I love pasta. I'm not talking zoodles, I'm talking regular ol' hearty noodles. They make me nostalgic for mom's spaghetti and grandma's fettuccine alfredo. But unfortunately, as great as noodles taste, they make me feel pretty awful. Supremely bloated and sluggish, if you must know.
Enter vegetable noodles. Not only do they allow me to enjoy my favorite dishes bloat-free, they pack way more nutrients than regular pasta. They're also much more colorful, which is super fun. And the options are endless: You can make veggie noodles from zucchini, carrots, squash, beets, sweet potatoes and essentially any vegetable with a starchy texture. You can even use apples if you want to, though I'd say you'd have more success with a spiral-y fruit salad than apple pasta.
All you need to make veggie noodles is a spiralizer, which slices vegetables of all sorts into thin, curly strips. These kitchen tools come in three forms -- handheld, crank and electric -- and all make it easy to get a vegetable noodle dinner on the table. Read on to find out how.
How to use a handheld spiralizer
1. Wash your vegetables and trim one end to make it flat and even. Handheld spiralizers work best for vegetables that are straight, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter, and no longer than 6 inches. You can trim your vegetables to fit those dimensions if they don't already.
2. Select the blade you want to use and secure it to the handheld spiralizer. (Check your user manual for specific instructions.)
3. Place the flat end of the vegetable against the blade.
4. Use your hands to apply pressure to the vegetable and twist it clockwise.
5. When you approach the end of the vegetable, save your fingers from any mishap by inserting the pronged food holder into the exposed end of the vegetable. Continue twisting clockwise with the food holder.
Here's a video to help you visualize.
How to use a spiralizer with a hand crank
1. Secure your spiralizer to your countertop. Most hand-crank models have suction cups on the bottom that help keep it sturdy and in place.
2. Place the desired blade -- most come with three to seven blades so you can make noodles in different shapes and sizes -- into your spiralizer.
3. Wash and dry your vegetables, and cut the ends off to create a flat surface.
4. Place one vegetable in the spiralizer. Position the flat end of the vegetable against the blade, keeping the other end in place with the pronged disk.
5. Turn the crank and enjoy watching your veggies turn into noodles.
Here's a helpful video tutorial:
How to use an electric spiralizer
If you have an electric spiralizer, it should have come with a user manual. Since I can't possibly cover the instruction manual for every electric spiralizer ever, I do recommend reading your manual before using your electric spiralizer. However, most electric spiralizers follow a similar series of steps:
1. Wash the spiralizer and then set it up according to the instruction manual.
2. Select a blade and fit it into place, making sure it's secure and sturdy.
3. Fit the lid until it clicks into place.
4. Trim veggies so that they fit the dimensions of your spiralizer.
5. Press the pronged food pusher into your vegetables.
6. Place the food pusher into the spiralizer.
Turn the power on and use gentle pressure to push the veggie through the blade.
Here are directions to use some of the most common electric spiralizers:
- How to use the Kenwood Electric Spiralizer
- How to use the Oster Electric Spiralizer
- How to use the Cuisinart PrepExpress Spiralizer
- How to use the Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Electric Spiralizer
7 life-changing spiralizer recipes
I can't send you away with all this newfound spiralizer knowledge and not give you some creative recipes to test out your new skills. So here are seven recipes I hand-picked from around the web that might make you consider switching to veggie noodles permanently.
Talk about a crowd-pleaser. Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized, a blog dedicated completely to spiralizer recipes, went above and beyond with this faux-pizza skillet. With crispy edges, a cheesy top layer and plenty of pepperoni, you'll hardly miss the crust on your usual delivery pizza.
This recipe is for anyone who isn't quite ready to entirely give up their noodles. It combines regular pasta and squash noodles, plus strands of string cheese, cherry tomatoes and walnuts for a wholesome summer meal.
Seeing the words "avocado," "basil" and "pesto" all lined up next to each other makes me extremely excited for this recipe. Topped with chickpeas and tomatoes, this zoodle recipe makes another perfect summertime dish.
You could call this a fruit salad since cucumbers are technically fruits, but you might catch some weird looks. Either way, this sesame miso recipe is subtly spicy with an Asian-inspired nuttiness, not to mention cool, crisp and chock-full of nutrients.
Hello, peanutty pad thai goodness. Count me in for takeout-style food that contains nothing but veggies and other nutrient-dense ingredients. This pad thai uses raw spiralized vegetables over the traditional rice noodles, so it has a nice crunch to it.
I'm an avid fan of spiralized spaghetti, and you'll find out why when you try these zoodles with a hearty tomato sauce. Zoodles turn spaghetti into a lighter dish you can enjoy more frequently because it fills you up sans carb coma.
Because you can make anything out of anything these days… Plus, every recipe roundup deserves a dessert recipe. These are great to serve to picky kids (or adults) who refuse to eat anything green.