Zucchini sometimes referred to as courgette is a squash that originated from Italy in early 1800. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family together with cucumbers and melons.
It is classified botanically as a fruit although it is mostly seen as a vegetable. It could be of assorted colors ranging from yellow to dark green. This plant is used in alternative medicine for the treatment of aches and colds.
Zucchini noodles also are known as zoodles is simply zucchini that is spiralized (sliced into long spiral strands) or cut into thin slices.
This makes them look like noodles and they can be used to prepare a lot of dishes.
How to Make Zucchini Noodles with Cuisinart Food Processor
Using the Cuisinart food processor, quite a number of fruits and vegetables can be spiralized easily and used in the preparation of a variety of dishes.
These spiralized vegetables can be used to substitute pasta in dishes for a healthier dish rich in vitamins and minerals.
Also, colorful spiralized fruits and vegetables can add more beauty and nutrition to dishes and salad, turning it into something extraordinary.
The accessory parts needed to spiralize zucchini in a Cuisinart food processor are
- Spiralizer pusher
- Spiralizer cover
- Spiralizer disc (spaghetti, angel hair or ribbon cut)
- Spiralizer disc holder
The Spiralizer has three discs used in slicing fruits and vegetables. They are the Angel hair, Ribbon Cut, and Spaghetti Cut discs.
The Angel Hair Disc is used to make very thin noodle-like slices. The Spaghetti Cut disc is used to cut the vegetables and fruits into long thin slices while the Ribbon Cut disc is used to make wider slices.
It is best to use firm vegetables and fruits. Once the desired amounts of sliced food in the food processor bowl accumulates, it is best to empty the work bowl before spiralizing more food.
Video: How To Use The Cuisinart Food Spiralizer
Zucchini noodles can be made using the following simple steps:
Insert the stem adapter into the food processor bowl. Place the spiralizer disc holder into the stem adapter. When the disc holder is secured in place, insert the preferred disc and spin till it locks into place.
Trim the zucchini top and bottom to make sure that both ends are flat. Put it into the Spiralizer Feed Tube and use the Spiralizer Pusher to push it into onto the Spiralizer Disc.
Press the Power button and turn to High or Low to increase or reduce the speed. When you are done or the work bowl is full, press the OFF button and open the cover.
Remove the food scraps on the disc and pusher and replace them then continue with spiralizing the remaining foods.
Clean the work bowl and the accessories after use. All Cuisinart workpieces are dishwasher safe.
How to Make Zucchini Noodles Without A Food Processor
Using A Handheld Spiralizer
- Cut off the ends of the zucchini plant and insert it into the spiralizer
- Hold the zucchini steady with one hand while twisting the spiralizer handle with the other hand.
Using a Julienne Peeler
This method makes uneven zoodles and making very long strands can be impossible. To make zoodles using a julienne peeler, run the zucchini over the blades of the peeler to create thin strands.
Using a Knife
This is the least recommended method. This is because it can take a lot of time, produce uneven zoodles, and take a lot of effort to slice the zucchini thinly.
Benefits of Zucchini
Rich in Nutrients
Zucchini contains lots of vitamins like vitamins A, B1, B6, B9, C, and K. It also contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese, and copper. It also contains proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber.
However, cooked zucchini has a higher amount of vitamin A than raw zucchinis.
Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are plant compounds that help the body to get rid of free radicals that cause oxidative stress and inflammations in the body.
Zucchini contains some antioxidants such as carotenoids, especially in its skin. The quantity of carotenoid present in yellow zucchinis are relatively higher. Some of the carotenoids present in zucchini are beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
These carotenoids help to improve eyesight, heart health, skin, and also prevent the growth of tumors.
Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Due to its lower carb content, it is a healthier alternative to pasta, thereby helping to reduce the intake of sugar. This low carb consumption can help to stabilize the blood sugar and prevent the incidence of diabetes.
Since the blood sugar spikes after intake of a carbohydrate meal, the presence of more fruits and vegetables in a meal can prevent this from happening.
Studies also show that extracts from the peels of zucchini contain antioxidants that can increase insulin sensitivity and prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
Consuming zucchini can help the body to digest food properly and efficiently. It contains a high amount of water that can soften excreta, and it is also rich in fiber.
Zucchinis contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber dissolves in the gastrointestinal tract and feeds the ‘good’ bacteria living there. These bacteria, in turn, produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that make the abdominal walls healthier.
These SCFAs can also help to prevent inflammations and reduce the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease (IBD).
The insoluble fiber, on the other hand, makes the food in the gut bulkier. This makes stool easier to pass through the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the occurrence of constipation.
Contributes to Heart Health
Research has confirmed that the consumption of fiber could help to maintain a healthy cardiac and vascular system.
Zucchini contains a fiber known as pectin that can help in reducing the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) present in the blood. This, in turn, lowers the cholesterol level of the body.
Also, the antioxidants present in zucchini can help the body to fight against inflammations that might occur in the heart or the blood vessels.
Zucchini also contains potassium which is believed to help in the dilation of blood vessels. This helps in reducing the blood pressure and prevent all the heart diseases associated with it.
Aids in Vision
Zucchini is believed to help in brighter vision. This is because it is rich in manganese, vitamin A and C, which are important nutrients for healthy eyes.
The antioxidants present in zucchini, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, can help in maintaining the retina and prevent eye diseases.
These antioxidants can also slow down the processes that lead to poor or loss of eyesight in old age.
Helps in Weight Loss
Adding zucchini in your diet might help in weight loss. This is because of its high water and fiber content which reduces its calorific value.
Its high fiber content might help to keep the stomach fuller for longer and prevents hunger pangs longer than low fiber foods.
