Monday, January 2, 2017

How to prepare zoodles (zucchini noodles) and brief overview of spiralizers

Since we started on the paleo diet (more on that in another post), The Boy and I have been substituting zoodles (zucchini noodles) for pasta instead of eating wheat or even gluten free pasta.

Granted, it doesn't taste like pasta and the texture is different but it's not a bad alternative and we feel much healthier for it. It's lighter for sure and I love that we are getting so much more vegetables in our diet. A favorite dish is a chicken pesto zoodle.

Image courtesy of the OXO website

Now when it comes to preparing zoodles there are two main types of tools. One is the tabletop spiralizer which has a hand crank. It's a good device if you get a well made one (check reviews before buying) and it is fast when it comes to making the zoodles cos you can crank a whole zucchini in one go. The downside to this is it is bulky and if you don't have room in your kitchen to store it, you might struggle with finding a place for it. We have limited space in our kitchen so storage was an issue. We ended up having to rearrange a few things in the pantry shelf to fit it in.

The other thing we found with the tabletop spiralizer is it's a bit clunky and the zoodles come out a bit uneven. The Boy is a perfectionist and he wants his zoodles to be perfect looking noodles so he's not keen on the big tabletop spiralizer. We bought ours from Aldi. Maybe if we got one from a different brand, it would make prettier zoodles?

Image courtesy of the OXO website

The other spiralizer tool is the handheld mini one. There are many different brands of handheld spiralizers on the market. The one we have is from OXO because when we asked our friends that was the one which was most highly recommended. This one makes beautiful zoodles but it's slower and you need to chop the zucchini into smaller 3" pieces to easily put it through the spiralizer. 

The finished product is some lovely zoodles and you get these funky little zoodle towers when done. :-)

Once you've made your zoodles, you will need to cook them. I have experimented with cooking them several ways.

Method 1:
The first was to saute them in a frying pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. You only need to saute for 2 or 3 minutes. It doesn't take long to cook. This works out well but the zoodles produce a lot of liquid. You'll need to strain the zoodles to get rid of the excess liquid if you don't want to end up with a runny dish. Or you can use a pair of tongs to lift the zoodles out of the pan and let the excess liquid drip off. Then dress your zoodles with whatever toppings you are using and serve as usual.

Method 2:
The other method I've recently discovered which I quite like is to cook the zoodles in the oven. I was of the thinking that the heat from the oven would also evaporate any excess liquid that comes out. For this, you line a baking tray with foil and put the zoodles in an even layer on top of the baking tray. One tray can hold enough zoodles to feed two people. 

With this method, heat your oven to 180°C and place the zoodles on the baking tray. Then lightly spray the zoodles with an olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Once done, remove immediately from oven and dress the zoodles with whatever toppings you are using and serve as usual. 

So far, we've been having zoodles for 5 months and have not felt the need to go back to regular pasta. I don't really even have a craving for pasta anymore though we did recently go to one of our favorite restaurants and they serve an incredible crab ravioli. I might have caved and had a starter size of that which was two pieces of ravioli. It was yum but I don't need pasta for every meal.

I hope this helps with your understanding of zoodles and spiralizers. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me to ask. I will be happy to help where I can.

If you do make this, be sure to post pictures for me to see either on Instagram - be sure to tag me with @langshipley or on my Daz In The Kitchen Facebook page.

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