“Spiralize” has become a verb, at least in the lingo of spiral slicer enthusiasts. The spiral slicer gizmos, affectionately dubbed “zoodlers” or “spiralizers,” cut raw vegetables and fruits into thick or thin pasta-like stands (as well as wide ribbon-like strands or slices, an option out-shined by the first two).

Different shapes are achieved by using one of three blade options. Spaghetti size (blade 3 or C), fettuccine size (blade 2 or B) and ribbons of pappardelle (blade 1).


Fans tout the gluten-free, lower carbohydrate qualities of substituting fresh vegetables for pasta, as well as the ability to make vegetable rice-like dishes by chopping stands just-so in a food processor.


I use Sur La Table’s three-blade model ($35). The hand-powered lightweight gadget sticks to the counter via four suction cups. The handle held in one hand puts light pressure to push the fruit or vegetable towards the blade, the device cleverly stopping long before digits are in peril. The opposite hand turns the crank.


It’s amusing and empowering, a small effort producing oodles of noodles tumbling in long spiraled threads from the blade. It sure made this zucchini bread a lot easier to prepare.

(Note that there is also a small OXO Hand-Held Spiralizer – about $15 – with only one blade that just cuts spaghetti-size strands with more effort and is limited to only a few produce varieties.)


But zucchini noodles are plump with water. Chef Kelsey Kinser, author of “The Veggie Spiral Slicer” (Ulysses Press, $14.95) recommends lightly salting the strands and leaving them in a colander while other ingredients are measured out. Afterwards she gently squeezes out excess liquid (in small handfuls), and then sometimes follows with a 3- to 4-minute sauté. Serve immediately, especially if the zucchini noodles are napped with tomato-based sauce.


Pesto sauce is delicious option for zoodles. Ali Maffucci, author of “Inspiralized” (Clarkson Potter, $19.99) pairs raw spaghetti-sized zucchini strands with basil pesto and halved cherry tomatoes. It’s a delicious made-in-minutes cold dish, thus avoiding excess liquid in the pasta bowl.


Other spiral-slicer heroes include potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, butternut squash (neck), apples, pears and English cucumbers. Beets, too – they are messy but delicious (try pickling the strands). Vegetables that denser and harder work too, but with less success and more effort, such as broccoli stems or large carrots.

The device is easy to clean. A rinse in cold water does the trick, and if anything proves a little stubborn, I have a vegetable brush at the ready. My spiral slicer hangs in my pantry.

Tips for “Spiral-izing” Success

  1. Cut partially (just half way) in half lengthwise if short lengths are desired.
  2. Choose fruit or vegetables that are as straight as possible.
  3. Get everything ready to go because veggie noodles or veggie rice cook very quickly.
  4. Half-moon shapes result when a vegetable moves off center. Stop and reposition vegetable to keep it centered. Or decide to be happy with half-moons.
  5. If you spiralize a vegetable with no breaks, they are amazingly long. Either cut them with kitchen scissors and knife into manageable lengths.
  6. If making “rice,” don’t overcrowd the food processor with the thin strands because uneven pieces will be the result.
  7. Steady pressure works best, but if the teeth of the crank bend because the vegetable is hard (such as sweet potato or butternut squash), ease up and check to make sure vegetable is properly aligned.

Zoodles with Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes
Yield: 3 servings
1 large garlic clove, peeled, see cook’s notes
3 cups fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 medium zucchini, spiralized with blade 3 (C)
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Cook’s notes: If you want to use store-bought basil pesto, skip the first step and the first seven ingredients. I like to add a small pinch of dried red pepper flakes to the pesto. Add prepared pesto to taste, generously coating the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve this dish cooked or raw (cold), see Step #2.
1. For pesto: With machine running drop garlic in food processor. When minced add basil leaves and process until chopped. Add pine nuts, olive, salt, pepper and cheese. Process until mixture is coarsely ground and paste-like.
2. Cold or hot: Serve the zucchini raw as a cold dish or for a hot dish, lightly salt the zucchini strands and set in a colander for about 5 minutes, then squeeze dry. Spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray. Add zucchini and cook about 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high or until wilted and cooked through. Remove from skillet with tongs (leaving any liquid behind) and place in bowl; toss with pesto and tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning; serve.
Source: adapted from “Inspiralized” by Ali Maffucci (Clarkson Potter, $19.99)


Salad with Apple “Noodles,” Asparagus and Pecans
Yield: 2 servings
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon minced shallots
Salt and pepper to taste
8 large asparagus spears, tough ends removed
1 to 1 1/2 cup packed clean watercress
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans, or nut of choice
1 apple, spiralized with blade 3 (C), see cook’s notes
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, Gorgonzola preferred
Cook’s notes: To spiralize the apple, cut it in half from top to bottom leaving it unpeeled; place it skin side facing the blade (that way the seeds and core rest against the spiked edge, and the portion that doesn’t get cut is the core that is left behind).
1. Prepare dressing: Whisk dressing ingredients in medium bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.
2. Shave asparagus: To shave the asparagus into thin strips, hold it on the work surface just below the tips. Use a shrivel-bladed vegetable peeler to make long slender strips, leaving the tips behind. If you like, blanch the tips as a special treat for the cook. Place strips in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and vinaigrette; toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Source: adapted from “Inspiralized” by Ali Maffucci (Clarkson Potter, $19.99)


Zucchini Bread
Yield: 1 large loaf, about 12 slices
Nonstick spray
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce, see cook’s notes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium zucchini, spiralized on blade 3 (C)
1 cup chopped hazelnuts, or nut of choice
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cook’s notes: I use both applesauce and vegetable oil, but the author says that if you wish, use one or the other (either 1 cup oil or 1 cup applesauce). My favorite way to serve it is to toast it: lightly butter cut side of slice and place on sheet pan, and then broil about 2 minutes. It’s a perfect breakfast treat.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan with nonstick spray.
2. In large bowl, whisk flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda and sugar; set aside.
3. In small bowl, combine applesauce, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk with a fork until blended and eggs are well combined. Add to dry ingredients and stir until almost combined.
4. Using a spatula, fold in zucchini, nuts and chocolate chips. Place in prepared loaf pan. Bake in middle of preheated oven about 1 hour, or until a knife poked into center comes out clean of batter. Place on rack and cool 5 to 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool and store airtight.
Source: “The Veggie Spiral Slicer Cookbook” by Kelsey Kinser (Ulysses Press, $14.95)