For those who love pasta noodles but cannot or choose not to eat grains or limit carbs, zoodles (aka zucchini noodles or ribbons) are a pleasant, versatile pasta-like dish. Zoodles are long strips of zucchini that bear a striking resemblance to pasta noodles, both with the eyes and with the mouth.
Zoodles are simple to make and fun to eat. Zoodles are delicious raw in dishes such as tuna salad over zoodles, or instead of pasta in comfort dishes such as Zoodle Alfredo or Zoodles and Meatballs.
Choose firm zucchini (any size, organic preferred) and wash well. Using a flat vegetable peeler,hold the zucchini firmly and slice down each side of the zucchini making long flat ribbons that look like fettuccine. Or, you can use an easy spiral cutter to make round zoodles, more like spaghetti. With the veggie peeler, you’ll need to stop when you get to the seeds and discard the rest (compost or for your chickens) and with a spiral cutter, there is no waste, the entire zucchini is used, even the little core that remains.
To peel or not to peel?
That is the question. The answer is, it’s up to you. I personally keep the peels (especially is the zukes are organic) as I like the texture and nutrients. If you don’t care for the skin of the zucchini, peel it off and compost it.
Basic Cooked Zoodles
Once made into strips, cooking them is a snap. Simply saute’, steam or microwave the zoodles in a bit of olive oil or butter, add salt and perhaps garlic for just a few moments (until tender but not mushy. Do NOT overcook!!) and then used as desired. Cooking time depends on the amount of zoodles cooking at one time, but usually 3-5 minutes is sufficient. Taste the zoodle and make sure it has the “mouth-feel” of al dente pasta noodles. The zoodles will give off a bit liquid when cooked and this liquid (plus any seasoning such as salt, pepper, garlic, soy sauce etc.) can be used if making a sauce.
A quick Zoodle and Meatballs meal can be made in a matter of minutes using previously-made homemade meatballs (grass-fed organic beef preferred) and previously-made homemade marinara sauce. Cut up several large zucchini into long strips (as described above) and saute’ them quickly in a bit of olive oil., salt and minced garlic. Toss until tender. Remove from pan and place in serving dish. Heat meatballs and sauce and add to cooked zoodles. Toss gently to mix and top with grated real Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
ZOODLES ALFREDO could not be simpler or more delicious!
1/2 cup real butter
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
6 -8 ounces real Parmesan cheese (not the stuff in the can!) or grated Asiago, plus extra for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut zoodles and saute’ quickly in a pan with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 2 cloves minced garlic. Set pan aside. In a sauce pan, over low heat, melt butter, garlic and cream cheese. Whisk about 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients, continuously whisking. If the sauce is too thick, add some additional cream or even chicken broth to thin out. When sauce is ready, stir in zoodles and coat completely with the sauce. Remove from heat and serve immediately with a topping of extra Parmesan cheese and a sprig of parsley.
Enjoy those zucchini!