What is the Deal with Zoodles?

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The Paleo Penguin

When I committed to eating full on paleo in January of this year, I kept coming across these posts about “zoodles.”

People would praise them and the only thing I could think about was the old school unhealthy cans of pasta by Heinz that we used to eat as kids called “Zoodles.” After browsing, I can see Heinz has expanded their product line to a wider variety of unhealthy goodness catered towards children.

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Zoodles are not what they used to be! Picture: Popscreen.

What are Zoodles?

I actually Googled the term “zoodles” and was surprised to find they are noodles make from zucchini! Some of you may be rolling your eyes at me, but I had no idea. I figured this little educational post would benefit those who are new to a vegetarian, vegan or paleo diet.

I have never been a fan of zucchini. I love almost every vegetable, except Swiss chard and have a few on my list I will just eat because it is there. Even as a kid I would eat all veggies, but I have a memory of overdoing it one day with raw zucchini sticks and ranch dip. I never touched it again after that.

Occasionally I will use it in a ratatouille dish or I used to eat Zoo Sticks at our local White Spot before I knew I had an issue with eggs. They are deep-fried with ranch, you can’t go wrong with that.

How to Cook Zoodles

My first stop to be able to try this new noodle phenomenon was buying a vegetable spiralizer. At home I had a julienne tool, but that wasn’t going to cut it if I wanted proper noodles.

I was fortunate last year to find a hand-held spiralizer on sale at a closing sale at Ming Wo. I paid only $25 CAD instead of $60 CAD. The one I bought had three blades; skinny, fat or ribbon noodles.

My first time using it was a disaster. I made my noodles fine, but when I was cleaning it in the sink, I found out the hard way how sharp the blade was and sliced my finger open. It bled for like an hour and took forever to clot. I was worried I needed stitches. I must have done some real damage to my finger as it hurt for a couple months after that bloody incident.

I wasn’t sure what kind of sauce to put on my zoodles for the first go so I opted for just vegan butter, salt and pepper. It was okay, but not amazing. Plus, the zoodles were kind of soggy. I discovered the cooking time is very exact with these guys. A little too long and you get mush.

I looked up online how to cook them to make sure I was on the right track. For most of my cooking adventures I fly by the seat of my pants and make it up as I go.

Some people say to leave the freshly cut zoodles in a bowl lined with paper-towels and sprinkle with salt to remove excess moisture. After about 15 minutes, the water has collected at the bottom and you just drain before cooking them. Personally I do it the lazy way and just toss them in the pan freshly cut.

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A paleo alternative I enjoy instead of corn or rice pasta I used to eat. Picture: Erin Chapman.

It took me a few more tries till I found my groove with these. I tried all three cuts and I prefer the skinny noodles the best. When I cook something, I make enough for about 3 days of lunches. This meant I had to tweak the cooking time to ensure the noodles stayed firm when I reheated them.

If you put them in a pan with a little olive or coconut oil and fry them for about 4 minutes on medium heat, continually stirring, they are perfect. I can keep them up to 4 days in the fridge and take them to work. I haven’t tried freezing them yet so that one is still open to more research.

I have explored a few types of sauce options; bolognese with minced beef, a vegan pesto, vegan cheese with butter or a vegan cheese sauce. All of these I make from scratch. It is really hard to find a pesto that doesn’t include cheese or other sauces free from my allergies. I will get into recipes for those in another post.

I was on a roll with the spiralizer and ventured into other types of veggies like yams, beets, carrots and even potatoes.

Make Sure to Try Boodles

I don’t know if anyone has coined the phrase yet, but I want to call my spiral beets, “boodles!” The best part about boodles, is they stay firm, no matter how you cook them.

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My attempt at boodles with a vegan garlic yogurt sauce. Picture: Erin Chapman.

Before I discovered the joys of the spiralizer, I used to eat a lot of quinoa, rice or my favorite, corn pasta. I mostly ate them, because with my allergies, I can. It can get really challenging finding things I can eat some days. Enjoying the carb ridden noodles for a special occasion is okay, but for now, I enjoy my boodles and zoodles as part of my menu each week.

What do you veggie do you like to spiralize or recommend I give a try? Leave me a comment on here or on our Facebook page. Happy cooking!


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Erin Chapman

Erin is the owner and creator of The Paleo Penguin. She has multiple food allergies and cannot eat eggs, beans, most nuts, dairy, wheat or gluten. If you are looking for recipes with those ingredients, keep scrolling as you won't find it here.

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