Trendy veggie “noodles” are officially here to stay. Here’s how to transform your favorite produce into deliciously healthy ribbons for satisfying gluten-free pastas, salads, and more.
I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets. Years ago, I was all about the bread-maker (remember those monstrosities?). I’ve also been the proud, albeit brief, owner of a sandwich press, waffle-maker, fondue pot, and dehydrator—and don’t get me started on the small gizmos, such as the potato ricer and onion chopper that never made it into my regular food-prep rotation.
So not surprisingly, when the spiralizer was the hot, new kitchen must-have, I was quick to buy one. After all, the promise was huge: With a simple handheld or countertop tool, I’d be able to boost my fresh-fruit and -vegetable intake by turning them into long, curly strips to seamlessly swap in for carby favorites like pasta or rice, or to sauté, roast, fry, bake, or eat raw. Just insert the desired fruit or vegetable into the device, turn a handle, and out pop spirals of zucchini “noodles” and sweet-potato curly “fries.”
As a gluten-sensitive pasta lover, I was sold. Sure, I secretly believed my spiralizer would end up at a yard sale, like the other kitchen gadgets of my past. Yet one year later, it’s still on my kitchen counter and getting just as much play as my coffeemaker.
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Sara Haas, RDN, a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, can relate: Her spiralizer has earned a well-deserved permanent place on her countertop, too. “Everyone is getting the message that the more veggies you can incorporate into your diet, the better,” says Haas. “I think spiralizing is one of the best and easiest ways to prepare a larger variety of plant-based foods and actually enjoy them.”
When Haas says “easy,” she means it—even when you’re talking rock-hard veggies like raw beets, potatoes, and butternut squash. “A lot of home cooks don’t often buy hard-to-cut vegetables because their knife skills aren’t great,” she says. “Spiralizing makes prepping veggies like turnips and celery root so simple, you’ll be more likely to use them in recipes.” Thanks to this perk, Haas says spiralizing has helped many of her clients break out of their culinary ruts, boosting their veggie intake as they spiralize an ever-widening array of fruits and vegetables.
And let’s face it: It’s also a heck of a lot easier to plow through a plateful of vegetables when they look like pasta, the ultimate comfort food. Haas agrees, adding that the noodle form tends to inspire people to add a lot more flavor to their veggies via sauces and spices, which ultimately helps us feel more satisfied than if we were eating the same vegetables plain.
So whether you’re already hooked on your own spiralizer and want tasty recipes that span beyond the ubiquitous zucchini noodles, or you’re intrigued enough to try this trend, read on for recipes and tips to get inspired.