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Carrot-Zucchini Noodles with Almond Butter Sauce are from a new cookbook called "Just the Good Stuff."

Summer is a great time to break out the spiralizer that might be sitting in the back of your utensil drawer or cabinet.

Spiralizers as we know them - a handheld cutter that transforms whole veggies into thin, noodlelike strips - have only been around for about six or seven years, but after becoming the hottest handheld gadget of the year in 2014 and 2015, they seem to have fallen a little out of favor. After a few years of books and blogs dedicated to using these low-carb noodles, it's now more common to see a recipe here or there, especially in health-focused cookbooks.

I don't think that's because people aren't using spiralizers or eating veggie noodles. Sales of store-bought spiralized vegetables have been up in recent years as brands like Austin's Cede's Veggie Co. expand and grocery stores sell their own spiralized squash, carrots and more.

Rachel Mansfield hasn't forgotten how handy veggie noodles can be, especially in the middle of the hottest time of the year. The author of "Just the Good Stuff: 100+ Guilt-Free Recipes to Satisfy All Your Cravings: A Cookbook" uses carrot and zucchini noodles as the base for many dishes she wants to be able to eat hot, cold or somewhere in between.

This "zoodle" dish includes a recipe for a versatile almond butter sauce, which goes with anything from scrambled eggs to grilled chicken. Mansfield also suggests avocados, sesame seeds, scallions or even chopped nuts to go with this low-carb meal that is great for a picnic or a quick lunch that doesn't need reheating.

Carrot-Zucchini Noodles with Almond Butter Sauce

Spiralized carrots and zucchini are the best base for this nutty noodle dish. The addictive almond butter sauce has no soy or added sugar. Soba noodles would go amazingly well in this dish - just add them in with the veggies. This is definitely a meal that is delicious hot or cold, making it perfect to bring to a potluck or picnic. If you're looking for ideas for garnishes or additional protein, here are a few ideas: Scrambled pasture-raised eggs, chopped scallions, chopped nuts, sesame seeds, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, cooked protein of choice.

- Rachel Mansfield

For the almond butter sauce:

• 1/3 cup creamy almond butter

• 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth

• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

• 1/3 cup coconut aminos

• 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

• 2 tablespoons coconut flour

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

For the noodles:

• 5 large zucchini (if buying prepared zoodles, you'll need 5 to 7 cups)

• 3 large carrots (if buying prepared spiralized carrots, you'll need 3 to 4 cups)

• 2 tablespoons avocado oil

• 1 red bell pepper, chopped

• 1 orange bell pepper, chopped

• 1 white onion, chopped

Make the almond butter sauce: In a medium saucepan, stir together the almond butter, chicken broth, sesame oil, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, coconut flour and garlic. Warm the sauce over medium heat until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and keep on a low simmer until ready to use. (You can make the sauce ahead of time and reserve in the fridge.)

Make the noodles: Using a spiralizer, turn the zucchini and carrots into noodles.

Warm the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, carrots, bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pour the almond butter sauce over the vegetables and toss to coat. Serve warm, with your choice of toppings. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat them in a skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through. Serves 4 to 6.

- From "Just the Good Stuff: 100+ Guilt-Free Recipes to Satisfy All Your Cravings: A Cookbook" by Rachel Mansfield (Clarkson Potter, $28)

Addie Broyles writes about food for the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas. She can be reached at abroyles@statesman.com, or follow her on Twitter at @broylesa.

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