How To Make Zucchini Noodles: 4 Ways

How To Make Zucchini Noodles: 4 Ways

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Meghan Splawn
Jul 18, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Our love for "zoodles" — the nickname for noodles made from fresh zucchini — peaks in the summer, when this tender and sweet pasta alternative is just right for no-cook dinners and lighter suppers.

If you think zucchini noodles are only for folks with a spiralizer, think again! These noodles can be made with tools you already have on hand in the kitchen or with a smaller investment (space- and dollar-wise) than you might think. Here are four ways to make zucchini noodles.

What Are Zucchini Noodles?

Zucchini noodles are made from raw zucchini that have been spiralized or cut into long, thin strips until they resemble spaghetti. Spiralized vegetables have grown in popularity over the last decade, with the rise in alternative diets that omit grain-based pastas.

Zucchini is arguably the most popular, as it is easy to spiralize, inexpensive, and neutral in flavor.

The Best Zucchini for Spiralizing

Although almost any zucchini can be turned into zoodles, small- and medium-sized zucchini are best for all-around flavor. If all you have are very large zucchini, stop spiralizing as you get close to the seedy center — noodles from the seeds of large zucchinis can be bitter and don't hold up as well to cooking and eating.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Tools of the Zucchini Noodle Trade

A spiralizer is a special piece of equipment that turns almost any vegetable into long, thin strands that resemble noodles. You don't have to have a spiralizer to turn zucchini into noodles, though. You can also use a handheld spiralizer, a julienne peeler, or a mandoline to make zucchini noodles at home — we'll show you how!

Spiralizer: Best for Making Lots of Noodles

If you've got room to store a small piece of kitchen equipment and you'll be making veggie noodles regularly, a spiralizer truly is the best tool for the job. Spiralizers work well for both large and small zucchinis as well as other veggies like cucumbers, beets, carrots, and even broccoli stalks.

Spiralizers We Love

Care for your spiralizer: 3 Tips for Cleaning Your Spiralizer

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Handheld Spiralizer: Best for Small-Space Dwellers

These compact spiralizers come in a few different forms, but most take up a tiny footprint when compared to their full-sized counterparts. These handheld spiralizers are best for smaller vegetables, as most have a small opening for spiralizing.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Julienne Peeler: Best for the Occasional Zoodler

A julienne peeler is a Y-shaped vegetable peeler with blades that slice the vegetables as it peels away. They aren't quite as strong and require more muscle when noodling sturdy vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots. Keep in mind that a peeler and a mandoline will give you straight rather than curled vegetable noodles.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Mandoline: The Multitasker That Also Makes Zoodles

Mandolines are an indispensable kitchen tool that we use to slice foods into a variety of cuts. Because many are flat, their compact shape makes them easy to store. I love a mandoline for making lasagna-like zucchini noodles, but most have a julienne blade you can attach for more spaghetti-like noodles. The Benriner Mandoline is one of our favorites and you can often find it in your local Asian market for less than you can buy it online.

Cooking and Serving Zucchini Noodles

  • For raw zoodles: Salt raw noodles destined for sauce and set in a colander for 10 minutes to soften the noodles and draw out some of their moisture. Rinse the noodles and pat dry before saucing.
  • For cooked zoodles: Sauté zucchini noodles over medium-high heat for three minutes until softened. Season, and toss the sauce and other vegetables as desired.

How To Make Zucchini Noodles: 4 Ways

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 1

    large or 2 small zucchini

  • Equipment

Instructions

With a regular spiralizer (small zucchini):

  1. Prepare the zucchini. Rinse and dry the zucchini. Use a knife to trim off the stem end of the zucchini.

  2. Spin the zucchini through the spiralizer. Fit the spiralizer with the noodle blade. Secure the zucchini by fitting the stem end into the food holder (this will look like a sharp circle in the middle of the noodle blade), then pierce the other end of the zucchini into the turning handle until it is secure. Use the spiralizer's crank to turn the zucchini into noodles.

With a handheld spiralizer (small zucchini)

  1. Prepare the zucchini. Rinse and dry the zucchini. Use a sharp knife to trim off the stem end of the zucchini.

  2. Make the zucchini noodles with the handheld spiralizer. Insert the trimmed stem end into the handheld spiralizer and twist until the vegetable catches. Turn the zucchini and the spiralizer in opposite directions to create the zucchini noodles.

With a mandoline (large zucchini):

  1. Prepare the zucchini. Rinse and dry the zucchini. Use a knife to trim off the stem end of the zucchini.

  2. Slice the zucchini into noodles with the mandoline. Fit the mandoline with the julienne blade. Gently slide the zucchini lengthwise down the mandoline blade to create long, thin strips.

With a julienne peeler (large zucchini):

  1. Prepare the zucchini. Rinse and dry the zucchini. Use a knife to trim off the stem end of the zucchini.

  2. Peel the zucchini using the julienne peeler. Hold the peeler against one side of the zucchini and gently peel the zucchini into noodles. Peel 2 to 3 swipes on one side and then turn the zucchini a quarter turn and repeat peeling a few passes of noodles and turning the vegetable.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Raw zucchini noodles can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

For raw zoodles: Salt raw noodles destined for sauce in a colander for 10 minutes to soften the noodles and draw out some of their moisture. Rinse the noodles and pat dry before saucing.

For cooked zoodles: Sauté zucchini noodles over medium-high heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Season and toss with sauce and other vegetables as desired.

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