Zucchini noodles with tomato and feta

One of the best gifts I ever received was my spiralizer. It is the perfect kitchen tool for turning zucchini into noodles, or “zoodles.”

These colorful creations from carrots, yellow squash, zucchini and the like can be added to salads, side dishes and of course, to make an ideal pasta substitute for those of us on the grain-free bandwagon. You can top them with your favorite pasta sauce or experiment with the many recipes found on the web.

However, prepping your zoodles for pasta replacement (or any cooking) requires a few key tips to ensure satisfying versus soggy consistency.

Zoodles make exceptional additives for salads and side dishes

Spiralizers like the one pictured here can be found at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond or even Walmart (for under $20). They are a much better solution than the hand held twisters which can wear you out. I find that 2-3 medium size zuccs will provide a substantial zoodle meal for two.

Squash contains a lot of water naturally, so you want to absorb the fluid a bit to avoid a soggy supper. Once you spiralize, place the zoodles on a thin layer of paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Place a few more paper towels on top and pat them to absorb the water. Replace the top layer with fresh towels and then roll them up and place them in the fridge while you prep your toppings. You can do this for 5 minutes or up to an hour; the end result will be a crispier zoodle.

Once you’ve prepped your toppings (maybe sundried tomatoes with Kalamata olives, or feta cheese and basil), place about a ½ tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan and heat to medium-high. Remove the zoodles from the fridge, unroll, and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Cook larger portions in 2 or more batches so all are lightly cooked.

Remove from the pan and arrange directly on the plate before adding your sauce. I find that sauces with an olive oil base or thicker consistency work best, and you don’t need too much. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano (sheep’s milk cheese) and enjoy!

Feeling adventurous? Here is a great resource for unique and tasty zoodle recipes.

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