Zucchini noodles might be your personal lifesaver if you’re trying to watch your diet but L-O-V-E pasta.
Typical pasta is made from refined white flour. While a whole grain has fiber and minerals, refined grains have those things processed out, so only starch remains. The CDC recommends limiting starches and carbs in favor of high-fiber grains and veggies to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Instead of loading up on low-fiber carbs, swapping in “zoodles” sneaks in an extra serving of vegetables. It also comes at a very low caloric cost: just 33 calories for an entire medium-sized zucchini. That gives you plenty of space in your calorie budget for a hearty, protein-packed pasta sauce.
But zucchini isn’t the only veggie you can transform into noodles. Using a julienne peeler or a spiralizer, you can make veggies out of these fiber- and vitamin-rich vegetables.
Beets: Try this with a simple olive oil and garlic sauce, and add goat cheese and toasted walnuts.
Sweet potato: Kale and sweet potato are the perfect match, so pair these noodles with kale pesto. (Learn how to make kale pesto here.)
Carrots: You already use carrots in your chicken noodle soup, so why not swap carrot noodles in for the pasta?
Cucumbers: This one’s best cold. Try a cold sesame noodle salad with a sesame-ginger sauce.
Winter squash, like butternut squash: Squash goes great with coconut, so swap them in for soba noodles in a coconut curry. (Here’s a coconut lime noodles recipe that’s just right.)
Parsnip: Go ahead and pair this with a classic bolognese. (Here’s how to make a homemade bolognese sauce.)
Taro root: This root is common in cuisines from Southeast Asia (among others), so it works well with soy, ginger, miso, sesame, and other Asian flavors. Here's a miso-ginger glazed taro noodles and shrimp with scallions and pea shoots, courtesy of Inspiralized.
Yellow summer squash: These are just like zucchini and can pretty much be used for any of your favorite sauces. For a simple take, try this yellow squash pasta with basil and mint, courtesy of Inspiralized.
Firm plantains: Think Caribbean. Pair with jerk-seasoned shrimp. Here's how to spiralize plantains, according to Inspiralized.
Turnips: Try something light and fresh, like this garlic-lemon turnip pasta with string beans and edamame, courtesy of Inspiralized.
Special thanks to Inspiralized for photos.