Have you ever used a spiralizer? My friend, Gregory Ciurczak, is a foodie–and also, like me, a carb lover. But now that he’s found the spiralizer, he’s got a new outlook and has the blog today with his post, Oodles of Zoodles.
by Gregory Ciurczak
Last month I came upon a nutritional blog post about zoodles and it caught my foodie attention, as well as, piqued my culinary fascination. First, I learned I am late to the zoodle game: they have been around for years. Regardless, the long, beautiful strands of zoodles are made with zucchini and created on a kitchen gadget called a spiralizer.
Second, my foodie attraction was further aroused by numerous recipes where I can substitute zoodles for pasta. And last, there are many vegetables and fruits which can be spiralized into similar pasta-like stands and replace the addictive carbs which have plagued my food regime.
I quickly began researching and learned plenty. There are numerous varieties of spiralizers from inexpensive handheld devices, like a veggie peeler, to horizontal hand turned devices and vertical electric processors. Online critiques revealed the handhelds do not consistently produce the desired long strands while other feedback specified the most important feature are steel blades on a study base. Therefore, I chose a heavy gauge plastic hand turned base [pic below] with five carbon steel blades at a $30 price point. Assorted blades make a variety of attractive pasta-like strands –fettuccine, linguini, spaghetti, ribbons & angel hair– and one blade creates chip-like pieces which are terrific for fruit.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the spiralizer is to operate but better yet how simple and quick it is to clean. Although dishwasher safe, it disassembles effortlessly, washes up easily and a good palm brush gets in-between the sharp steel blades.
All veggies are spiralized raw and in strands they cook up fast by boiling, baking or sauté. The internet offers abundant online recipe resources and besides zoodles, I’ve been spiralizing beets, butternut squash, yellow sweet potatoes, white onions, yams and white potatoes.
The zoodles are delightful in traditional pasta recipes, curries & soups; they are also terrific in stir fries but my favorite so far is pesto zoodles with garbanzo beans! I enjoy baking spiralized squash, beets and yams; intertwined they make a lovely salad with a light dressing or marry well as a side dish to many meat and/or fish recipes.
I know want you are thinking: do zoodles really taste like pasta? Clearly the answer is no. However, whichever veggie you spiralize, in its new strand pasta-like form, it does taste significantly different. It gives the veggie a refreshing new twist and besides a new appearance it also has a delicious different texture. Spiralized veggies also add a very creative twist to many of the standard recipes I have been making for years, which is inspirational.
And I am saving the best for last. In a time where many of us are trying to reduce calories and are desperately trying to eat less carbs, I truly believe I have found my solution to this food challenge. A very filling cup of zoodles contains 3.5 grams/carbs and 33 calories while a cup of plain cooked pasta comes in at 43 grams/carbs & 220 calories!
With that said, may the gastronomic force be zoodled with you. I’ve got my own recipe for a Thai red curry dish below.
If you love zoodles and have a good recipe I hope you’ll share in the Comments! Here’s Greg’s recipe:
Thai Red Curry w/ Zoodles, Shrimp, Tofu & Mushrooms
All truly authentic Thai curries [red, yellow, green] are made with a paste; you can purchase them in a grocery stores or prepare them yourself. If you make your own, left over paste can be stored in the freezer. Paste is made easily in a food processor or mortar/pestle plus the flavors are more vibrant, delicious and good for us without packaged preservatives.
1 cup red Thai curry paste [packaged or made at home]
or prepare your own red curry paste:
• 1 T coriander powder
• 1/2 T cumin powder
• 1 T fresh cilantro
• 4-6 sml dried whole red chiles
• 1 1/2 T fresh peeled ginger
• 1/4 c fresh garlic
• 4 T sliced lemongrass [use tender part inside stalk]
• 1 t salt
• 3 shallots
• 1 t fish sauce
• 1 T tablespoon chopped fresh kaffir leaves, kaffir powder or substitute lime juice
• 1-2 T olive oil as needed to blend paste
Blend all above ingredients in food processor or mortar/pestle, drizzle in oil if needed to acquire paste like consistency
1 med red bell pepper cut into small pieces
1 lg shallot chopped coarse
2T olive oil
1 14oz can coconut milk
1 medium zucchini spiralized
16 raw shrimp cleaned
1/2 block firm tofu cut into small cubes
8 oz thick sliced fresh white mushrooms
Garnish: Fresh chopped cilantro
Note: add 1c chicken stock to have a more broth like consistency.
1. In a large 12-inch non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat, add olive oil & red pepper; sauté until soft, three -four minutes; add chopped shallot and saute until soft, two minutes.
2. Add coconut milk [shake can well before opening], stir and cook until liquid starts to bubble.
3. Add the red curry paste, reduce heat to medium, stir until combined; simmer about three to four minutes.
4. Add the shrimp and sliced mushrooms, stir and cook two-three minutes until shrimp are pink.
5. Add the tofu, stir in gently and then add the zoodles/spirzalized zucchini; stir together and simmer five minutes [zoodles al dente and not mushy].
6. Ladle into bowl and garnish with cilantro.
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