Since the high intake of fruits and vegetables is recommended during weight loss regimes, incorporating zucchinis in your diet is a great idea.
My Favorite Zoodles Recipes
There are so many ways you can cook zoodles. They can even be eaten without cooking them at all. Cooking zucchinis moderately does not strip it of its nutrients.
There are different ways you can make your zoodles. Some of them are
i. Raw. Spiralize your zucchinis and add to a salad or toss into any dressing of your choice. Mine is the lemon vinaigrette. (Recipe Below)
ii. Sautéed. Simply spiralize the zucchinis and prepare a sauce of your choice. Cook then slightly in the sauce and voila!
iii. Microwaved. Place the zoodles in a microwave, heat for a minute. Pour your favorite sauce over it and enjoy it.
iv. Baked. Use your favorite baked pasta dish recipe. Simply substitute the pasta with low-carb, fiber-rich zucchinis.
There are over 950 zucchini recipes but let us look at my favorites. I recommend slightly salting and draining the zoodles with a paper towel before cooking them. This will make them firmer after cooking.
Chicken Zoodle Soup
- ½ pound spiralized zucchini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 celery stalk
- ½ pound boneless chicken breast, skinless and cubed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- Ground black pepper
- ½ onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and heat it up. Add the chicken, salt, and ground pepper and cook until it is done or golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pot and add the diced carrots, chopped onions, minced garlic, and chopped celery stalks.
- Cook the carrots until it is tender, stirring continuously. Add the rosemary and thyme and cook till the aroma is pronounced.
- Add the chicken stock and mix thoroughly. Then add the bay leaf and a cup of water. Allow it to boil before adding the chicken and the spiralized zucchini.
- Cook under low heat until the zucchini is tender. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot.
Chicken Zoodles with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 1-pound Zoodles
- ½ pound chicken, cooked and flaked
- 40oz sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups of cream
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Flaked red chili
- Dried basil
- Salt to taste
- Over medium heat, heat up the butter in a skillet.
- Add the chicken flakes, sprinkle with a little salt and fry till they are brown and well cooked.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Sauté until the aroma is pronounced.
- Cook on low heat and add the cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, red chili flakes, and basil to taste. Cook until the cheese melts properly.
- Add the zoodles and stir. Cook under low heat until the zoodles are tender to your taste.
- Serve immediately.
Stir-Fry Zoodles with Chicken
- 3 large spiralized zucchinis
- 9 ounces peeled prawns
- 9 ounces boneless chicken, deskinned
- 2 ounces bean shoots
- 2 large eggs, whisked and salted
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3.5 ounces steamed snow peas
- 1 deseeded and sliced red bell pepper
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoon rice wine
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- Curry powder to taste
- 2 shallots, green for garnish
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, ginger, and garlic together. Stir vigorously.
- Wipe the prawns dry with a paper towel and pour the mixture on them.
- Mix the prawns with the sauce to get an even coat. Allow it to rest.
- Cut the chicken into strips and mix it with the sauce. Set it aside.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oil in a skillet and heat on high. Add the whisked eggs and make an omelet.
- Tear the omelet into pieces and set aside.
- Stir-fry the chicken strips mixed with sauce for 5 minutes. Remove them from the skillet and set aside
- Using another teaspoon of oil, stir fry the prawns until they turn pink or are well cooked. Set them aside.
- Add the remaining olive oil into the skillet and heat on high. Add the curry powder and stir till the flavor is pronounced. Add the vegetables and stir fry until they are soft especially the snow beans.
- Add the zoodles and stir fry until they begin to soften and ooze out water.
- Add the chicken, prawns, and eggs and stir. Add salt to taste.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and shallots.
- Serve hot.
Raw Zoodles with Tomatoes and Pesto
- 4 medium-sized zucchinis, spiralized
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
- Black pepper to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
- Prepare pesto by pulsing the cheese, basil, garlic, pepper, and salt in a food processor while adding olive oil slowly. Set aside.
- Cut the spiralized zucchinis into shorter strands if they are too long.
- Toss the spiralized zucchini with the pesto and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.
- 2 medium zucchinis, spiralized and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 white onions, spiralized
- 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet.
- Add the spiralized onions and cook until it is tender
- Add the spiralized zucchinis and stir continuously. Cook till it is slightly tender.
- Add the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and sesame seeds and stir.
- Cook till the zucchinis are tender as desired.
- Remove from heat and serve.
Zoodles with Shrimps
- 20 ounces zucchini, spiralized
- 1-pound shrimps, peeled
- 2 cup tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup corn kennels
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Lemon zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Kosher salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil together. Set it aside.
- Coat a baking sheet thinly with oil or a cooking spray.
- Mix olive oil, salt, minced garlic, and pepper in a bowl. Throw in the dressed shrimps and tomatoes and coat them with the seasoning mix.
- Place the coated shrimps on the baking sheet and place in the preheated oven.
- Roast the shrimps and tomatoes till the shrimps are pink and well cooked. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Place the spiralized zucchini in a bowl and pour the roasted shrimps, tomatoes, and corn kernel onto it.
- Pour the lemon vinaigrette on top of the zucchini salad and gently combine.
- Serve immediately.
How to Store Zucchini Noodles
Keep unwashed whole zucchini in a fridge perforated or loosely tied plastic bag. It can stay for up to a week. If you want to freeze whole zucchinis, blanch them first. This will prevent them from turning brown when frozen.
Zucchini noodles can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 4 days. Put them in a plastic bag, plastic cylinder, or a glass container. To keep the zoodles from becoming soft, line the container with paper towels to absorb the moisture oozing from the zucchini.
Zoodles can be frozen but when they thaw, they become soft and mushy and might not be pleasant enough to be used as a salad. It could still be good enough to be eaten with sauce.