Everything you need to know about spiralizing your vegetables
The vegetable spiralizer. It’s become one of the hot new kitchen gadgets in the last few years, but will it collect dust alongside your bread maker and fondue pot, or revolutionize the way you eat vegetables?
If you haven’t yet heard of this natty gadget, it transforms vegetables into long noodles or ribbons. Not only can you impress your friends with your great food presentation skills, but it’s also a handy way to increase your vegetable intake (and let’s be honest, most of us could do with a little help in that department).
Your newly created spirals can be used as a substitute for spaghetti or noodles. They make an awesome looking salad, and because we’re visual eaters, they make vegetables more appealing to kids (or even fussy adults). Vegetable noodles are also fun to make and can be a great way to get kids involved in preparing food.
What types of spiralizers are there?
There’s basically two different types of spiralizers on the market. The first is handheld where you put the vegetable into the gadget and screw it though like a pencil sharpener, to create the noodles. The piece of vegetable needs to be around 5 cm long and about 5 cm in diameter so they’re good for small quantities (like a lunchbox serve). But it can be pretty laborious if you wanted to make enough noodles to feed a whole family.
The second type sits on the bench top and can handle a whole vegetable. They come in either vertical or horizontal models. The vegetable is held in place with a spike and then you turn a handle to twist it through a blade and out comes the noodles. Not only can you do larger quantities, the benchtop models usually have different settings to change the thickness and shape of the noodles and spirals.
But if you’re not ready to take the plunge and buy a spiralizer, you can still spiralize. Try cutting the vegetable into long thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Then for a noodle finish, take a sharp knife and cut the ribbons into thin strips.
So, what can you spiralize?
Some vegetables are certainly better than others, and some definitely shouldn’t be attempted at all. If it’s firm, it will work much better. Soft vegetables (like tomatoes) are just going to turn into a big mushy mess, so don’t even go there. If it’s hollow in the middle (like a capsicum), you’ve got nothing to spike it on to, so don’t go there either. And veggies like beans, well that’s just not going to work.
You want to stick with firm, long and cylindrical types of veggies, not too wide or they won’t fit through the machine. The options are a plenty.
To get you going, zucchini is the classic spiralized veggie. Also known as “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) or if you’re British you can call them “courgetti” (courgette spaghetti). Other popular options are carrots and cucumber (or “coodles”), radish (or “roodles”…have we gone too far?) and sweet potato (“spoodles”…yep, let’s stop there). Other good options to try are beetroot, broccoli stalks and potato. Fruit like apples and pears can also work well.
How do you cook your spiralized vegetables?
If you want to keep it really simple, you don’t need to cook them at all. Just eat them raw. They’re a great addition to a lunchbox or a salad with your favourite dressing.
But if you do want to step it up, noodles can be sautéed lightly in a little oil, roasted in the oven or boiled. Whatever your chosen method of cooking, remember your veggies (or fruit) will only need a fraction of the time than normal, because they are super thin.
What to make with your spiralizer
Here’s just a few ideas to get you started…
Make your Bolognese sauce as you normally would but just substitute the pasta with your zucchini noodles. Cook your sauce and then mix through the raw zucchini. The sauce will warm up your noodles and soften them without cooking. You might find they have a little crunch left though, so you could boil the noodles for about two minutes to soften them lightly. If you think the kids are going to baulk at zucchini noodles, combine them with spaghetti (just add the raw noodles to the pot for the last couple of minutes) and see if the kids can tell the difference.
Try this with potatoes or sweet potatoes. Pre-heat an oven to 200 C. Spiralize the potatoes into thick noodles and toss through some olive oil and a little salt. Line an oven tray with aluminum foil and wipe with more oil. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and slightly crispy. Tip: make sure you keep your eyes on your fries! Oven temperatures do vary and they can burn quickly if left too long.
Spiralizers are not just for vegetables, remember they work on some fruit as well. Turn a couple of apples into noodles. You can cook them lightly in sweetened boiling water or leave raw. Make a crumble from oats, flour and cinnamon, sprinkle over the apples and bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes until golden.
So is it a kitchen dust collector? While a spiralizer probably isn’t going to totally revolutionize your cooking, it will certainly help you make some interesting creations plus have a whole lot of fun doing it.
Want to start spiralizing? Pick up a spiralizer from any good online kitchen store, then log on to BuyFruit and select your fruit and vegetables. You’ll have fresh produce delivered to your door, ready to start spiralizing.