Recent trends in nutrition are shifting away from refined foods towards diets that are focused on whole, nutrient dense ingredients. Zucchini noodles, a.k.a. zoodles, are a basic building block recipe. Once you master the simple techniques for getting your zoodles to have a spaghetti-like texture, they can be adapted to almost any pasta dish.
Don’t have a spiralizer? Don’t fret… we have you covered with our guide to making zucchini noodles in a food processor.
Start with the right gear:
Making zucchini noodles with a food processor that has a shredding disc is the secret to getting consistent strands of “pasta” that will cook evenly and have the right texture to stand up to sauce.
PRO TIP: If you try to shred your zucchini with a manual shredder, you will end up with short, flimsy pieces rather than long noodles. They will just turn to mush and disappear into your sauce!
We love this Cuisinart for the job. It comes with the shredding disc that you will need for this recipe (as well as lightning fast homemade slaw, julienned veggies for stir fry, and grated potatoes for crisp hash browns). It also comes with a regular chopping blade, a slicing disc and a dough blade to make home baked breads a one bowl affair.
Instructions for basic zucchini noodles:
Food processor with a shredding disc
Vegetable peeler (peeling is optional)
1-2 small zucchini per person
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt per zucchini
- Select zucchini that are firm to the touch. Smaller gourdes will be more tender and have fewer seeds.
- Wash zucchini in cold water. Peeling is optional, but unpeeled will bring more texture to your dish.
- Trim the ends, slice in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds
- Cut in lengths just long enough to fit lengthwise into the feeding tube of your food processor.
- Stack zucchini pieces into the feeding tube. It is okay if they are tight, but be sure the safety lock on the tube can snap into place.
- Using the safety plunger, press down to shred. Repeat until all of your zucchini is processed, leaving the zoodles to collect in the bowl.
- Pour zucchini in a colander in the sink and carefully toss with the salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Bring the water to a boil and drop shredded zucchini in for 45 seconds.
- Drain zucchini for a few seconds then immediately submerge in icy water. This method, known as blanching, will give your zoodles a bright color and keep them from getting soggy when heated in your sauce.
Variations on a theme:
You now have the raw materials ready for the limitless possibilities of hot or cold zoodle dishes. Plus, once prepared as instructed, your zucchini noodles will store in the fridge for 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Hot Zoodle Inspirations:
- Simple Pleasures: Toss cold zucchini noodles in a non-stick sauté pan with some extra virgin olive oil, fresh grated parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Marinara: Reheat your zoodles in a light marinara sauce and top with parmesan cheese.
- Seafood: Sauté peeled shrimp in some olive oil, minced garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes until almost cooked. Add zoodles and cook until heated through.
- Zucchini Au Gratin: Toss zoodles with melted butter, flour, and shredded cheese. Place in a buttered casserole dish. Add whole milk until the level just covers your zoodles. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and thickened.
Cold Zoodle Inspirations:
- Caprese Salad: Toss chilled zucchini noodles with olive oil, fresh minced garlic, diced ripe tomatoes, and plenty of chopped fresh basil.
- Cold Asian Peanut Noodles: Make a light peanut sauce with peanut butter, toasted sesame oil, and a dash of soy sauce and rice vinegar. Gently mix with your chilled zoodles and top with crushed peanuts, sesame seeds and chopped green onion.
- Mediterranean: Toss your cool zucchini noodles with crisp cucumber, tomato, creamy feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, savory olives, red onion, fresh oregano, parsley, and/or marinated artichoke hearts. Dress lightly with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
You might want to consider getting a Spiralizer as it will make your job 10 times easier. I recommend the Brieftons, which is the model I use at home.
If you haven’t seen it, be sure to read our article on 7 ways to make zucchini noodles without a spiralizer.