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Want to eat healthier in 2016? Try a zoodler or spiralizer (aka that thing that turns vegetables into noodles)

Want to eat healthier in 2016? Try a zoodler or spiralizer (aka that thing that turns vegetables into noodles)The zoodler – also known as a spiralizer – is a gadget that has slowly but surely been making its way through the food-blogger rounds over the past year or so. It started with the health-conscious cooks who were trying to reduce their carb intake, but quickly captured the attention of experimental foodies, who embraced it for its experimental appeal. So the zoodle phenomenon has blossomed around the world, and I was lucky enough to be able to hunt down a zoodler in Europe (which is a bit slow to pick up on food trends).

This conical-shaped device takes long vegetables like carrots, turnips, or – most commonly – zucchini, and slices them into pasta-or noodle-shaped strips in a matter of minutes. Of course, you could theoretically accomplish the same thing with a julienne peeler, but the zoodler makes the task much quicker and easier for the impatient cook (like me).

As a pasta lover, I was skeptical about zoodles for a really long time. While I’ve heard others say they only eat pasta for the sauce, I’ve always thought that I eat pasta for the pasta. I love the texture, the shape, the taste. But I also know that unless I’ve been carb-loading in preparation for a long race, a heavy pasta meal will often make me sluggish and actually slow down my running. So I decided to put my skepticism aside and give it a shot.

And I have to say I have been truly astonished at how easy it is to mistake zoodles for noodles, so to speak. From the very first zucchini I put through the zoodler, I have been hooked. It has easily been the best purchase of the entire year. Not only does it let me experiment with lots of cool recipes, with none of the drawbacks of pasta, it also allows me to have a meal on the table in approximately 10 minutes, as zoodles need almost no cooking time.

So if you do find yourself in the possession of a zoodler, I implore you to give it a try. Here are two very simple, ridiculously quick recipes to get you started:

Zoodle Carbonara
Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini in ‘pasta’ strips
  • 2-3 bacon strips, chopped
  • 8 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp heavy cream

Instructions:
Cook the mushrooms in a pan with a bit of coconut oil or butter. When they start to soften, add the bacon and cook until it’s nearly cooked through. At this point, add the zoodles for 1-2 minutes, until cooked but not too soft. Add in the heavy cream and stir through for 20 seconds, then take off the heat and serve with salt and pepper.

Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein
Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini in ‘noodle’ strips
  • 1 chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 chili pepper (optional)
  • ½ onion
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Instructions:
In a pan, cook the onion, ginger and chili (if using) over medium heat in coconut oil or olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Add the cubed chicken and cook through, for 6-8 minutes. About halfway through, add the soy sauce and stir. When the chicken is ready, add the zoodles and the sesame oil, and cook for about 1 minute more. Serve and enjoy!

Have you ever used a zoodler? Tell us in the comments below!

Written by Varia Makagonova.