If you are struggling with gluten intolerance and wonder if you’ll ever be able to give up pasta, zucchini noodles might be your gluten-free saviour! Many vegetables can be “noodled”, that is, cut into various lengths and widths and topped with any of your favourite pasta sauces – I’ve used paper thin slices of zucchini in place of lasagna noodles to separate various fillings with great success. Turning zucchini into noodles is a cinch, especially with a variety of different “noodlizers” available today.
One of my favourite kitchen gadgets is my Benriner and it is a great tool for this task. I have had this versatile little mandolin for years and have used it to make noodles out of all sorts of vegetables. Not to worry if you haven’t got one; you can use a vegetable peeler or one of the other types of noodleizers to obtain a similar effect with the zucchini.
This recipe is more about a method as there is only one ingredient. So, … here are the directions for preparing a batch of zucchini noodles using a Benriner.
Top and tail the zucchini and cut in half if extremely long. Set aside.
Choose the blade with the noodle width you want and adjust the feet on the bottom of the mandolin to set the thickness.
This may require you to slide the zucchini across the blade a few times and adjust the feet until you get the thickness just right. Once that is done, continue sliding the zucchini lengthwise, up and down the mandolin until you reach about half way. Then turn the zucchini over and begin slicing the other side. (This is necessary because the noodles cut from the the centre (seeded section) of the zucchini don’t hold their noodle shape as well when they are cooked. They tend to disintegrate. However, you can omit this step if you are creating noodles from other vegetables).
That’s it! Slice as many zucchini as necessary for the amount of noodles needed per person. But make extra – zucchini noodles keep well refrigerated for a few days in an airtight container. Once cooked, they release a lot of water, so are best eaten right after they are cooked.
To cook the zucchini noodles, I usually just plunge them in boiling water for about a minute; then strain, season and serve. No cooking required at all, really. Alternatively, you can add them to soups, in place of pasta noodles, or to a simmering sauce for a minute before serving.
Incidentally, zucchini noodles can be eaten raw too! Top with an uncooked tomato sauce and you’ve got a raw meal!
Now, what will you serve with them?