If the word ‘spiralize’ is new to you, then you are not alone because it was new to me too until quite recently.
Since I got my first spiralizer (which I will show you later) I have enjoyed delicious low calorie ‘pasta’ dishes and noodles. Plus, my family and I are relishing eating salads again!
The most common vegetable you will come across for spiralizing is courgette or zucchini (for US people).
To be quite honest if you are not a fan of zucchini you won’t get as much benefit from your spiralizer because zucchini is the absolute best for making a pasta or noodle replacement. It has the perfect texture and mild taste which means it can go really well with the types of sauces you would usually serve with spaghetti.
So, what are spiralized vegetables?
The spiralizer is a Japanese invention that has become very popular in the western world.
‘Spiralizing’ is the so-called term for processing vegetables and fruit into ribbons.
A spiralizer is especially good at creating vegetable-based noodles which are a super healthy alternative to flour-based pasta and noodles. It’s perfect if you are watching your weight, or have allergies to pasta.
Let’s take a look at the most common vegetable to spiralize, which, as I said, is zucchini.
To convert zucchini into noodles or spaghetti you run it through a spiralizer machine. There are several types of spiralizer machine (which I talk about later). It takes seconds to process one zucchini and at the end, you will have a pile of noodle-like strips.
Now you aren’t restricted to zucchini, you can make noodles with other vegetables too.
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What vegetables can be spiralized?
Now you may be wondering what kind of vegetables can be spiralized? Some vegetables spiralize better than others and they are:
As I said, zucchini is the most common veg to spiralize because it has a mild flavour, cooks in a matter of minutes and goes well with pasta sauces.
My favourite way to cook these is in a skillet with a little olive oil.
Next up is butternut squash which is another one of my favourites. Like zucchini, it has a mild flavour, but with added sweetness and a firmer texture. This veg is quite seasonal and I can’t often get it in my supermarket, but when it is available I grab it because it is so delicious.
Cucumber is a great one to spiralize with the angel hair blade. The angel hair blade makes thinner strips than the spaghetti blade which makes it great for salads.
I made this salad with carrot, cucumber, and onion cut on the angel hair spiralizer blade.
Carrots are the perfect crunchy addition to salads. I have to laugh when my boys eat it as the spiralized strands seem to go on forever, it’s tricky to find the end, and you start to look very silly!
Win! Ordinarily, I would never be able to get my boys to eat raw carrots in a salad, but they hardly notice them when they are spiralized.
I cut my carrots with the angel hair blade. You can lightly steam them or add them raw to a salad.
Sweet potato is perfect for spiralizing. I cut sweet potatoes on the spaghetti blade and then fry it in a skillet to have along with something like chicken curry (while my boys eat rice). It takes longer to cook in a skillet than zucchini, but you could also steam it in a pan with a small amount of water to make it cook quicker.
How to spiralize vegetables
It is super easy to spiralize veg and very quick too.
Step 1 – Wash and prepare
Wash your veg because you will usually spiralize them along with the skin.
If using a table-top spiralizer, chop off the ends, to make it easier to attach to the machine.
Step 2 – Select a blade
If you have a tabletop spiralizer then you will need to select a suitable blade. These are the blades you get with a typical five-blade spiralizer:
- Ribbon. Good for slicing anything very thinly such as cucumber.
- Spaghetti. Produces spaghetti or noodle-like strands.
- Angel hair. Use this when you need something finer than spaghetti.
- Fettuccine. Like the spaghetti blade but thicker.
- Curly Fries. Works well with potatoes. Makes fine fry-like cuts which you could then fry in oil to make fries or chips.
Step 3 – Insert your veg
This will be different depending on your type of spiralizer. Either you will twist it or attach it to the spiralizer machine so that it stays in place when you turn the handle.
Step 4 – Cook
Depending on the type of veg you will want to cook it by frying it in oil or steaming it in a pan with a small amount of water. Or you can add it raw to a salad.
Pro tip: You don’t have to cook your veg immediately you can also freeze your spiralized veg. Freezing veg works best if you are going to cook it afterwards rather than eat it raw.
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Types of spiralizer
To get your veg spiralized you will need a spiralizer of some sort. There are loads of different kinds you can buy from a simple julienne peeler up to a tabletop version.
The simplest spiralizer of them all is a julienne peeler which you can buy here very cheaply. Buying a simple peeler will get you started very quickly without having to spend much money. The downside is that it will take a bit of time to get your veggies prepared if you have a lot to do.
The next step up is a manual spiralizer that you hold in your hand. This will make it quicker for you, again without having to spend much money. I have one of these, and it is useful for times when I don’t want to get out the big spiralizer, plus it’s nice and small to take on self-catering holidays.
Up from a handheld, is a wind-up version with multiple blades. The advantage of having one of these is that it is super quick to get a lot done, and you can cut your veg in lots of different ways. For example, usually, there will be a spaghetti blade and a straight blade for thin cuts.
Here is my spiralizer which you can buy here at Amazon. I love it because it has 5 different blades, and it goes in the dishwasher. And the big one, it makes spiralizing effortless.
What veg are best for noodles?
Any veg that has a mild flavour and holds its shape when cut are great candidates for noodles. My favourites are zucchini, sweet potato, and butternut squash.
I find zucchini to be the best because it cooks the quickest and has the mildest flavour which means it never competes for other flavours you might wish to serve with it. This includes bolognese sauce. It also works well with Asian noodle dishes and spicy dishes.
Do you cook spiralized vegetables or do you eat them raw?
Both! Depending on the veg you would usually cook your spiralized veg, but if it is a salad based vegetable you can eat it raw.
Spiralized veg that is best cooked are zucchini, sweet potato, squashes and potatoes.
You can eat spiralized cucumber raw and carrot and onion both raw and cooked.
How to cook spiralized vegetables – three ways
Method 1 – Fry in a skillet
This is my favourite way to cook zucchini. Add a small amount of olive oil to a skillet and then add your spiralized zucchini. When it starts to wilt (water comes out) then it is cooked.
Method 2 – Steam
I have to stay I never use traditional steamers.
My preferred way is to add the veg to a saucepan with a small amount of water, clamp on a lid, and then cook gently until the water is gone or it is cooked.
I find it’s a great way to cook your veg ahead because if you switch off the heat when it is still slightly firm it will finish cooking slowly until you are ready to eat.
Method 3 – In a stew or soup
You can add spiralized veg directly into a stew or a soup, no need to precook. Because it is cut so thinly you should find that it cooks much quicker.