This article was originally published on The Paleo Penguin on May 29, 2019.
When I committed to eating full on paleo in January of this year, I kept coming across these posts about “zoodles.”
People would praise them and the only thing I could think about was the old school unhealthy cans of pasta by Heinz that we used to eat as kids called “Zoodles.” After browsing, I can see Heinz has expanded their product line to a wider variety of unhealthy goodness catered towards children.
What are Zoodles?
I actually Googled the term “zoodles” and was surprised to find they are noodles make from zucchini! Some of you may be rolling your eyes at me, but I had no idea. I figured this little educational post would benefit those who are new to a vegetarian, vegan or paleo diet.
I have never been a fan of zucchini. I love almost every vegetable, except Swiss chard and have a few on my list I will just eat because it is there. Even as a kid I would eat all veggies, but I have a memory of overdoing it one day with raw zucchini sticks and ranch dip. I never touched it again after that.
Occasionally I will use it in a ratatouille dish or I used to eat Zoo Sticks at our local White Spot before I knew I had an issue with eggs. They are deep-fried with ranch, you can’t go wrong with that.
How to Cook Zoodles
My first stop to be able to try this new noodle phenomenon was buying a vegetable spiralizer. At home I had a julienne tool, but that wasn’t going to cut it if I wanted proper noodles.
I was fortunate last year to find a hand-held spiralizer on sale at a closing sale at Ming Wo. I paid only $25 CAD instead of $60 CAD. The one I bought had three blades; skinny, fat or ribbon noodles.
My first time using it was a disaster. I made my noodles fine, but when I was cleaning it in the sink, I found out the hard way how sharp the blade was and sliced my finger open. It bled for like an hour and took forever to clot. I was worried I needed stitches. I must have done some real damage to my finger as it hurt for a couple months after that bloody incident.
I wasn’t sure what kind of sauce to put on my zoodles for the first go so I opted for just vegan butter, salt and pepper. It was okay, but not amazing. Plus, the zoodles were kind of soggy. I discovered the cooking time is very exact with these guys. A little too long and you get mush.
I looked up online how to cook them to make sure I was on the right track. For most of my cooking adventures I fly by the seat of my pants and make it up as I go.
Some people say to leave the freshly cut zoodles in a bowl lined with paper-towels and sprinkle with salt to remove excess moisture. After about 15 minutes, the water has collected at the bottom and you just drain before cooking them. Personally I do it the lazy way and just toss them in the pan freshly cut.
It took me a few more tries till I found my groove with these. I tried all three cuts and I prefer the skinny noodles the best. When I cook something, I make enough for about 3 days of lunches. This meant I had to tweak the cooking time to ensure the noodles stayed firm when I reheated them.
If you put them in a pan with a little olive or coconut oil and fry them for about 4 minutes on medium heat, continually stirring, they are perfect. I can keep them up to 4 days in the fridge and take them to work. I haven’t tried freezing them yet so that one is still open to more research.
I have explored a few types of sauce options; bolognese with minced beef, a vegan pesto, vegan cheese with butter or a vegan cheese sauce. All of these I make from scratch. It is really hard to find a pesto that doesn’t include cheese or other sauces free from my allergies. I will get into recipes for those in another post.
I was on a roll with the spiralizer and ventured into other types of veggies like yams, beets, carrots and even potatoes.
Make Sure to Try Boodles
I don’t know if anyone has coined the phrase yet, but I want to call my spiral beets, “boodles!” The best part about boodles, is they stay firm, no matter how you cook them.
Before I discovered the joys of the spiralizer, I used to eat a lot of quinoa, rice or my favorite, corn pasta. I mostly ate them, because with my allergies, I can. It can get really challenging finding things I can eat some days. Enjoying the carb ridden noodles for a special occasion is okay, but for now, I enjoy my boodles and zoodles as part of my menu each week.
What do you veggie do you like to spiralize or recommend I give a try? Leave me a comment on here or on our Facebook page. Happy cooking!