Gluten-free consumers have gotten used to a growing variety of pastas, made from corn, rice, quinoa, chickpeas or a combination of products, some from mainstream pasta makers.
But who would have predicted that pasta made from vegetables would become the hot new trend and fit so nicely in the gluten-free diet? Thanks to a few ingenious kitchen tools everything from zucchini to carrots and beets is being turned into a new kind of noodle.
Noodles made out of vegetables are often called spiralized vegetables because of the way they are made. When zucchini is used, the end result is referred to as zoodles. This healthy new kind of pasta is popping up in recipes all over the Internet, from Instagram to Facebook and Twitter.
A number of companies offer products to turn produce into pasta, but they come in two basic types—a simpler hourglass-shaped spiralizer or a spiralizer with a crank and several blades.
One of the most popular options is the Veggetti, an hourglass version available on Amazon.com for about $15, as well as at in Bed Bath & Beyond and some supermarkets. In a matter of minutes, the gadget can turn zucchini into spaghetti for tonight’s dinner. Another version of this style, the Spiralizer, is also sold at Amazon.com for about $14. The Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer, available on Amazon.com for about $29, is a popular upscale spiralizer.
If you’re looking to save storage space and like simpler kitchen tools, a julienne vegetable peeler such as the Precision Kitchenware tool for about $9 at Amazon.com, creates thin vegetable sticks that can also be used as pasta.
In addition to being fun to make, spiralized vegetables have a nutritional advantage over most pasta. “The nutrition benefits of any noodles made out of vegetables will be the same as a steamed or cooked version of the vegetable,” says Lauren Slayton, a register dietitian who is director of Foodtrainers in New York City.
Greta Breskin, a registered dietitian based in North Carolina, says it’s important to pick vegetables that pack a strong nutrition punch. “I recommend using a variety of bright-colored vegetables like beets, carrots and purple potatoes to increase the variety of phytonutrients on your plate,” says Breskin.
In addition to having a good vitamin and fiber profile, spiralized vegetables have fewer calories than bean, corn, quinoa and other gluten-free pastas. “From a caloric standpoint,” Slayton says, “spiralized vegetables are a home run.”
Plus, they’re an excellent way to get kids eating veggies. “Letting kids help out with transforming vegetables into noodles can be an effective way to expose them to new foods. If they are involved with making it, they are more likely to try it,” Breskin says.
Now, this is how you get oodles of (healthy) noodles. From spaghetti to lasagna, it’s hard not to love traditional noodles, but for #NationalNoodleDay, we’re taking a different approach to one of our favorite carbo-loading sources.
Instead of regular pasta, we’re making an unconventional swap and replacing our favorite noodles with some of the season’s most in-demand vegetables. Just grab a spiralizer or slicer and get to work.
The founder of the Inspiralizer, has made the vegetable-for-noodle swap and never looked back. “It makes me more aware of the foods that I’m putting into my body, since it involves a lot of fresh produce,” Maffucci tells Rodale Wellness. “[Spiralizing] encourages me to eat locally and very seasonally. I have never had that ‘go-to’ [dish] before, so I would easily make the decision to order takeout or eat something that wouldn’t nourish my body nearly as much as that bowl of spiralized veggies.”
Now, she’s all about veggie noodles. “If you aren’t sure it’s for you, a great way to ease into it is by replacing half of the spaghetti with a spiralized vegetable,” she adds. “Squeeze in more veggies and halve the amount of processed spaghetti in the meal. I promise, you won’t miss it!” (Try this fancy pot to cook both to perfection)
Cooked rigatoni pasta (27%), cooked seared chicken strips (18%), chopped tomatoes, water, roasted courgette (7%), cherry tomatoes (5%), fat free yogurt (milk), tomato paste, diced onion, roasted yellow pepper (4%), basil, chicken bouillon, garlic purée, maize starch, vegetable stock, oregano, black pepper, sweetener (sucralose).
Cooked rigatoni pasta contains: water, durum wheat semolina.
Cooked seared chicken strips contain: chicken breast (97%), chicken bouillon (sugar, tapioca starch, spices, chicken powder (chicken, flavouring), yeast extract, salt, sunflower oil, dried parsley), modified tapioca starch, salt, smoke flavouring.
Chopped tomatoes contain: tomatoes, tomato juice.
Chicken bouillon contains: salt, yeast extract, potato starch, flavouring, chicory extract, chicken stock (dried chicken, onion powder, carrot extract, leek extract), sunflower oil, dried sage, dried lovage, white pepper.