Spiralizers, or spiral vegetable slicers, have been a trending kitchen gadget for several years now. And spiralized vegetables aren't going out of vogue any time soon. In fact, you can buy veggies ready-spiralized from grocery stores like H-E-B and Kroger.
At the height of the mania, you may have even bought a spiralizer of your own. It makes sense—it's easy to transform veggies such as zucchini, pumpkin, carrots, beets, turnips, and butternut squash with little more than a twirl of the handle. You can choose different thicknesses depending on whether you want thin spaghetti-like strands or wider ribbon noodles.
Home cooks choose to spiralize for various reasons. Paleo and Whole30 diets call for swapping noodles or pasta for "zoodles" (zucchini noodles)—an easy way to cut down on both carbs and calories. And they're flexible: Spiralized vegetables can be sautéed, steamed or boiled, and you can add them to soups, salads and many other dishes.
We recommend using them in everything from pad Thai to 'spaghetti' Bolognese and salad recipes, adding extra nutrients to the meal. Once you've spiralized your vegetables, you can either enjoy them raw or cook them. It's best to cook them al dente, since a little bit of bite offers the best texture—just like with real pasta. Here are a couple of recipes to show you just how versatile vegetable noodles can be:
No-Spaghetti Bolognese with Zoodles
This easy recipe makes two servings. Instead of spaghetti, we are using zucchini noodles. You can use your choice of ground beef or ground turkey. This makes a great weeknight dinner and we bet you won't miss conventional pasta at all.
- 1/2 celery stalk, diced
- 1/2 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 pound ground beef or ground turkey
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup beef or chicken broth
- 3 teaspoons tomato paste
- 14 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 zucchini, spiralized
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan, to serve
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes (optional)
Mince the celery and carrots in a food processor until there are no big chunks left. Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds, then add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the celery and carrot mixture and cook for a minute, then push the vegetables up the sides of the skillet. Now add the beef or turkey to the pan and use a wooden spoon to break it up as it cooks. Add half the oregano and keep cooking until the meat is cooked through.
Stir the vegetables back into the meat and add the rest of the oregano. Now stir in the broth and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the tomato paste and tomatoes and add some salt and black pepper. Add some red pepper flakes, too, if desired.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and cook for an additional five minutes. Stir in the spiralized zucchini and cook until it's al dente, then serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.
Asian-Inspired Carrot Salad
This delicious salad takes mere minutes to prepare and it tastes wonderful. As well as the carrots, we are using rice vinegar, sesame seeds and oil, ginger, soy sauce and green onions to lend a taste of the Orient. Enjoy this as a snack or side dish. I sometimes add raisins to this for a hint of sweetness.
- 1 carrot, peeled and spiralized
- 2 green onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- Black pepper, to taste
Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl. You can either serve this immediately if you like your carrots crunchy, or let it sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes so they soften a bit.