Supergrain recipe: Zucchini Fra Diavolo with Quinoa Spaghetti

Fra diavolo means “Brother Devil” in Italian, and this mouth-wateringly spicy Italian-American sauce lives up to the name.

This take on traditional fra diavolo (it’s usually served with seafood or just pasta) is low calorie, filling, and packed with stuff that’s good for you. It’s also vegetarian, for those who aren’t into meat or fish. Plus, the pasta is gluten-free. And it’s easy to make with pretty cheap ingredients. Did I mention it tastes good?

Note: If you want to leave out the vinegar, spinach & mushrooms to save a little money, you’ll still be able to make a tasty sauce.

Zucchini Fra Diavolo with Quinoa Spaghetti

Makes 2-3 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 ½ cups canned diced tomatoes with liquid
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups of 1” chunks of zucchini* (see note below)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 /2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • ½ box (4 oz) quinoa pasta (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa spaghetti)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan, for topping
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh parsley, for topping
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add the garlic. Cook until the garlic is sizzling, then add the tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, and red wine vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. While sauce is simmering, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Prepare the quinoa pasta according to package directions (7-9 minutes should produce al dente pasta).
  3. In a medium frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1-2 cloves of garlic until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add the zucchini cubes and cook at medium to high heat, until zucchini is lightly browned.
  4. Stir cooked zucchini into sauce mixture. Add chopped spinach and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve over or to side of quinoa spaghetti and top with parsley & a sprinkle parmesan.

*Zucchini and green squash are the same thing, and are usually called courgettes in the UK and Europe. We typically wind up with pretty large zucchini from our gardens here in the Northeast US, however, the supermarkets in my area only sell smaller versions labeled as “green squash”. These are about the size and shape of cucumbers with a slightly different texture. I never peel my zucchini – the skin tastes good, and it’s where a lot of the vitamins are – but you can if you prefer.

Adapted from this recipe for shrimp fra diavolo.



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Categories: gluten free recipes, low calorie dinner, low calorie dinner recipes, low calorie recipe, pasta recipes, recipes, vegetarian recipes


I'm a writer of web content and advertising copy in the interactive space. I'm kind of a geek, but I like other stuff, too. My passions and loves include cooking and food, travel, music, and reading; my husband & favorite architect Jonathan; my wonderful family and friends; and my loyal, quirky dog.

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