In the past few years, vegetable “noodles” have taken the food world by storm. Even those who don’t follow a grain-free diet have probably encountered a veggie or two that has been shape-shifted by a spiral slicer. In fact, there is a good chance you have already incorporated the word “zoodle” into your vocabulary. For the uninitiated, that’s short for zucchini noodles.
From simple slaws, to Korean noodle bowls, and Italian favorites like zoodles with grass-fed meatballs or Bolognese, vegetable noodles are sliding their way onto our plates and bowls, creating a culinary canvas full of opportunities.
Turning produce into pasta boosts your consumption of vegetables and increases the nutrient density of your meals. It is also a light and satisfying replacement for carb-heavy, grain-based pastas.
Let’s face it: there is a lot to love about pasta. It is cheap and filling. And it has a unique ability to taste good with almost anything. But traditional bowls of linguine, spaghetti and penne take a toll on your health. Clocking in around 40 grams of carbs per serving and comprised of inflammatory grains and gluten, traditional pasta is off the menu for the carb-conscious and ancestral nutrition crowds.
How Bean Pasta, Pseudograin Noodles and Spaghetti Squash Stack Up
Alternatives like bean-based pasta and quinoa noodles may seem like a handy backup or healthier alternative, but these choices aren’t ideal either.
Beans and pseudograins (like quinoa) contain phytic acid – a compound that can reduce the absorption of vital minerals. Other compounds in these foods, including lectins and saponins, can harm the integrity of gastrointestinal tract, contributing to leaky gut. This is a root cause of inflammation, autoimmune issues, allergies, food intolerances and more.
Other pasta alternatives are made with rice flour, potato starch and other high-glycemic ingredients which promote blood sugar imbalances and hormonal disruption.
And what about Mother Nature’s instant bowl of noodles – spaghetti squash? Rich in nutrients and low in carbohydrates, spaghetti squash is a healthy alternative. But from a culinary standpoint, it lacks the mouthfeel and texture of a true noodle.
Enter the zoodle…
Zoodles and Veggie-Based Noodles
When you’re craving long strands of twirl-able fettuccini or spaghetti, there’s little that will scratch that itch. But if you add a zucchini to the base of your Spiralizer, you can create cups of fresh “pasta” that fill you up while creating an experience that rivals the real deal.
While the Spiralizer is best known for creating zucchini noodles, almost any cylindrical vegetable or fruit can be turned (literally) into a rich new shape.
What’s more, veggies that are typically chopped can be transformed to create a new twist on an old recipe. New textures please the palate and can elevate a ho-hum dish into a feast for the eyes, as well.
Boost a meal with equally sliced (and cry-free!) caramelized onions. Turn an apple or beet into a quick dessert or snack. Shoestring butternut squash “fries,” squash latkes, Ramen soup, vegetable slaw… they’re all just a few cranks away from your organic produce basket to your table.
Add Some Fun and Flair to Your Cooking (And Save Time, To Boot!)
While you could chop or grate many of these recipes into fruition, the Spiralizer does it for you in a fraction of the time. On top of speeding up the process, the Spiralizer standardizes the pieces, so your dishes will always be equally cooked.
You’ll be shocked by how much volume is hiding in your vegetables. Chopping one zucchini might equate to about a cup of pinwheels. Spiralizing the same zucchini can yield three cups of noodles!
And the Spiralizer doesn’t just help to incorporate more vegetables into your meals… but different vegetables, as well. The hard stem at the base of fresh broccoli? Turn it into a slaw for lunch. Odd and intimidating veggies, like kohlrabi and parsnips? Shape-shift them into silky al-dente noodles, perfect for topping with your favorite sauce and meat.
Not only will your meals be more varied and interesting, using the Spiralizer adds a bit of fun to your food prep. And this easy-to-use tool is perfect for kiddie kitchen helpers.
Once you sneak this ergonomic tool into your cupboard, you’ll start seeing opportunities in vegetables you never would have imagined before.
Quick Ideas for Veggie Noodle Meals
Here are a few delicious ideas to get you started.
• Steamed Zucchini Fettuccini with Grass-Fed Paleo Meatballs & Marinara Sauce
• Raw Cucumber Noodles with Curry Sauce, Cashews and Roast Chicken
• Roasted Sweet Potato Spaghetti with Buffalo Bolognese
• Roasted Rutabaga Fettuccini with Pan-Seared Sea Scallops and Basil Pesto
• Chayote Ribbons with Wild Shrimp and Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
• Roasted Butternut Squash Fettuccini with Short Rib Ragu
• Cucumber Pappardelle with Coconut-Tahini Sauce and Pan-Seared Halibut
• Butternut Squash Fettuccini with Kale, Italian Sausage & Tomato-Basil Sauce
• Runny Egg + Bacon Breakfast Bowl Over Roasted Sweet Potato Noodles
• Faux Pho with Daikon Noodles and Pastured Chicken Broth
Do you make veggie noodles? If so, what is your favorite recipe?
Ed Note: Kelley Herring is the founder of Healing Gourmet and Wellness Bakeries. The latter provides natural, grain- and gluten-free dessert, pizza, bread and breakfast mixes that are as easy to make as they delicious to eat. Just blend and bake to enjoy all your favorite comfort foods – guilt free! To learn more, visit the Wellness Bakeries Catalog here on US Wellness Meats!
- Saponins as cytotoxic agents: a review. Phytochem Rev. Sep 2010; 9(3): 425–474.
- Johnson IT, Gee JM, Price K, Curl C, Fenwick GR. Influence of saponins on gut permeability and active nutrient transport in vitro. J Nutr. 1986 Nov;116(11):2270-7.
- Zevallos, VF, et al. Variable activation of immune response by quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) prolamins in celiac disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (April 2012)
- Living with Phytic Acid. Weston A. Price Foundation Reddy NR and others. Food Phytates, CRC Press, 2001.