I'd like to introduce you to my new favorite food: zoodles. Perhaps you're already hip to this grain-free pasta substitute, but I have only recently discovered my true love for this noodle-y dish.
All winter long we love to drench our rich meaty and/or creamy sauces all over spaghetti squash, but let's face it – spaghetti squash is not a summer veggie. After experimenting with various methods of zoodle making, I finally figured out how to make zoodles that are perfect, delicious, and – dare I say – better than actual spaghetti noodles.
How could this be? Shredding zucchini, better than pasta?
For starters, I LOVE summer produce – berries and corn and especially garden tomatoes fresh off the vine. I don't know about you, though, but a few weeks into summer and I'm usually sick and tired of zucchini. What better solution, than to turn the dreaded zucchini into pasta?
You don't have to be grain-free or paleo to want to gobble down a bowl of zoodles. For those of us who strive to not pack on the extra pounds (especially during swim suit season) zoodles are a dream come true.
You can load up on your favorite nutrient-dense sauce without being weighed down by a heavy bowl of floury noodles. Looking for inspiration? Try bolognese (a great way to disguise liver), my favorite tangy alfredo, or just a simple stir fry with mushrooms, garlic, and plenty of butter.
How to make zoodles – what you need
- 6 large zucchini or summer squash (this will serve 4)
- Sea salt – This is my favorite sea salt, and I buy it in bulk
Your choice of tools:
- Julienne peeler – This one is my zoodle implement of choice. It's an affordable, effective, and sturdy, high-quality kitchen implement. Get one here.
- Mandoline – While I have this mandoline slicer, it mostly stays in my pantry out of fear of losing a finger.
- Spiralizer – This relatively inexpensive spiralizer, makes the prettiest twisty zoodles. If I had more cabinet space, I would definitely get one of these.
- Spiral slicer – This one looks like it's the best for accident prone cooks – affordable too.
- A very sharp knife – Feeling ambitious or not ready to commit? You can always julienne the zucchini with a good old-fashioned blade.
How to make zoodles – method
- Pre-heat your oven to 200F.
- Use your tool of choice, cut the zucchini into ribbons resembling spaghetti.
- Sprinkle zoodles generously with sea salt, and toss to coat well.
- Place the zoodles on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
- “Sweat” the noodles in the oven for 30 minutes until the paper towels have absorbed most of the moisture that the zucchini let.
- Wrap the paper towels over the noodles and give them a good squeeze to extract any remaining liquid, and set zoodles aside.
- Right before serving, toss the zoodles into a stir fry or with your sauce of choice and serve. If you prefer your zoodles a bit less al dente, simply simmer or saute them for several minutes in your sauce or stir fry before serving.
Sarah K says
Have you tried freezing them either alone or with sauce? I wonder how they would hold up. That might be a good solution for long term storage. I also wonder if you could pressure can them or if they would get mushy?
Freezing or canning zucchini turns it to mush for sure. After doing those things, it’s pretty much only good for baking (like in zucchini bread).
Can I use yellow crookneck squash?
We’ve used it as well as zucchini, they both work great, IMO!
I bought the Paderno Spiralizer, and I can tell you, nothing else compares…for safety in making vegetable noodles. I have had lots of fun with it to boot. I do the cleaning however, never allowing inexperienced adult to wash it. No option for a child to ever wash it, but use it yes with lots of caution not to touch the blades. The blades are very sharp and you will cut yourself. I use a small brush to clean so I don’t ever again touch that blade. Did I say they are sharp? I have used the hand held, and it also is very dangerous, be very careful. I prefer the Paderno~
So worth the $24.00~
How well do the zoodles freeze?
Hi Davina – Great question. I haven’t tried it, but I bet you could. Let us know if you try it and how well they turn out. 🙂
I have the question on freezing also
Hi Jeanine – I haven’t tried it, but I bet you could. Let us know if you try it. 🙂
Freezing or canning zucchini turns it to mush.
Lindalee McCandlis says
What temp for the oven when sweating?
Hi Lindalee – 200 degrees F. 🙂
I freeze shredded zucchini every year.
They become quite watery and mushy, but that’s ok for muffins.
I don’t have a spiralizer, but my food processor has a really large/wide feeding tube. If I cut the zucchini in half width-wise, I can grate it in my food processor and make noodles that way. They’re probably a little thinner and shorter than the ones made using a spiralizer, but they taste great. I love them just plain, with a quick stirfry in a little butter and pepper. Yum!
I think they’d be mushy if you froze them. I’ve frozen grated zucchini and used it to make zucchini bread or zucchini pancakes. It tastes fine, but the texture isn’t the same.
Oh my goodness this was wonderful! I used my mandoline slicer on 1/8″ julienne setting, followed your directions and then added them to a meaty marinara and we have a winner! Thank you so much.
I made Zoodles with Bolognese Sauce last night. They are tasty and I love the crunch! My husband loved them. Thanks for another great recipe, Emily!
Thanks Holly! Glad you enjoyed them 🙂
I have a little hour glass hand held spiralizer that works great although I do get tired when I make large amounts which I do often with a vegan and autoimmune sufferer in the house (UC). This is an amazing grain free, dairy free raw dish that just about everyone loves. I use the Victoria Vegan alfredo sauce and it’s AWESOME! We use both zucchini and yellow squash. In the near future, I’d like to buy a larger model. Thanks for the link.
so, do you rinse the zoodles once you’ve sweated them?
I just made some, and they are incredibly salty. I squeezed the excess liquid out, but of course that doesn’t remove the salt.
Hi Melissa – Thanks for your question. I didn’t rinse mine, but if you prefer them less salty, rinse and squeeze them again.
Sounds delicious! FYI, for the mandolin, use a meat glove. It is akin to chainmail. You will never have to worry about your digits again!
Thanks Susan for the great tip! xo
Leslie Hedman says
This is the best zoodle recipe ever – perfect salt level and al dente texture. My family enjoys these zoodles with bolognese sauce made with elk meat (my husband is a hunter), and both my three year old and my one year old can’t get enough! Thank you Emily!!
Emily Bartlett says
Hi Leslie, so glad you and your family enjoyed it! xoxo Emily