fat and carbs, more vegetables than meat, didn't include a lot of processed soy products, would appeal to her son who "lives on carbs," and also would appeal to her 2-year-old son!  Last, but not least, both sons are becoming pickier eaters.  A CHALLENGE!

My three adult daughters were each 2 at one time!  Ha!  One loved pasta, one loved granola, and one loved broccoli and mushrooms!  And whatever ONE loved, the other two hated!  So, I spent some time thinking about this stuff.  On days when I was fried, we ate cheese or pepperoni pizza, which they all seemed to think was okay.  We ate a lot of pizza in some phases of life!  Ha!

I was a meat-eater then, but I remember some of the criteria:  color, fun, simple tastes.  Interestingly, I found this easier to accomplish with vegetables!

Baby carrots that number the same as the zucchini slices--next item!  (I'm assuming the carrots are the fatter version, like Costco's or a grocery store's.  If you're using thinner ones, like the ones from Trader Joe's in the snack-sized bags, 2 or 3 per zucchini slice would be better.)
2 medium zucchinis, sliced with a potato peeler into about 30-35 slices  (It has to be thin enough to roll!)
Garlic salt
Onion powder
1 bunch spinach, rinsed and stems removed (or 1 bag of baby spinach, with plans to use the rest for salad--which is what I did!)
30-35 toothpicks
1 can vegetable broth
Veggie Dressing (See below, or look at March 24's post!)
1 lb. asparagus spears
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Pasta for Simon!  (Maybe tossed in a little oil and garlic salt?)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Steam, or microwave (about 2-4 minutes--depends on thickness), the carrots until they're crisp/tender.  Set aside.

Lay zucchini slices on a cutting board.  Sprinkle with a little of each:  garlic salt, pepper, and onion powder.  (If my own kids saw onion pieces or bits, they wouldn't eat this!  So, I used powder, which became "invisible" but imparted the taste, so Steve and I could eat it, too!)  Top with a few spinach leaves, just enough to cover the zucchini slice.  Place the carrot at one end, and roll the zucchini slice with the spinach leaves around the carrot.  Secure with a toothpick, and set it in a pre-sprayed 7 x 12 baking dish.  Continue until all the zucchini slices with spinach leaves and carrots have been wrapped.  (This sounds like a horrific time-consumer, but it was surprisingly fast!)

Pour the broth around the edges of the baking dish.  (I used a smaller baking dish, because I wanted the rolls touching, so they wouldn't dry out in the oven.)  Do not cover!  (If you cover it, the rolls will fall apart when you remove the toothpicks!  This way, they dry a bit and stick together better.)  Set aside, and fix the asparagus. 


Wash and break ends off asparagus spears.  In a plastic bag or container that seals tightly, put asparagus spears, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Lay asparagus spears in a baking dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Do not cover!

Put both dishes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Heat water and boil pasta.  To serve:  remove the toothpicks, and put the rolls and a few asparagus spears on a plate.  Drizzle a little Veggie Dressing over the top of the rolls.  Add a spoonful of pasta (or rice or?).  Enjoy!

NOTE:  This is something you can make in bits during the day.  For example, the zucchinis can be quickly sliced while you're waiting for toast to pop up, and then tossed into a bag and into the refrigerator.  The carrots can be zapped any time.  Same for tossing the asparagus.

Also, I added wild rice pilaf (as the picture shows), because I was experimenting with a recipe.

Veggie Dressing:

3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
2 Tbs. water
1 cup olive, or vegetable, oil

Put everything but the oil into a container that pours--I use a squeeze bottle that used to contain honey.  Shake to dissolve powders and salt.  Add oil, shake, and pour--or squeeze!

I keep this on hand in my refrigerator door.  My whole family LOVES this stuff!  Even my brother and father will eat vegetables with this!  If you decide to double the recipe, as in the March 24th entry, DON'T double the herbs and spices!  Just double the oil!


  1. Wait, why wouldn't you double the herbs and spices, too? Too overpowering?

  2. Wow. Thank you so much! I can't wait to try this!!

  3. Marste--yep! You guessed it! On the other hand, the upside to doubling the herbs/spices is that you don't need as much dressing for flavor!

    Just be aware of what you're doubling! For instance, doubling the salt will make it taste REALLY salty! Doubling the garlic will make it taste sour! And doubing the thyme will give it a "dry weeds" consistency, if you use dried thyme, which I do!

    Feel free to experiment, though; I'm always up for any improvements to stuff a already love! And thanks in advance! Ha!


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