Veggie noodles are an awesome alternative to pasta — they’re great if you have a gluten sensitivity and avoid it or if you want to add more vegetables to your family’s diet. Plus, the kids can help make them, which is always an added bonus! There are so many reasons why I love to make veggie noodles.
They’ve been popular for a while now, and you can even buy them in the store. But they’re so easy (and fun!) to make at home. My family has fun experimenting with different veggies in the spiralizer.
Some of our favorite noodle recipes for quick weeknight dinners are stir-fry, ramen, and other traditional noodle dishes. It’s also a great way to make your favorite takeout versions a little healthier — Asian, Chinese, Italian, there are so many possibilities.
Even if you aren’t gluten-free or eating a diet low in carbohydrates, veggie noodles are a great alternative to traditional pasta or stir-fry noodles. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, these vegetables are a powerful swap or addition to any recipe you already make. And since they’re fun to make, your kids will want to help. When my kids help cook our dinner, they’re more likely to try new foods.
A good rule of thumb is to use vegetables that are typically cooked to make hot or cooked noodle dishes. Vegetables that are served cold make beautiful salads. Veggie noodles have a quick prep time and also cook quickly (if they need to be cooked at all) because you don’t have to boil water or turn on the oven. The total time for dinner is fast, which makes them a great option for quick weeknight dinners.
How To Make Veggie Noodles at Home
As I mentioned, you can buy vegetable noodles at the store, and they’re great if you’re in a time crunch. But making them at home is easy and cost-effective.
The easiest way to make noodles out of vegetables is to use a spiralizer. There are a few different options to choose from. The Kitchenaid Spiralizer attachment is a super easy way to get noodles quickly, especially if you already have a Kitchenaid. But this countertop version is another great option too. Both options come with several blades to create different types and sizes of noodles.
To make noodles at home, start by washing and trimming the ends of your vegetable of choice. Some need to be peeled, so do that before spiralizing (sweet potatoes and butternut squash are the main ones).
Next, center the vegetable on the blades and make sure it’s secure. Then, let the machine do its work! If you have the countertop version, you simply turn the handle in a circular motion. With the Kitchenaid attachment, it does the work for you. It’s so much fun to watch a vegetable turn into a noodle.
If I’m spiralizing zucchini noodles, I like to set aside a colander to drain them in the sink for a few minutes since they have more water in them than other veggies.
What Vegetables Can You Turn Into Noodles?
My family wanted to branch out from the classic zucchini noodle, and we’ve enjoyed trying different veggies in our spiralizer. Any round or semi-round vegetable can be made into “noodles.” We’ve experimented with several different kinds to find our favorites, along with our favorite noodles recipes.
Zucchini noodles are a classic noodle replacement. They have a light flavor, so you can use them in lots of noodle recipes. Use zucchini noodles as a substitute for spaghetti and add marinara for a quick weeknight meal that’s low-carb. Lightly saute them but don’t cook them too long because they get soggy quickly. Or, you can use them as a substitute for soba noodles in Easy Beef Ramen Noodles.
Parsnips are pretty sturdy and do better when you cook them. I love to make Parsnip Shrimp Lo Mein with this vegetable. This Asian dish is a favorite as a takeout option. I don’t use soy sauce but prefer coconut aminos, which match well with the slightly sweet flavor of parsnips.
Another favorite is sweet potato noodles. These root veggies are more sturdy, so use them in cooked recipes. One of our favorite main dishes is Shrimp Carbonara with Sweet Potato Noodles. Or saute the noodles in sesame oil on medium-high heat in a wok (if you have one). Throw in some of your favorite veggies for a quick Chinese-inspired dinner. We also love to make sweet potato curly fries in our air fryer with sweet potatoes.
Another sturdy veggie option is turnips. You might not think to use this root veggie, but it provides a great immune boost since it’s packed with vitamin C and is also rich in calcium. I haven’t tried it, but I bet turnip noodles would be great in this Pho recipe. Another great option is to saute some turnip noodles with some curry seasoning for a hearty side.
This hearty root vegetable makes great noodles. It’s also a great way to get extra vitamin A because carrots are loaded with this important nutrient. They work great as a garnish on top of a salad to brighten it up. Another favorite is Shaved Carrot Salad, a light and fresh noodle salad that gives a little crunch.
Similar to zucchini, squash noodles are a great option with a mild flavor. They can be lightly sauteed, but you’ll want to serve them al dente so the cook time isn’t long. These work great as a replacement for rice noodles in Chicken Pad Thai. I love this dish with cilantro and green onions sprinkled on top; it’s a great replacement for Thai takeout. Or you can use squash noodles to replace pasta in a soup recipe for a gluten-free option.
We enjoy roasted broccoli a lot, and we’ve found a way to repurpose the stems: make noodles! Make sure to peel the stems first, then spiralize them for a great, crunchy broccoli salad. Add raisins, homemade mayo, a dash of honey, and some bacon. Or cook them and serve Spicy Shrimp Stir-Fry on top. Garnish with a little sesame oil, and you have a great option when you’re craving Chinese!
This hearty vegetable is an excellent option for noodles. When you pick one, make sure to choose one with a longer stalk because that’s the part you use. Save the bottom part and roast it. Its mild flavor means you can use it with pasta sauce, red pepper flakes, and parmesan for an easy Italian dinner.
Beets are one of the healthiest vegetables, and my kids love how their fingers turn red! These sturdy noodles are great when lightly sauteed to al dente and served with basil pesto or cilantro pesto for a quick vegetarian dish. Or cook them with a few cloves of garlic and add some cashews on top for a side dish with some protein.
How to Pick Veggies for Noodles
With any vegetable you want to spiralize, look for ones that aren’t too big or too small. This is because you want them to fit on the spiralizer tool. You can cut some to make them smaller, but it’s better if you can find a medium-sized vegetable.
For veggies like carrots and parsnips that can be super skinny, make sure to get the larger ones. Often you can find these in the bulk section versus buying a bag of them. Also, look for vegetables that are firmer and not soft, as it just means they’ve been sitting in the store longer and aren’t as fresh.
Ever made vegetable noodles? What’s your favorite variety?
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