When you begin eating lower calorie meals, zucchini noodles tend to come up a lot in recipe searches.
They’re frequently recommended as a low calorie pasta substitute and a great way to add vegetables to your meal, but a little more fun than the usual roasted zucchini, right?
And they’re easy to make! You can create spaghetti-style “noodles” with a julienne peeler or mandoline, or fettuccine-type shaves with a regular vegetable peeler. While it’s not necessary, you can also purchase a “zoodler”, a kitchen tool that will conveniently turn zucchinis, potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables into thick, curled noodles.
I don’t consider zucchini noodles a replacement for pasta, as they don’t really compare in terms of flavor and texture. However, they do go well with a hunk of protein (chicken, meatballs, etc.) and pair nicely with most pasta sauces, such as pesto and classic tomato sauce.
Above: Baked chicken thigh, zucchini noodles, pesto and olive oil sauce, parmesan, and goat cheese. 322 calories.
Baked BBQ chicken with zucchini noodles and tomato sauce. Hard to tell from the photo, but that’s a big pile of one and a half zucchinis, which was still only a total of 50 calories. 372 calories.
Basic Zucchini Noodles
This is just a basic recipe for cooking zucchini noodles. You can definitely jazz them up with butter, garlic, parmesan, and so many more wonderful ingredients!
Yield: 1 serving
Nutrition: 100 grams (raw) is 17 calories; 1 small zucchini would be around 30-40 calories
- 1-2 small zucchinis
- your preferred slicing equipment
- optional: sauce or additional seasoning
Slice up zucchini noodles using your peeler. To remove some of the extra water, you can salt the noodles and let them sit for about half an hour…but I usually don’t bother. (I’m impatient and hungry.)
Add a few tablespoons of water to a pan (enough to cover the bottom by at least 1/8″) and set it to medium-high heat. Once the water begins to boil, add your zucchini; stir continuously to make sure all the noodles get cooked evenly. It shouldn’t take long! If you overcook them, they’ll lose their structure and become mushy.
Strain out the extra water and return the pan with noodles to the heat. Add salt (if you didn’t pre-salt your noodles) and pepper. You can also add herbs and other spices, or even a sauce, at this point. Toss to combine and heat just long enough to burn off most of the remaining water.
Plate and consume quickly!
Zucchini noodles, garlic tomato sauce, turkey meatballs, mozzarella, roasted new potatoes, shiitake mushrooms. 376 calories.
Zucchini noodles with garlic tomato sauce, turkey meatballs, and parmigiano reggiano. 229 calories.