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A Recipe and History Lesson


Wait a minute. I’m going to need to explain the name of this recipe.
SPIRALIZED. Ok. I know what that means.
ZUCCHINI. I know the vegetable. 
But…..PUTTANESCA? I definitely have to research that one. 
And so I did. 
And I learned an eye-full!!
I’ll try to be PC and delicately explain this without offending any of our more easily offended readers. (If that’s you, just skip to the recipe below.)
According to dictionary.com, the word “puttanesca” comes from the Italian word “puttana” which means prostitute or whore. (It really said that.) The story goes that the sauce was invented/created by prostitutes as something that could be cooked or thrown together quickly between clients. Another resource, foodreference.com says that the word puttanesca translates as “in the style of the whore.” 
There are several explanations for how this specific dish earned its reputation. One interpretation is that the intense aroma of the dish would lure men from the street into the local whore house. Another says that because the dish was so easy to make (just throw a bunch of things together) the prostitutes could quickly make the dish for themselves, keeping the interruption of business to a minimum. The dish was also said to be used to feed the male customers while they waited. One final explanation was that it was a favorite of married women who wanted to limit their time in the kitchen so that they could spend more time visiting their paramour. 
And there you have it!
So here’s the deal – The history of the word puttanesca is entertaining to be sure. The dish definitely has incredible flavor and aroma, but I’ll be honest, I’m glad it didn’t lure any men off the street and into my house. That’s a 911 call.) The fact that I can use the recipe with spiralized zucchini instead of regular spaghetti pasta makes it favorable, and fun. At the same time, it meets my recipe criteria – basic ingredients, healthy, simple and batchable. Throw in the fact that it limits my time in the kitchen? Home run!! Less time in the kitchen means I get to spend more time with MY paramour……coaching, running, biking, yoga. 
Spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying life!
So, yes, I guess you could say those ladies had the right idea where cooking was concerned! 
Here’s the recipe. Give it a try and feel free to add a few ingredients of your own to give the recipe your own personal twist! (Check out my * footnotes for tasty nutrient boosting ideas to add to your creation!) 
Until next Monday, happy healthy cooking and eating from Zoe and the staff at Elevate Sports Performance and Chiropractic! 


Makes 4 servings
Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 7 to 10 minutes. (Dinner in under 30 minutes – thanks ladies!) 



• 2 Large zucchini, spiralized
• 3 TBLSP extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, diced
• Pinch of sea salt
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• ¼ tsp red-pepper flakes
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 2 TBLSP capers, rinsed
• ¼ Cup kalamata olives, chopped
• ¼ Cup grated Parmesan, plus 2 TBLSP more for garnish (You could substitute Asiago or Romano, or a blend of any of these three.)
• ¼ Cup freshly chopped basil


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Once the oil is heated, add onion, sea salt, garlic, and red-pepper flakes, and sauté until onions are translucent – about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, capers, and olives, and cook for 2 minutes more. *

Place the spiralized zucchini in the skillet with the onion, tomatoes, capers and olives. Toss for 2 minutes or until the zucchini is al denote, or still slightly firm. 

Add the ¼ Cup cheese and toss until well combined. Add chopped basil.

Transfer to bowls or a platter, and garnish with the remaining cheese. 

Serve and enjoy!! 

(And give a little nod of gratitude to the Italian ladies of the evening for creating this tasty dish!)

*Along with the tomatoes, capers and olives, I add a big handful of chopped spinach, and 1 can of well-rinsed garbanzo beans to boost the nutritional value of this recipe. 

A special thanks to Experience Life Magazine (July/August 2018) for this delicious recipe.