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Zucchini Spaghetti with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Basil

written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.

Adapted from epicurious:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/zucchini-noodles-with-eggplant-and-tomatoes

This summery play on ratatouille includes a bright mix of zucchini and summer squash turned into "noodles" along with quick pan-seared cherry tomatoes and eggplant.

The lemon dressing for this really brightens up the 'vegetti'. Alternatively, a red sauce of your preference would probably do well, and save you time. When we see Rao's sauces on sale, we buy them for a quick meal. They are made with natural ingredients and are lower in salt and sugar than most of the alternatives.

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium zucchini (about 1 1/4 pounds), spiralized or cut into matchsticks
2 medium yellow squash (about 1 1/4 pounds), spiralized or cut into matchsticks
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

Dressing:
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (packed) basil leaves, chopped, divided

For the skillet:
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 large long Chinese eggplants (about 3/4 pound), cut into 1/4" slices on the bias
2 cups cherry tomatoes, divided

1/4 cup pitted cured black olives, halved, divided (optional)
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced

Directions:

1) Place zucchini and squash in a strainer set over a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. salt and toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes, then shake in strainer, pressing gently, to remove any excess liquid.

2) Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, honey, pepper, 1/2 cup basil, 3 Tbsp. oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl.

3)Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic until it begins to sizzle and turn golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with dressing.

4) Increase heat to medium-high, add eggplant and 1 cup tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is browned and cooked through and tomatoes begin to burst, about 6–8 minutes. Season with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and transfer to bowl with dressing.

5) Cut remaining 1 cup tomatoes in half lengthwise and add to bowl with dressing. Add zucchini and squash; gently toss to combine. I prefer to throw the zucchini and squash into the pan that is still warm, without the heat on, just to dry it a bit more.

6) Add 3 Tbsp. olives and 2 Tbsp. basil, then transfer with tongs to a platter, letting extra liquid drain and remain in bowl. Lay mozzarella on 1 end of platter and drizzle with oil. Top dish with remaining 2 Tbsp. basil and 1 Tbsp. olives.

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