If you are not spiralizing your vegetables for healthy pasta alternatives and delicious (and beautiful looking) salads you are missing out!
I’ll admit I only joined the party just recently.
Since finding out about spiralizing and how delicious food prepared in that way can be, I bought myself the best spiralizer I could afford and have been spiralizing away ever since!
I wrote a post on the best vegetables to spiralize here but since then I’ve received some questions about which are the best vegetables to spiralize especially when you first start out.
There are many health benefits to spiralizing vegetables. Spiralized food is a great alternative to regular flour-based pasta and noodles, and it’s also an easy and effective way to increase your intake of vegetables.
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What is spiralizing?
Spiralizing vegetables is a delicious way to turn them into vegetable-based spaghetti or noodles. By doing so, you create a naturally low-calorie alternative to pasta. If you are following a gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, keto, vegan or vegetarian diet, these types of noodles are perfect.
Spiralizers originated in Japan and now seem to be pretty commonplace in the western world too. They are very handy items to have in your kitchen especially if you love to meal prep.
You can easily buy ‘spiralizing’ machines of all different types very cheaply. I was very surprised at how affordable my recent five-blade spiralizer was. It now sits on my kitchen worktop permanently because I use it too often to bother putting it away.
Which veggies work best for spiralizing?
I found that firm veggies, work best for spiralizing.
For example, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and sweet potatoes work really well. There is no need to remove the skin unless you want to.
Cucumber works well too depending on the type of machine you have. I found cucumbers didn’t work well with the manual spiralizer I had initially.
Softer foods like tomatoes are better off sliced. If you buy a five-blade spiralizer, you can slice softer food like tomatoes with the straight blade attachment.
The types of spiralizer you can buy
Which vegetable spiralizer is best? There are lots of different ones to choose from.
I’ll admit that initially, I wasn’t sure if buying a spiralizer was worth it. But, I’m now very glad I took the plunge and bought one. This is the spiralizer I now have and love. It can tackle both big and small veggies from a large savoy cabbage down to a small carrot, and it works very quickly too by simply turning the handle.
If you don’t have space for a large version like that one, or you want to go for something simpler, there are lots of different kinds to choose from.
Here is a quick rundown on the types of spiralizer you can buy.
Windup 5 blade spiralizer
This is the exact version from Amazon that I purchased recently. It comes with 5 blades, although so far I’ve only used the spaghetti, angel hair and straight blade (for salad-making).
Manual (handheld) spiralizer
There are lots of manual versions which are good for occasional use. This is the version I also have and it worked just fine for firm veggies. It was no good for softer kinds of food though, like cucumbers.
4 in 1 manual spiralizer
A step up is this 4 in 1 one manual version. There is no need to change the blade on this one, just press a button.
How to spiralize vegetables
Step 1 – Wash your vegetables
Usually, you will want to wash vegetables before you start.
Step 2 – Peel and top/tail
Peeling isn’t absolutely necessary (I never do it). You can trim the ends too, but note that there will always be a stub of veg left at the end, so trimming isn’t always necessary.
Step 3 – Choose a blade
Depending on how you want your veggies cut, choose a blade to suit. Soft veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes can use a straight blade. Tougher veggies can be cut thinner using the spaghetti or angel-hair blade.
Check the directions for your particular model for which blade to select.
Step 4 – Start spiralizing
Again, this depends on your type of spiralizer. You will usually need to push the end of the vegetable onto the gripper. If you have a hand-held spiralizer, gently push the vegetable into it while twisting or turning the handle for table-top versions.
This is a great video on how to spiralize using a table-top spiralizer.
What if you don’t have a spiralizer?
Of course, you don’t need to buy a dedicated spiralizer tool. Just get a peeler instead.
This julienne peeler turns your food into noodle-like strips which are just as good as the specialised spiralizer, it just takes a little longer.
What are the top 5 vegetables to spiralize?
Now onto my top 5 veggies to spiralize!
Now I’ve chosen these because these are the ones that I tackled first when I initially got my spiralizer. All of these veggies turned out brilliantly and so are thoroughly recommended by me.
Zucchini (or courgette as we call them here in the UK) make a brilliant replacement for spaghetti because they have a mild flavour that goes well with the sauces you might typically pair with traditional flour-based pasta.
Currently, I have a very easy lunch recipe, where I fry some bacon lardons in a cast iron skillet for a few minutes and then add one spiralized zucchini. Stir to cook for a couple of minutes until you start to see some water come out.
Here is another recipe with spiralized zucchini which would make a great healthy lunch or dinner.
Spiralized carrots were one of the first veggies I tried. This is the salad I made with spiralized carrots, onions and cucumber. I added some sliced tomatoes on the top and some crumbled cheddar cheese.
The best blade for carrots in a salad like this is the ‘angel hair’ attachment. It’s thinner than the spaghetti blade which is perfect for raw vegetables.
Sweet potato works well for a noodle or spaghetti replacement. It will need more cooking than zucchinis. I don’t think you can get away with undercooked sweet potato-like you can with zucchini.
For cucumber, I make thinner noodles using the ‘angel hair’ blade or you could use the straight blade to make thick slices. These look so pretty!
Butternut squash is the perfect vegetable for making spaghetti. It is firm when it is raw, so very easy to spiralize, and it goes beautifully soft when cooked, very similar to real pasta but without the calories. I love it!
How to cook spiralized veggie spaghetti
Of course, normally you would boil traditional pasta for about 10-15 minutes. For spiralized zucchini noodles you can get away with frying gently in a pan. Zucchini takes just a few minutes to cook. Potatoes and sweet potatoes take longer.
You can also spread your noodles out on a baking tray with some oil and bake.