Spiralized zucchini is a popular substitute for pasta, adding nutritional content and reducing the carbs and grains in traditional, flour-based pasta. However, with a 90% water content, making your zucchini noodles not soggy takes a little know-how.
In this article, I will give you some tips to make sure your next zoodle dish has the texture you are looking for, without compromising on flavor.
How to Make Zucchini Noodles Less Watery
If you plan to use your zoodles in a warm and savory dish, then this is the go-to method to get the excess water out of the zukes before adding your favorite sauce. If you take the time to do this first, it means the extra moisture won’t water down your finished dish.
It is a simple process: Simply use about 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt for a medium-sized zucchini. Place your zucchini noodles in a colander and sprinkle the salt over them, working it in gently by hand-tossing. Then, let them soak over the sink for at least 30 minutes.
For even dryer zoodles: You can get even more excess water out by placing your pile of zoodles on a large piece of cheesecloth, wrapping up the corners, and twisting the ball of zukes until it starts to squeeze all the extra water out.
If you think it might be busy work, just check out this dish showing the extra water that came out of a single spiralized zucchini from a 30-minute soak!
Pros and Cons of the Salting Method
It is obvious from all the extra water that you can get out of your zoodles using the salting method that there are benefits. Knowing that your zoodles won’t water down your sauce or casserole is the main advantage.
However, this method has two main downsides. First, it although much of the salty taste will drip away with the water, it will leave some additional saltiness on the zoodles. You should take this into account when using in your favorite recipe and cut some salt somewhere else.
Second, once you use the salt method, it is harder to get any color and caramelization from cooking methods like roasting or sautéing. I recommend using fresh zoodles for those applications.
Finally, the texture of the zoodles will change slightly. As you can see from the comparison shot at the top of this page, the salted zoodles are smaller and limper. It is a bit deceiving, however, because the salted version seems to have a bit of a chewier bite and they hold up well to being sauced and then twirled on a fork.
Another method you can use to make sure all the water in your zoodles doesn’t make them soggy is to dry roast them. We cover that method in detail here but suffice to say that using dry heat will evaporate the excess moisture.
Another advantage to roasting your zukes in the oven is that it will create some caramelization, adding slight smoky and sweet earthy flavors to a dish. They will, however, be softer in texture than really works if you plan to use your zoodles as a pasta substitute.
Try cooking your zucchini noodles on the stove to prevent them from being soggy. There are a few tips to follow in order to make the most of this method:
- Make sure the pan is hot before adding a small amount of cooking oil and your zoodles. They should sizzle as soon as they hit the pan. This means the moisture seeping out is evaporating away on contact.
- Cook, turning carefully until you start to get some color on your noodles. Be careful not to overcook, or you will end up with mush.
- Work in small batches. If you drop more than a few cups in your pan at once, it will cool down the pan, leading to the moisture escaping faster than the heat can evaporate it. This will lead to a soggy mess!
When you first dry, then rehydrate zoodles for recipes such as omelets, casseroles or baked goods, you will find that your zoodles will have a chewier texture as well as absorbing the flavors of the final dish. You can find tips on that method here.
Drying is labor and energy intensive. However, it is one way to preserve a large quantity of zoodles for future use, something that every gardener can appreciate!
Don’t let your zucchini pasta get soggy by following these tips. This versatile pasta substitute is a great ingredient for making more nutritious meals that your family will look forward to! With some practice, you will find yourself with a new “go-to” for a fast, light and tasty summer meal.
Do you have any tips on stopping your noodles from getting soggy? Leave a comment below, we would love to hear them.