Whether you are trying to revolutionize your diet or simply increase your vegetable intake, it might be time to go against the grain and talk about zoodles, a healthier alternative to pasta without all the carbs.
What Are Zoodles?
Zoodles are simply zucchini which have been sliced thin to resemble noodles. Many clever names have been associated with this trendy take on the classic zucchini: zusketti or zuttuccine. Whatever name or however you prepare it, zoodles may just be your new favorite pasta alternative. They’re a great way to swap out all of those carbs in the dishes you crave while increasing your daily vegetable intake. For parents of picky eaters, they may be your ticket to getting something green into your little ones’ bellies.
Why has this funny word been trending the dietary world? Simply put, zoodles are not only a healthier substitute for the traditional noodle, but they are quite delicious. Zucchini is the most popular of the summer squash varieties and is a staple at most farmers markets during warmer months and a prolific producer in your garden. Plus, it’s low in calories and boasts a rich nutritional portrait. It serves as a good source of vitamin C, while also being rich in anti-oxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and manganese. The dietary fiber in zucchini helps to lower cholesterol and promotes healthy digestion. In addition, the magnesium and potassium found in zucchini help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, while also lowering blood pressure.
How Do You Prepare Zoodles?
Zoodles are typically prepared using a gadget called a “spiralizer,” and there are a host of kitchen gadgets out there designed to get the job done, transforming your zucchini into noodle form. Spiralizers create long noodles allowing you to spin them onto your fork. Although the spiralizer is the easiest and fastest way to make zoodles, you can simply peel and finely slice the squash to produce similar results. A julienne peeler or mandolin also work well.
Zoodles can be served raw or cooked. If you prefer softer and starchier zoodles, you may opt to cook them by simply sautéing them in a pan with olive oil for a few minutes. You can also “sweat” the zoodles in an oven: place the prepared zoodles on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle them with salt. Put them into a 200º F oven for 30 minutes until the paper towels have absorbed most of the moisture of the zucchini. Wrap the zoodles in the paper towels and squeeze the remaining liquid out. This will prevent your dish from becoming too watery. However you choose to make your zoodle, they will surely change the way you eat vegetables. Try one of these tasty recipes to join the zoodle revolution!
Zoodles with Pesto
4 small zucchini, ends trimmed
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or sundried tomatoes, optional
Create zoodles from the zucchini using your preferred method.
Combine the basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Using a steady stream, slowly add in the olive oil while the food processor is still on. Scrape the sides of the processor and add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese and pulse until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Toss zucchini noodles and pesto until well coated. Top with tomatoes.
You can choose to cook the zucchini noodles as well. Simply, add the zoodles to a skillet and saute them over medium heat.
Shrimp Scampi Zoodles
A quick, and lightened-up version of a traditional dish.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce, or other hot sauce of your choice
1 lb. cooked shrimp
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 large zucchini
1 cup chicken broth
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare noodle strands and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Next, add the hot sauce, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Mix in the shrimp and cherry tomatoes and stir, cooking for a couple of minutes until shrimp are opaque. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the zucchini noodles and toss. Cook for an additional minute or two and then remove from the heat. Top your dish with green onions and Parmesan cheese.
When preparing your next pasta dish and are looking for something on the lighter side, consider zoodles.