Recently, a few new culinary buzz words have hit the scene: zoodles, spiralizing and cauliflower cuisine.  We’re literally seeing these terms everywhere, from our favorite bloggers to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. So what’s all the hullabaloo about?  Are zoodles and cauliflower edibles really that exciting?  More importantly, are they any good?

Zoodles are thin ribbons made from spiralized zucchinis and other squash. Cauliflower cuisine involves using it as a replacement for grain in items like rice and pizza crust. Both are used mainly by individuals looking to cut down on their carb consumption and eat healthier, less processed foods.

Finally, a great way to cut back on carbohydrates and make eating vegetables fun for everyone!  Plus, there’s a truckload of delicious recipes to choose from.  But where to start?  Don’t worry.  We’re about to breakdown everything you need to know about adding zoodles and cauliflower to your diet.

Zoodles and How to Eat Them

‘Zoodles’ aren’t just for zucchini anymore!  They can also be made from other types of squash, carrots, cucumbers and beets.  Get creative and start exploring with a small handheld spiralizer or go all out with larger countertop machine made specifically for the task.  While it may seem surprising, they can actually replace typical pasta noodles quite easily.  After cooking, zoodles will have a similar flavor and texture to regular noodles. This is why they have quickly become the go-to for regular pasta replacement.  Haven’t tried them yet?  Go forth friends, because once you add your sauce or seasoning it’s even harder to tell the difference.

Here are five different ways to spiralize your zucchini:

  • Chef’s Knife: With a sharp, long chef’s knife, you can cut strips of zucchini into noodles.  This is mostly recommended for dishes that require larger pasta pieces, such as lasagna.
  • Vegetable peeler: You can quickly and easily make ribbon zucchini by using your vegetable peeler.
  • Julienne peeler: The smaller teeth found on a julienne peeler can create super-thin strips of zucchini perfect for making classics like spaghetti, pesto pasta, and more.
  • Handheld spiralizer: Handheld spiralizers are a relatively new addition to spiralizing your zucchini, but they work like a charm.  Just make sure you cut the ends off your vegetables first.  This is the UpGood  Testing Kitchen’s recommended method for beginners.
  • Countertop spiralizer: Want to take all the guesswork out of spiralizing vegetables?  You might find a countertop spiralizer to be a great investment. Cut the ends off, put the vegetable in your spiralizer, and start cranking. It’s that easy!  KitchenAid makes a great attachment for their stand up mixers.

 

Once you’re done spiralizing, you will be left with a plate full of beautiful, succulent, delicious strips of fresh zucchini.  Now it’s time to turn those veggie strips into zoodles baby!  Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Heat up a skillet with a bit of Avocado oil.
  2. Toss the zoodles into the skillet and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Let the zucchini cook over medium-high heat until they are tender.  You can also add in a few other glorious ingredients such as garlic, onion or crushed red pepper flakes.

And, as an added bonus, zucchini noodles are way easier to cook than regular noodles.  No more boiling water and standing around staring at your pot!

Pro Tip: Only cook your zucchini noodles until they have reached an al dente state, just like cooking regular pasta.  Meaning, they are still slightly firm to the bite or “to the tooth”.  No one likes soggy mush.

Need some inspiration for flavors when it comes to zoodles?  Fret not . . . there is a seemingly endless supply of delicious recipes for zoodles. Here are our top three picks:

Remember that you don’t always have to try something new and spectacular just because you are using zoodles.  If you want to try it out with regular marinara or spaghetti sauce first, then give it a try!  Later, you can start venturing out into new, exciting recipes and flavor combinations.  Remember, pretty much anything you can do with noodles you can do with zoodles.  And you can quote us on that!

Using Other Vegetables

Some people just aren’t a fan of zucchini, and that’s okay . . . kind of.  There’s plenty of other healthy and fun alternatives to choose from so we can all get along!  Some of the top choices for pasta replacement veggies include:

Needless to say, whether you have to spiralize the vegetable (which is the case with zucchini, carrots, and cucumbers) or simply take it out of the package and dig in, there are a multitude of options.  From pre-packaged ready to eat convenience, to a little elbow grease, to cutting edge avant garde gourmet, it’s now easier than it has ever been to add more vegetables to your diet, step outside your comfort zone and explore the full realm of possibility – there is no limit.  So go get some!  You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to enjoy the wild side.

