We discovered a small hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant in Vista, California, that offered us Zoodles in lieu of the pasta that they regularly serve with their entrées. I asked what that was, and learned that it is zucchini “noodles.” Zucchini can be julienned to resemble noodles in any of a number of ways, by a vegetable slicer, a spiralizer machine, or mandoline.
What a great idea, I thought! A great low-carb, low-calorie way to enjoy Italian (and other) food that is high in essential nutrients and antioxidants.
From what I can find out about the term, Zoodles first appeared in print in 1992 as an ingenious collection riddles and word-play games involving zoological hybrids, such as the crabbit, the flamingoat, and the rhinostrich. Use of the term to mean noodle-shaped vegetables seems to have appeared around 2014–2015. And, although “Zoodling” originally just meant making zucchini noodles, the term is now used also to mean turning other vegetables into spaghetti-like shapes. I suppose that might be because canoodling carrots, or poodling parsnips, or squoodling squash, or boodling beets just did’t catch on.
As pasta substitutes, zoodles can be used in almost an infinitude of preparations.Good candidates here include Zoodles Alfred† and Zoodles Bolognese Marinara†.
Because of its extensive potential usage, the recipe here only treats the basic preparation of zoodles. The main lesson is that, because zucchini has high water content (95%!), it is easy to overcook and, if you do so, you will wind up with a soggy, mushy mess—the opposite of al dente. So, the remedy is simply to heat them up, and not really to cook them at all. Other zoodled vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips, will require more cooking than zucchini, but still should not be overcooked.
- 1 large zucchini squash
- 1 tsp <butter> substitute powder
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Slice (julienne) the zucchini into noodle-like ribbons using a mandoline, spiralizer, or other vegetable slicer.
Put the zoodles into a covered microwave-safe dish, sprinkle over the <butter> substitute powder, and drizzle over the olive oil. Put the lid on, and swirl the dish around to fully coat the zoodles.
Raw: Add any sauce your recipe calls for and serve with your meal without cooking. This is the most al dente way to prepare zoodles.
Microwaved: Put the dish in the microwave oven and cook for one minute. Check to see if it needs to cook longer; if so, use 30-second increments to prevent over-cooking. Once the desired consistency has been reached add any sauce to be used. Alternatively, add the sauce to the dish before microwaving, and proceed as described.
Sautéed: On the stovetop spray a sauté pan with oil and raise the heat to medium-hot. Add the zoodles and cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the intended sauce, mix, and serve.