How to Cook Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) and Not Ruin Them
Before you discover the oodles of ways to dress zoodles, you need to know how to cook them. Our favorite methods involve sautéing zoodles on the stovetop, boiling them (like traditional pasta), and simmering them straight in some sauce. Cooking them is so easy that we have a hunch that these zucchini noodle recipes will be your new go-to for meatless Mondays or anytime you want to eat your greens (AKA every day).
Cut your Zucchini Noodles the right way
To make zoodles, cut both ends off of the zucchini. Slice the zucchini into two halves. From there, use a tool like the Kitchenaid spiralizer attachment that screws onto your stand mixer, a free-standing tool like the one from OXO, or an Inspiralizer to unspool fine or extra fine zucchini ribbons from the core of the zucchini.
In a pinch, you could try using a vegetable peeler to peel long planks off the zucchini and then slice them into noodles. Or, cut the planks using a chef's knife and then further slice them into matchsticks. Once you've processed the zucchini into zoodles, store them in the refrigerator where they taste best within three days.
While zoodles can be eaten raw and dressed up in pesto or another salad dressing, if you want to cook them, these are the three methods to try.
How to cook sautéed Zoodles
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add two teaspoons of oil (olive or coconut) or a pat of unsalted butter. Toss in the zoodles (spiralized from one zucchini), salt to taste, and sauté for several minutes, turning with tongs until the color of the zoodles deepens and they become soft.
Serving Suggestion: After oil is heated, stir in thinly sliced garlic or minced fresh ginger to sizzle and scent the oil. This would be the time to also add a dash of spice like a curry powder, if you like. Once zoodles are cooked, garnish with a scattering of toasted coconut, shredded fresh cilantro and/or mint leaves, and chopped scallions. Pair it with fish.
Blanched Zoodles Cooking Recipe
Fill a pot 3/4 of the way full of water. Add a generous pinch of salt (roughly 1 tablespoon) — the rule of thumb is that the water should be salty like the ocean. Bring the water to boil. Add the zoodles to the pot and cook just until their green color deepens, about three minutes. Drain the zoodles. In the hot days of summer when you can't imagine turning on the oven, we particularly love this quick blanching trick to give them bite with a bit more dimension.
Serving Suggestions: Toss the blanched zoodles in olive oil, crack fresh ground pepper atop, and shower on grated Parmesan for a riff on the pasta classic or cacio e pepe, or add them to soup like chicken zoodle.
Best recipes for sauce-drenched Zucchini Noodles
Warm marinara (or your pasta sauce of choice) in a sauté pan. Once tiny bubbles start poking up around the edges of the pan, add in the zoodles to cook for several minutes until they reach the desired consistency (about two to three minutes for toothsome al dente or four to five minutes for slippery soft strands). This might be the ultimate lunch or dinner in less than five minutes.
Serving Suggestion: Instead of marinara, make a garlic white wine scampi sauce to toss in the zoodles along with thin strips of carrot and bell pepper for zoodle primavera.
Ready to turn some zucchini noodles into your next meal? Share your recipes and find more healthy eating inspiration over on Pinterest.
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(Recipe and photos via Annelies Zijderveld / Brit + Co. This article was updated from an earlier version.)
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