What Can You Make With Cauliflower?

Now, a lot of people love cauliflower as is. They love it roasted or even raw with some ranch dip.  They love it on a plane, in the air, up the in clouds, we don’t care.  They love it barbecued, fried, roasted, boiled, baked, seared, sautéd and stir fried just to name a few.  However, there is still a large chunk of individuals that can’t stand cauliflower, and that’s okay . . . kind of.  Whether you’re a lover or a hater, you’re welcome here.  We can all benefit from tossing in a few more vegetables into our repertoire.  These newer options just make it a tad bit easier.

So how can we make delicious foods with cauliflower instead of using other starchy, less healthy ingredients?

Perhaps the most popular innovation when it comes to cauliflower cuisine is the creation of Cauliflower Pizza.  It comes ridiculously close to the delicious thin crust pizza we all know and love from the Italian joint down the street, without all of the extra carbohydrates and commotion associated with regular crust.

And don’t worry – while it may look and sound like a challenge, it’s easy to put together. Don’t want to take the leap and make it yourself? Cauliflower pizza is now in your freezer section, ready to go, which is totally awesome for weeknights.

Next on the list, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. Seriously.  If you haven’t tried them yet, then you are really missing out.  Now, I’ll be honest.  Served plain, they really aren’t all that appealing.  However, they really shine with a touch of your favorite sauce or as a bed for your main course.  Thanks again health conscious cauliflower.  Goodbye Shrimp and Grits.  No, wait.  Shrimp and Grits is still pretty awesome.

Lastly, let me introduce you to a staple in our kitchen, Cauliflower Rice.  For those who are replacing grains, either full or part time, this is the easiest and most versatile way to experience the full glory.  Substituted daily for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong.  Feel better about yourself, feel better about your choices.  Throw in some riced broccoli to kick it up.  It’s ridiculously delicious!

Why Should You Try Zoodles and Cauliflower Cuisine?

If the delicious recipes and options above weren’t enough to get you on board, then here are another 5 reasons why you should try them immediately:

  1. Healthier.  Yes, zucchini and cauliflower both come with their own set of unique health benefits that we can all embrace and enjoy.
  2. New.  Okay, who doesn’t get sick of the same old, same old?  Trying out something new is a fun way to excite your palate, and keep things fresh and fun.
  3. Kids like it.  How many kids raise their hands when you ask who wants a zucchini or a cauliflower?  Not too many.  And even if they did, you would still want to increase their vegetable intake and give them multiple options.  Zucchini noodles and cauliflower cuisine make it easy and fun for kids to eat their veggies.
  4. Adults like it.  Maybe if we say it enough, you will be tempted to try it.  Try it!  Anything yet?  No, but really.  You will be surprised by how much you don’t miss your average plate of spaghetti or bowl of white rice when you’re done trying these alternatives.
  5. Easy.  Last, but not least, it’s incredibly easy to make zucchini noodles and cauliflower cuisine.  Although some recipes might require more ingredients or work, it’s nothing insane, and you can enjoy new dishes in no time.  Trust us.

It is obvious that you can’t go wrong with zoodles or cauliflower cuisine.  Both taste great and can get on your plate in a flash.  Your gut will thank you, and so will the rest of your family (hopefully)!

Conclusion

Switching up your regular go-to dinners with zoodles or a cauliflower crust pizza is an easy way to add a lot more veggies into your diet without sacrificing flavor.  There are literally endless possibilities when it comes to spiralizing vegetables and cooking with cauliflower, so you are bound to find a few new favorites to add into the dinner routine.  It’s fast, easy, fun, and tastes great!  Exploration is the name of the game in the kitchen, and going through this door might just open up a whole new world of culinary opportunity for your cuisine.  See you on the other side.

– Have Fun In The Kitchen