*This article has been updated in April 2020 for accuracy
I understand that vegetable noodles, especially zucchini noodles, have been discovered and are popular among the low carb, paleo crowd. They are new to me, so I want to share my excitement with you. They are more than a replacement for wheat noodles, they are a new way to experience vegetables.
There are several ways to turn vegetables and fruits into ‘noodles’: a simple hand held peeler, a mandolin, an inexpensive spiralizer, and my favorite – an attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer.
To make zucchini ‘noodles’, you will you use one of the devices I show below to create the spaghetti shaped strips. Here are the steps:
1. Wash the zucchinis. Or… carrot, yellow squash, cucumber, apple – use your imagination
2. Peel them if you like. They look lighter and more like spaghetti if you peel them and the dark skin can have a bitter flavor. I have made them both ways and enjoyed them either way.
3. Cut off the ends of the zucchinis and use your spiralizer to make noodles. You will end up with a little stub of vegetable and a bit of core. Either chop it up or use it on something else.
4. Put the ‘noodles’ into a colander or a lettuce spinner and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt.
5. Let them drain for about 30 minutes to release some of the liquid. I like to use the salad spinner to dry them off. If you use a colander, squeeze the noodles occasionally with clean, dry paper towel.
That’s it. You can eat them raw, sauté them lightly, steam them for about a minute, or give them 30 seconds in the microwave to heat them up. Add sauce or dressing.
You can use the same technique to ‘spiralize’ sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Add a hearty sauce and you are ready for winter.
I find this Kitchenaid spiralizer attachment easy to use and once you are set up – the ‘noodles’ just flow. It comes with several blades so you can produce thin or thick strips. This only works if you already have access to a Kitchenaid mixer. $74.99.
This handheld GEFU Spiral Slicer is sturdy with stainless steel blades. It is an economical choice to see if you like vegetable ‘noodles’. $29.95.
Our friend Janet W. got me started with spiralizing and this is the one she uses – Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer. $9.80 with free shipping.
This Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler with Blade Protector, Stainless Steel Handle makes thin strands of vegetables and fruits. This may be all you need if you are not making large amounts. $13.29.
This SimpliFine Vegetable Slicer Mandoline and Chopper gets great reviews. $49.99.
This Paderno Spiralizer with four-blade options is a middle ground between the handheld models and the Kitchenaid attachments. It looks big, but it collapses for storage. The blades are stainless steel. BPA-free plastic. $49.95.
You can put your favorite pasta sauce on these ’noodles’ for a healthy, low carb meal. We tested several recipes for avocado-based zucchini ‘noodle’ sauces and took the best parts of each. Here is our recommended recipe. Use it as a starting point and get creative.
Avocado Sauce Recipe:
2 cloves roasted garlic
5 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/8 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
12 basil leaves
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Chili powder (optional)
- Place all of the sauce ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until you get the consistency you want. Chunky to creamy – it is a matter of personal preference.
- Mix the sauce with the ‘noodles’
- Add halved cherry tomatoes (or anything else you like) to the noodles.
Optional additions to the pasta after you’ve mixed the ‘noodles’ and the sauce: halved cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, baby spinach, finely shredded leeks – you get the idea.
Sweet Potato Curry recipe from foodfaithfitness.com
For the Curry:
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced, about a heaping 1/2 cup
- 1 small red bell pepper, sliced, about 1 cup
- 1 cup broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/3 cup onion, chopped, about half a small onion
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon yellow curry powder
- 1 13.5 ounce can full fat coconut milk
- pinch of salt
For the Sweet Potato Noodles:
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled, 250-300 grams
- pinch of salt
For the Mango Salsa:
- 1 mango, large, diced, about 3/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons red onion, diced
- 1 red chili, thai, minced, adjust to preferred level of spiciness
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- pinch of salt
- Heat 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil on medium/high heat and cook the carrots for about 3 minutes, until they just begin to soften.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add in the pepper, broccoli, onion and ginger and cook until they begin to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the 1/2 Tbsp of yellow curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add in the can of coconut milk (make sure you mix it well before adding!) and a pinch of salt, mixing well.
- Raise the heat to medium/high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium/low heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken.
- While the sauce cooks, heat the remaining coconut oil in a separate pan over medium heat.
- Spiralize the potato using the 3 mm blade and then add it into the pan. Cook the noodles, stirring often, until they just begin to wilt, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.
- While you wait, toss together the diced mango, red onion, Thai chili, apple cider vinegar and cilantro in a medium bowl. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Divide the noodles between two plates and top with the curry. Garnish with the mango salsa and extra cilantro and DEVOUR.
Summer brings a plethora of vegetables. Spirulizing is a great way to use the abundance of zucchini and other veggies. Put them in your freezer and use them later.