Penny Pincher Meals – Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini is not the cheapest vegetable but this dish includes so few ingredients that it doesn’t really matter. I began making this after I found a spiralizer at Kroger for only $4.50. It’s so easy (total prep and cooking time is less than ten minutes) and cheap, that it’s now a staple meal for me. While I usually eat this alone, I could see myself adding some garlic bread. Perhaps some of that heavily reduced french bread found at Walmart or Jimmy John’s in the evenings with a bit of butter and garlic…

Item NameWeight/UnitTotal CostServingsServing CostRecipe CostSource
Zucchini2lbs (3 medium fruits)$2.092$1.045$1.045Aldi
Tofu – Soft14oz/396g$1.495$0.298$0.298Kroger
Mushroom/Onion Pasta Sauce24oz$1.495$0.298$0.298Kroger

The “cooking” for this is so simple I almost don’t need to include it…

  1. I begin by peeling and spiralizing one and a half zucchini. Alternatively, if the skin is in pretty good condition, sometimes I just clean it really, really well before spiralizing.
  2. Spiralizing the zucchini will result in the fruit being cored. I set the core aside and save it to add to the sauce.
  3. I put a medium (5) quart pot on the stove and heat the pasta sauce.
  4. I shred the unfrozen soft tofu and add it to the pasta sauce. I also add the cored zucchini that was leftover from the first step.
  5. Once the sauce is hot I add the sprialized zucchini. I mix this until the zucchini is fully covered by the sauce and warm. Note: The goal is not to “cook” the zucchini but to warm it up. If you cook it too long, too much water will release and you will get mushy noodles instead of the firm al dente style noodles you want.
  6. I add to a bowl and that’s it! You can add garlic powder or Parmesan cheese to garnish.

    Cheap, lite, healthy, and delicious.

But, but, Afro Penny, wouldn’t regular pasta be cheaper? Sure. Pasta, like other starch staples, can be found dirt cheap in most places. However, whenever I can easily incorporate more vegetables into my diet, I try to take advantage.

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