~ This Easy Zoodles Recipe is the perfect way to try Zucchini Noodles and ease your family into the idea of spiralized veggies! (Although, honestly, we make this all the time now.) Ready in about 15 minutes, it’s a fun way to step up your pasta game and add more veggies into dinnertime! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Includes Make-Ahead Steps • Vegetarian (depending on choice of sauce) •
It’s official. Zoodles are a thing. A thing that’s here to stay.
I can’t find an authoritative dictionary that recognizes the word, but they’re for real, all the same.
They’ve kept many a food blogger happily creating new recipes until the wee hours … which is just about the time that spiralizer informercials start touting the joys of zoodle-everything.
It took me a while to give in. I mean, I had nothing against the idea – I was just too busy with other recipe creations to make it to the zoodle fad. I’m generally a late-adopter, anyway, so why rush things?
But then I zoodled. (Ok ok … if zoodle the noun isn’t a real word yet, I’m pretty sure zoodled the verb isn’t either … well, until now. We’re going with it!)
I zoodled, and I loved it. My family was enthralled. It seriously was that easy, and mounds of gorgeous, curly noodles appeared from a plain-jane zucchini. In mere moments.
Ok. I wanted in. Late-adopter or not, I was the newest card-carrying member of the Zoodle Fan Club.
If you haven’t gotten your Fan Club card yet (nor learned the Zoodling alma mater), fear not. I’ve gotcha covered.
So, for the totally uninitiated, let’s go back to the beginning.
Exactly What Are Zoodles?
Wellllll … we’ll use some grammar math to sort that one out.
Zucchini + Noodle = Zoodle.
It’s a zucchini noodle!
Depending on the exact contraption you use to create your zoodles, they can come in a variety of shapes and sizes and thicknesses, but spaghetti-shaped zoodles are sort of the basic, most common zoodle species.
And Just How Do You Make Zoodles?
With a zoodler, of course! Sounds like a Dr. Seuss invention, no? Actually, the technical term for a zoodler is a spiralizer.
Spiralizers come in a range of prices and designs, and Amazon is happy to offer you more options than you could possibly hope to sort through. Basically, spiralizers involve blades that … with just a few twists … turn your veggie into spiralized noodles or ribbons.
You can spiralize vegetables – and even fruits – in loads of imaginative ways. I get all twitchy with excitement just thinking about it. Why, you ask? Because …
Why are Zoodles So Awesome?
1) Well, for one thing because they’re just fun to eat. If you remember our posts on parenting picky eaters, you’ll recall that one of our pillars is “It’s All About the Marketing.” Cascading curlicues of zoodles make vegetables fun. Sold!
2) Also, they’re nutritious. A terrific way to work more veggies into your family’s diet. Like I said, you can spiralize all sorts of produce, working in great nutrition in so many ways. But since we’re focusing on zucchini noodles today, it’s worth noting that zucchini is low in calories and carbs, and both fat-free and cholesterol-free. Yet, zucchini is notably high in vitamins C and B-6, and also offers good amounts of vitamin K, riboflavin, folate, potassium and manganese. So, for those of you looking to trim a few calories here and there, it’s a smart swap for some or all of the pasta in some of your recipes.
3) Also, zoodles are honestly quick and easy to make. I’m not a huge gadget girl myself, but my spiralizers (yes … I now own three!) are truly a snap to use, and they clean up quickly. Totally not a hassle.
Convinced yet? Then let’s go! Our Beginner’s Zoodle Recipe is the perfect way to start exploring all the tantalizing zoodle possibilities!
Starting with an Easy Swap-Out
Again, going back to our guidelines for picky eaters, it’s often smart to ease kiddos (and … ahem … spouses) into new eating adventures.
Sure – you may be eagerly signing on the dotted line of that Zoodle Fan Club, but is the rest of your fam just as committed? If not, this easy-peasy beginner recipe is a great way to introduce the idea, without scaring off the timid or less adventuresome.
In the same way that we suggest introducing whole wheat pasta by swapping some into a recipe, in exchange for just part of your regular, white pasta … here we’re subbing in just a few zoodles for part of the spaghetti you’d normally serve.
Plus, you reap the benefits of both whole wheat pasta (all that whole grain nutrition!) and zucchini noodles (yay – more veggies!) by using a bit of each.
Tips for Making These Easy Zucchini Noodles
1) The Proportions are Flexible – The recipe card at the bottom of this post offers a proportion to start you off, but honestly, the exact ratio of pasta to zoodles is absolutely variable. There’s no need to be precise.
You can change the ratio up depending on how much zucchini you happen to have, or how much your family starts to
like love zucchini noodles after a few tries!
2) The Cooking Time Is Flexible, Too – We don’t exactly “cook” the zoodles for this recipe, other than letting the boiling pasta water stream over them as the pasta drains. That gives the zoodles the perfect consistency, in our opinion. They’re not too soft – they’ve still got a tiny bit of toothsome life left in them. But they are a little bit softer – not totally crunchy-fresh. They’re also perfectly warmed through.
If your family prefers their zoodles more cooked, you can simply toss the zoodles right into the pasta pot during the last two or three minutes that your pasta is cooking. Or, if you like crunchier zoodles, you can wait to mix them into the hot pasta until after you’ve drained off all the boiling water, stirring the zoodles through just before serving.
One thing I’ve found about zoodles – they’re super-adaptable. You’ve got choices!
The first choice is the very easiest, though. Choose to make this zoodle recipe tonight!
- 1 (9-10 ounce) zucchini
- 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
- your favorite pasta sauce, warmed
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and oil.
Meanwhile, make the zoodles: First, remove the zucchini's stem. Then, using a spiralizer's spaghetti blade, spiralize the zucchini (which should yield about 8 ounces / 3 cups of zoodles).
Place zoodles in the bottom of the colander where you will drain off the boiling pasta water. When the pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta over top of the zoodles in the colander.
Toss zoodles and pasta together to combine, and place in a serving bowl, topped with your favorite sauce.
Zoodle texture: We prefer this method of "cooking" the zoodles, simply by allowing the hot pasta cooking water to drain over the zoodles as you strain the pasta. It warms the zoodles and softens them slightly without overcooking. If you prefer your zoodles more cooked, however, you can add the spiralized zucchini to the pasta pot in the last 2-3 minutes that your pasta is cooking. Alternately, if you prefer your zucchini noodles more al dente, you can wait to toss them with the cooked pasta after the pasta has been drained.
Make ahead tips: You can spiralize your zucchini up to a day ahead and refrigerate until using. Also, the cooked pasta and zucchini rewarms beautifully for leftovers.