A few years ago I stumbled upon an inexpensive kitchen tool that quite literally changed my life. That tool was a vegetable spiralizer, and its effect on my health and happiness was twofold. First, the spiralizer exposed me to a wonderful new way to enjoy many of my favorite fruits and vegetables (we’ll get back to that in a minute). Second, I found myself actually looking forward to meal planning and preparation (trust me, this was HUGE!) because, quite frankly, the gadget is fun to use and the results are rather impressive.
What is a spiralizer, you may ask? It’s a revolutionary kitchen contraption that transforms fruits and veggies into faux noodles. With just a fraction of the carbohydrates of actual pasta, these not-quite noodles are a pretty big deal among those adhering to low-carb diets. But the faux noodles, commonly called “zoodles” because they’re often made of zucchini, are catching on among those who don’t count carbs, too—probably because they’re equal parts nutritious and delicious.
There are a number of spiralizers on the market, from simple handheld devices to food processer attachments and small freestanding appliances. Many include a variety of blades so you can choose the thickness of the fruit or veggie you’re spiralizing. I have tried quite a few spiralizers and have yet to meet one that didn’t produce great results. It’s really just a matter of personal preference and budget.
What sort of stuff can be spiralized?
When choosing fruits and product , there are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind. The produce must be firm (forget about squishy, juicy fruits and veggies with a hollow core!) and they cannot contain seeds or pits. Watermelon and cantaloupe are definitely out! For best results, choose foods that are at least 2″ long and 1.5″ in diameter.
I already mentioned zucchini, which is basically the poster veggie for spiralizers. But there’s a whole wonderful world of produce out there just waiting to be converted to elegant spiral ribbons. Some other delicious produce options for spiralizer recipes include:
- Bell peppers
- Red onions
- Sweet potatoes
- White potatoes
- Yellow squash
How can zoodles be prepared?
Spiralizing is not only quick and easy, it’s a wonderful way to convert the veggie averse (e.g., picky kids) and make delicious dishes that rival those of top restaurants in appearance. But how can you prepare those eye-catching ribbons of fruit or vegetables? Any way you want to!
Besides following spiralizer recipes, spiralized fruits and veggies can be tossed into salads, topped with a wide variety of sauces (e.g., alfredo, marinara, pesto, olive oil, white wine), partnered with proteins (e.g., meatballs, grilled or breaded chicken, cheeses) and even thrown into a deep fryer (granted not the healthiest of options). My point is, your imagination—and perhaps your Pinterest boards—are your only limits.
A few of my favorite ways to enjoy spiralized fruits and veggies include:
- Zucchini ribbons topped with turkey meat sauce
- Chicken zoodle soup
- Butternut squash pad thai
- Oven-baked skinny sweet potato “fries”
- Grilled chicken salad topped with ribbons of apples and carrots