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Have you ever wondered how to make courgette noodles without a spiralizer? Courgette and zucchini noodles have grown increasingly popular in recent years, especially among people hoping to reduce their carb intake and increase their portions of fresh produce. Cooking zucchini noodles or courgette noodles paves the way for a wide range of potential meal options, including Fettucine Alfredo with parmesan cheese or unique zucchini ribbons with spaghetti sauce.
Of course, before you can discover the benefits of raw or cooked zucchini noodles for yourself, you need to know how to turn your vegetables into thin noodles without a spiralizer. While a spiralizer is definitely the easiest way to create noodles out of sweet potatoes, zucchini, courgette, carrots, and a range of other vegetables, it’s not your only option.
If you’ve always wanted to try to make zucchini noodles but you’re not sure about buying a spiralizer just yet, there are some options you can try as an alternative. Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the best ways to make spiralized zucchini or courgette without a spiralizer.
How Do You Make Zucchini Noodles if You Don’t Have a Spiralizer?
If you don’t have a countertop spiralizer or a handheld spiralizer, you’ll need to find another way to transform your vegetables into thin strands of healthy noodles. The good news is that once you’ve learned how to turn zucchini into a pasta meal, you’ll have endless recipe options to experiment with, including al dente pasta options and unique sauce-based meals.
Zucchini or courgette noodles are surprisingly easy to make, particularly if you already have a mandoline slicer, potato peeler, box cheese grater, or something similar. Here are just some of your options for creating your vegetable noodles.
1. Using a Mandoline Slicer
Probably the most popular option for cooking zoodles instead of regular pasta, a mandoline slicer, otherwise known as a julienne blade, can make your final dish look just as good as if you used an official spiralizer. The mandoline is a pretty simple tool for most would-be chefs to use, and it’s great for creating flat noodles for your favourite sauce.
Perhaps the best thing about a mandoline slicer is that whether you’re cutting zucchini or sweet potato, you can adjust your julienne blade to the thickness that’s best for you. So you can choose if you want large zucchini noodles for a beefy stir fry or thin strips of zucchini paster instead.
Most people prefer to use thick strips of zucchini because they don’t dissolve as much in pasta sauce, marinara sauce and other recipe options. Thick zoodles are also more likely to maintain their shape when you cook them at medium-high heat.
There are two ways to turn your fresh zucchini into noodles. For instance, you can push the zucchini down the julienne blade lengthwise. Chopping the zucchini lengthwise will give you longer strips for your pasta. The alternative option is to twist the zucchini on the blade for faster, curly strips. If you love curly noodles, that’s probably the best option for you.
2. Using a Potato Peeler
If using a mandoline slicer for your zucchini pasta dish doesn’t work for you, there’s always the option to try your potato peeler instead. This way, you’re more likely to end up with thick ribbons rather than thin strips of zucchini or courgette.
One point in mind if you’re using a vegetable peeler instead of a julienne peeler to get your raw zucchini noodles, is you’ll need to use quite a bit of pressure. If your zucchini pasta is too thin because you don’t press the vegetable peeler down hard enough, it might dissolve in the olive oil or the sauce of your pasta dish.
A julienne peeler is another option and an alternative to both the potato peeler and the knife. However, once again, even with a medium zucchini or a large vegetable, you’re more likely to end up with thin zucchini pasta, which won’t appeal to everyone. Thick zucchini noodles are often much better.
Consider experimenting with your peeler for your zucchini noodles if you’re exploring options for creating vegetable noodles without a spiralizer. If the thin strips are too thin for your preferred zucchini noodles, you can try an alternative.
3. Using a Box Grater
Here’s another item you probably use quite often with products from the grocery store, which could be ideal for creating zucchini noodles. Once again, you’re going to get pretty thin zoodles here, which means they might dissolve quickly, even when you’re cooking at medium heat.
If you haven’t got any other options and you want to make zucchini noodles fast, even a box grater can do the trick, but you won’t get the most professional looking zoodles. It’s also worth noting that even if you grate your zucchini lengthways over paper towels, you’re going to get short noodles and a lot of moisture.
