By Kelsie Knerr, RD LD, Registered Dietitian
As a dietitian, I often encourage people to fill half of their plate with non-starchy veggies. Whenever I make zoodles, that goal is easy to meet, and I end up eating at least an entire zucchini. Spiralizers expand your veggie options and provide a noodle substitute if you need to cut out gluten or eat fewer carbohydrates.
I first purchased a spiralizer when I was leading an elementary garden club. I'd heard that if you cut veggies in different shapes, kids may be more willing to give them a try. To make the garden beets more enticing I bought a Spirooli, one of many kitchen gadgets that cut veggies into noodle-like shapes. I’ve had success with onions, zucchini, yellow squash, beets, potatoes, and carrots. Sites like Inspiralized www.inspiralized.com offer a lot of creative recipe ideas.
The size and price of spiralizers vary, but you can find quite a few around $20.
If you don’t want another appliance taking up space in your kitchen, some stores sell pre-cut zoodles.
How to Prepare Zoodles
You can boil or microwave zucchini noodles, but I prefer to cook them down in a pan. I often cover the pan with a lid to speed up the cooking time. The zucchini cooks more quickly than it takes to boil water and cook pasta noodles.
Try zoodles with this easy-to-make basil pesto sauce:
2 cups basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, pulse together basil, garlic, and nuts.
Slowly add oil until you reach the desired thickness.
Season with salt and pepper.
Optional: Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.