Learn how to make healthy zucchini noodles with this easy 15-minute recipe! A step-by-step guide to the process of spiralizing and cooking zoodles to create a tasty gluten-free pasta.
Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, are packed with nutrients and is a great way to make healthy all-vegetable pasta. With only 5 ingredients, the recipe is easy to prepare, and the result is also gluten-free for those with specific dietary restrictions.
There are multiple ways to cut the zucchini, no matter if you have a chef’s knife or a fancy spiralizer. There should be no excuse for why you can’t enjoy a big bowl of zucchini noodles! Just a quick saute in olive oil, garlic, and a sprinkling of salt & pepper adds the perfect pop of flavor to make each bite irresistible and satisfying.
How to make zucchini noodles
Zucchini is an incredibly versatile ingredient with its tender flesh and neutral and subtly sweet flavor. Not only does it taste good, but the nutritional benefits of zucchini are also impressive. There’s no need to peel the zucchini before cooking, as the dark green skin is very thin and helps it hold its shape.
The right way to select zucchini
- Make sure that the flesh is firm and the surface is free from significant defects like large indents.
- Select large-sized zucchini for maximum yield, but not too much flesh. Zucchini is high in moisture content, so overly large zucchini has a lot of flesh and can become soggier after cooking when not connected to the skin. This is more of an issue with homegrown zucchini.
- Don’t limit yourself, yellow summer squash and Mexican squash work well too!
Different ways to create zucchini noodles
- Chefs Knife: Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut long thin strips of zucchini noodles. About 1/4-inch wide or smaller is recommended.
- Vegetable Peeler: Run a vegetable peeler down the length of the zucchini to create thin ribbons. A Y-peeler works great!
- Julienne Peeler: Particular julienne peelers that have smaller teeth to create thin strips of vegetable, about 1/8-inch thick, and work well for zucchini noodles.
- Handheld Spiralizer: Cut both ends off the zucchini and use a twisting motion to create zucchini noodles, just like a big pencil sharpener.
- Countertop Spiralizer: These handy larger units give more noodle size and shape options. Cut off both ends, position in the spiralizer, select the cut type and turn the crank. It’s easy to learn how to use a spiralizer, for fast, and curly noodles!
Not only do I use these methods for zucchini, but they are also great for sweet potato noodles too! Now that the noodles are ready, it’s time to get cooking!
How to cook zucchini noodles
When zucchini is cut into thin strips, it makes cooking the vegetable very quick! However, cooking time will increase slightly if more extensive pieces or larger shapes are used, especially in the spiralizer.
To infuse more flavor into the recipe, garlic is cooked briefly in olive oil to enhance the aromatics and taste. All you need is 30 seconds in the pan, and you can instantly smell the wonderful savory aromas.
The zoodles are then added to the skillet and cooked over medium heat, and sauteed until tender. Just like pasta, the zucchini noodles should be al dente. Take a bite to check for doneness.
I like to keep the recipe simple, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and minced parsley. However, you can add ripe tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, plant-based proteins, or toss it in a pesto sauce for variety.
I’d love to hear your experience in making zucchini noodles and what other ingredients you add to jazz them up!
More vegetarian recipes
Do not salt raw zucchini
The moment the zucchini is cut, the cell walls of the plant open, exposing the water contained inside the flesh. Over time, the cut vegetable will release moisture, especially the smaller it’s cut because more surface area is created. This is often seen with the pool of water collected from grated zucchini when making zucchini bread. Adding salt draws out even more water, so do not season with salt until the end of cooking to prevent a mushy texture.
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- 2 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon minced parsley
- Wash the zucchini and cut off the ends.
- Place zucchini in the handheld or countertop spiralizer unit. Select the cut size on the unit and cut noodles.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add one teaspoon garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the zucchini noodles and saute for 5 minutes, until just tender and al dente.
- Taste the noodles and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Garnish zucchini noodles with parmesan cheese and parsley.
- The noodles can also be cut into thin 1/4-inch wide strips using a chef's knife if a spiralizer is not available.
- Double the recipe if you're making more of an entree-sized serving 4 people, instead of as a side dish of zucchini noodles.
- MAKE IT WHOLE30, VEGAN and DAIRY FREE: Omit the parmesan cheese and use sea salt.
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