Okay, so lately, I’ve been really into ZOODLES (in more proper terms: zucchini noodles!). Basically, zucchini noodles are an excellent low-carb noodle that work well with Asian-inspired dishes, but also as a substitute for traditional pasta when cooking Italian-themed dishes!
If we compare them to regular noodles, they only contain 3g of carbs per 100g serving! They’re also gluten-free (contain no flour & no wheat!) & rich in tons of beneficial vitamins & nutrients (such as: vitamins A, C & B6, antioxidants, potassium & fibre!).
Due to their vitamin & mineral content, zoodles:
- are good for cell growth & connective tissue;
- help with the production of collagen within the skin, organs & GI tract;
- protect against free radical damage;
- reduce inflammation;
- protect eye health & vision, are anti-aging;
- are skin-healthy;
- are immunity & energy boosting;
- are good for nervous system health!
- are filled with electrolytes (due to their potassium content, which is the 3rd most abundant mineral in the body), which helps regulate heartbeat & nerve impulses, normal muscle contractions, prevent muscles aches, support digestive health & boost energy.
- BTW: The United States Department of Agriculture reports that many adults don’t even get half of the daily potassium they need, which is a real problem considering that low potassium levels contribute to problems like high blood pressure and kidney dysfunction.
NOW, I’m not here to bash regular noodles entirely. They are not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to choose wisely! I like to use pasta made from plant-based protein, such as: chickpeas, lentils, edamame, mung beans, black beans, or other plant-based sources! They are high in fibre, protein & are very nutrient-dense.
On the other hand, regular noodles are high in rapidly digesting carbs & have very minimal nutritional value. In fact, the same 100g serving of regular noodles will ring you in at 75g of carbs. Processed carbs are unhealthy & refined & research has shown that diets high in refined carbs have links to a wide range of chronic diseases.
Basically, zucchini noodles are a way healthier alternative to regular noodles made with wheat or flour & guess what? You can justify having larger portions of zoodles & having more fun with your mix-ins, sauces & toppings!
And wait… they also help you increase your veggie intake! The majority of both children & adults fail to get in enough veggies on a daily basis. Zucchini isn’t the only vegetable you can turn into no-grain noodles, BTW! (So keep that in mind for when you get sick of the zoodles – try it with butternut squash, summer squash, beets, turnips or carrots!).
NOW, how do you make them & cook them? Let me explain!
SPIRALIZER FTW! (And no, you don’t have to go out & buy the KitchenAid one. I use one by Starfrit from Wal-Mart & it gets it done to perfection every single time! P.S. It’s just under $20!!!!!!). Here’s a link to the one I have: Starfrit Spiralizer/Slicer (Wal-Mart website link).
If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can attempt to make the zoodles with a vegetable peeler (they won’t be as noodle-y as they would if you had the spiralzier, but you’ll still accomplish a similar result & have something that looks more like fettuccine noodles!).
If you don’t have much time for, or interest in, cooking then you’ll be happy to know that zoodles are basically foolproof. Because zoodles can be made with raw zucchini and/or other veggies, it takes just a few quick minutes and only one piece of equipment to spiralize a big bowl. Lack of time is one of the biggest challenges that many people face when it comes to prepping & eating healthier foods! Incorporating more raw veggies, such as zoodles, into your recipes is a good way to get around this problem.
If you try to boil them like traditional pasta, you’ll end up with a watery mess! The goal is really to JUST heat them a little & partially cook them, so their crunchy texture could be preserved & they don’t reach soggy level!
The way I do it it:
- If I’m going to be adding some combination of sautéed vegetables to my dish, I make those first in a separate skillet. Once they’re ready, I set them aside.
- Then, I spray a stockpot or skillet with coconut or avocado oil cooking spray & heat over medium-high heat.
- Once it’s hot, I add the zoodles and all my other ingredients & pasta sauce to the pot & lower the heat to medium. I sauté them for approximately two minutes until they’re hot & all the ingredients have been combined & incorporated. Two minutes seems like nothing but you really want to avoid overcooking them!
- Serve immediately! Easy as 123!
P.S. You can also eat zoodles raw as part of a salad or Buddha bowl!
P.P.S. You can also COMBINE ZOODLES WITH YOUR REGULAR PASTA! How genius is that? Basically, this will allow you to get your real pasta fix, all while bulking up your dish & adding tons of vitamins & minerals that you wouldn’t get from the regular pasta, as well as boosting up the fibre content & sneaking in more veggies. A dish like this will keep you fuller longer than a regular pasta dish would because you’re eating less empty calories!
NOW, for the best part… WHAT ARE SOME ZOODLE-INSPIRED DISHES YOU CAN TAKE FROM MOI?
Zoodles in Victoria Fine Foods Toasted Garlic pasta sauce with cherry tomatoes, my Kale & Green Pea Vegan “Cheesy” Garlicky Sauté a.k.a. Yes P(l)EAS(e)!!! topped with my Vegan & Gluten-Free Cilantro Lemon Pistachio Pesto a.k.a. The New & Improved Green Goddess (& Let’s Get This Pesto Party Started!) with a sprinkle of black pepper!
Loads of zoodles with Vegan Cheesy, Creamy, Dreamy (& Easy) AF Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Sauce a.k.a. It’s 2017: DITCH THE KD. tossed with Kelly’s Oil-Free Moroccan-Style Roasted Red Peppers a.k.a. That Char Though!, a ground-up Gluten & Egg-Free Clean-Eating Mexican Ground Turkey Burgers a.k.a. TRUST ME, You Need These To Spice Up Your Life topped with cracked black pepper.
Zoodles with sautéed spinach, braised cherry tomatoes & one of my ground-up Gluten & Egg-Free Clean-Eating Mexican Ground Turkey Burgers a.k.a. TRUST ME, You Need These To Spice Up Your Life, tossed in Victoria Fine Foods Organic Toasted Garlic sauce & topped with nutritional yeast for an added “cheesy” kick, B12 & black pepper!