Dehydrating Zoodles and Squashetti

We love our pasta around here, especially if it’s whole-grain and homemade. However, as a diabetic, I prefer a lower carb pasta, but one that must be as comforting, tasty, satisfying and as filling as grain-based pasta. For more than a decade, I’ve been making “noodles” from vegetables, especially zucchini and yellow squash, although other firm veggies make great noodles as well.

 

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Some years ago, the name “zoodles” caught on for zucchini noodles. Zucchini + noodles = zoodles. Then came squashetti. That’s right, squash + spaghetti noodles = squashetti. No, not spaghetti squash, although some people really enjoy spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute, I personally do not,  for they have a strong taste and they lack the mouth-feel of pasta that I desire. I have always loved pasta and it remains the one food that satisfies me when I’m really hungry, so my non-pasta MUST be as much like grain-based pasta as possible. For me, that’s zoodles and squashetti made from fresh, organic zucchini and yellow squash.

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Not only do zoodle and squashetti describe the vegetable noodle, they terms can be verbs as well! Back in 2001, when I first started “zoodling,” I used a regular, flat veggie peeler held longways against the firm zucchini and sliced long, wide, flat strips that reminded me of fettuccine. A quick saute in olive oil with garlic and salt and adding any toppings made a spectacular zoodle fettuccine meal. Some of my previous recipes are here.


The next year, I discovered a manual, 3-in-1 spiral cutter and my zoodle fettuccine became more like real spaghetti zoodles. This is the one that I use. It loads veggies from the side so it can accommodate really BIG zucchini and it has a thicker cutting blade producing more authentic spaghetti-shaped vegetable noodles. I tried several other spiral cutters but the noodles they cut were too thin for my preferences.

 

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Enthralled with being able to eat a food so closely resembling my favorite pasta in flavor and texture while keeping my blood glucose levels down, I experimented with other firm veggies for my noodle fix. Patty pan squash, yellow squash, firm eggplant, rutabaga and more became my pasta base, but because of the mild flavor and pliable texture, zucchini and yellow squash are most like pasta to me and remain my favorites.

 

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Each Summer, I would pile up the fresh zucchini, either grow it or buy it in bulk, and zoodle, zoodle, zoodle to my heart’s content. In the Fall, I sadly acknowledged that the zoodling days were all but gone, because the organic fresh zucchini and squash were the best, not imported and not hothouse grown.

Finally, I decided to dehydrate my zoodles and squashetti and store them for those long, cold Winter days when my cravings for pasta were at their height. If you love zoodles and squashetti as I do, be wise and get all you can get fresh, then dehydrate, store and rehydrate for your pasta passion!

 

Tip: Don’t use the thin julienne blades of a food processor to mandoline if you are going to dehydrate your zoodles and squashetti, they will dehydrate to almost nothing. I use the thick cutter from the 3-in-1 spiral cutter and they rehydrate to a pasta-like texture.

 

To Zoodle or Squashetti:
Wash organic zucchini and/or yellow squash. You can peel the veggies if you like (the inside flesh is more the texture of pasta, the peel has more fiber), but I LOVE the peel and it contains many more nourishing nutrients.

Spiral slice the zucchini and/or squash into long spaghetti-sized noodles.

Either prepare right away for a zoodle or squashetti meal with your favorite sauces or toppings OR dehydrate.

 

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To dehydrate:
Place the cut zoodles and squashetti on dehydrator racks.

Dry at 115 degrees until completely dried. I do mine overnight in my Excalibur dehydrator.

Let cool and store. I place mine in very clean and dry half-gallon canning jars and vacuum seal the jar with my vacuum sealer. You can also use oxygen absorbers instead of, or in conjunction with vacuum sealing. Do not store at room temperature without removing the oxygen though, they can mold and grow bacteria! Seriously.

Once vacuum sealed in the jar, store the jarred vegetable noodles in a cool, dry, dark place (like a pantry) away from heat, moisture, and light. They should stay good for years.

 

 

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To rehydrate and use:
Place desired amount of zoodles and/or squashetti in a large bowl.

Cover veggies with boiling water. Place a lid or towel over the bowl to keep the steam in.

Let soak for 15 minutes or until zoodles are tender.

At this point you can saute’ them in butter or olive oil, or use them right away for your pasta meal, depending on the dessired tenderness and texture. Add your sauces and toppings and enjoy!

 

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Vickilynn Haycraft is an independent Product Reviewer. She does not sell products or accept payment for reviews. The products reviewed are either purchased by Vickilynn Haycraft or provided for review and all reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained. This product was purchased at the market price to test and review.

© 2013 All Rights Reserved Vickilynn Haycraft and Real Food Living

About Vickilynn Haycraft

A student of health and nutrition for 30 years, Vickilynn Haycraft has over 25 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and now radio talk show host, as well as being full-time wife and mom to 5 children. Read Vickilynn's Product Reviews and Family Preparedness Articles at Examiner.com. She blogs at the Real Food Living Blog.