You can always try using the paper towels you have available to squeeze the extra moisture carefully out of your zucchini noodles before you cook them. However, grating your noodles will make it practically impossible to get al dente noodles from your vegetables if this is essential for your recipe.
How to Cook Zucchini Noodles
Learning how to make zoodles without a spiralizer is only the first step. Once you know how to make noodles and other vegetables, you’ll need to learn how to start using zucchini in place of your traditional pasta meals. There are tons of freer recipes out there to explore. However, before you start trying out a recipe, make sure you have all the equipment required. Some zucchini noodle recipe options advise things like cooking in a slow cooker.
Some of the best ways to cook the zucchini noodles without a spiralizer include:
- Sautéing your zoodles: One of the best ways to cook noodles is to sauté them in small batches in a small amount of oil. You can add things like minced garlic to add flavor, and the sauting process will help to remove the excess water from the thin strips of vegetables.
- Boiling: Similar to a standard pasta dish, you might choose to make your zucchini pasta by boiling your zoodles. This is a common choice if you’re cutting calories because you’re not using any oil. You’ll need to bring a pot of water to a boil with a small amount of salt and cook the zucchini noodles for about a minute.
- Cooking in the sauce: Another way to make zucchini noodles is to mix them with a little olive oil and the preferred sauce for your meal. When you make zucchini noodles in sauce, be careful not to let too much water escape into the mixture. You can simmer for a few minutes before the noodles are ready to serve.
- Eat them raw: You don’t have to cook zucchini or courgette noodles before you eat them. When you know how to make these noodles without a spiralizer, you can also make them as an afternoon snack or a healthy way to top up your lunch. Some people never cook zoodles because they say cooking them can cause the zucchini to lose some flavour.
- Microwave: You can cook zoodles in the microwave by blasting them for about 30 seconds. Remember, when you make zucchini noodles, you’re going to be dealing with a lot of moisture, so minimal time in the microwave is necessary. It might be worth leaving your zucchini noodles on a paper towel for half an hour or so before you start cooking them.
When you cook noodles, try to avoid cooking them in large batches as you might with a standard pasta meal. The more vegetables you add to your recipe, the more moisture you’re going to release into the pan. This often leads to a soggy mess. Salting your vegetables slightly when you make zoodles can be a good way to reduce the level of moisture in the pan.
It’s best to stick with at least a medium zucchini or a larger vegetable when you make zucchini noodles too. The larger the vegetable, the more scope you have to go lengthways down the product when you’re making your zucchini noodles, allowing you to create longer pieces of pasta. Be careful when using your different methods to make noodles without a spiralizer, especially when you’re applying pressure to make the noodles as thick as possible.
After you make zoodles, it’s best to find your recipe and get to work as soon as possible. Although you can freeze the zoodles you make to use them later, the level of moisture in these courgettes makes it difficult to maintain a good quality of flavour.
When you freeze your zoodles, cooking them afterwards will often lead to a soggier mess. If you do decide to freeze your noodles, try to cook them from frozen when the time comes to make your meal. Simply set your skillet or pan to medium heat and cook for around 8 minutes. If you’re boiling your noodles, frozen options will usually need around 2-5 minutes.
Most vegetable noodle fans prefer to make zucchini noodles al dente, so you’ll find most free recipes referencing a pretty short cooking time.
Spiralizing Without a Spiralizer
Although it takes some time to make zoodles perfectly, it’s definitely worth the effort. You’ll need to experiment not just with your recipe, but the strip-making strategy you use. As mentioned above, some tools for creating noodles without a spiralizer are more likely to deliver the right results than others.
Let us know your take on how to make courgette noodles without a spiralizer and any of your favourite dishes!
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I’m Judith, a full time housewife with a passion for food, recipes and kitchen gadgets. I write for Snact.co.uk where I reveal all my tips, tricks and secrets.