Zucchini Noodles are an easy, fun and delicious way to add in some wholesome veggies into your diet while eating low carb/ keto! The guide below will go through all things zoodles, including how to cook zucchini noodles, where to buy pre-spiralized noodles, and tips on how to prevent soggy noodles.
I’ve also included a super easy (and yummy) garlic parmesan zucchini noodle recipe at the end- which goes perfectly with most main dishes.
Let’s get started…
What are Zoodles / Zucchini Noodles?
Zoodles = zucchini noodles, also known as courgette spaghetti (in the U.K.). Essentially it’s zucchini that are cut into thin pasta like strings, using a simple spiralizer device (I’ll cover more about devices below).
Zoodles are a wonderful gluten-free, low carb, low calorie, and healthier alternative to pasta. Zoodles are also a fun way to squeeze in extra veggies and fiber into your diet – and kids love them too (even raw)!
How many Calories and Carbs in Zoodles / Zucchini Noodles?
When compared with pasta, zucchini noodles are much lower in calories, fiber, AND carbs- and they’re naturally gluten-free!
Let’s compare them.
Two cups of pasta have around 480 calories, 2 grams of fiber and a whopping 90 grams of carbs (88 net carbs)! Yikes!
While 2 cups of zucchini noodles have a mere 66 calories, 4 grams of fiber(yay!), and 12 grams of total carbs, and 8 net carbs.
And not to mention, zucchini is high in Vitamin A and other nutrients and minerals.
Should I Boil My Zoodles?
No you shouldn’t boil your zoodles. If you boil them they will come out soggy, and you’ll lose the zucchini’s nutrients in the boiled water.
The best way to ensure your zoodles are tender with a slight crunch while maintaining nutritional value, is to lightly pan fry them, microwave them or bake them in the oven with the cooking instructions below.
Are Zucchini Noodles Keto Friendly?
With a conservative 8 net carbs per 2 cups, zucchini noodles make a perfect side dish or even main dish option. Fry, boil, microwave or even eat raw, there are many options that you can add to your ketogenic diet.
Where to Buy Zucchini Noodles / Zoodles?
Don’t want to spiralize your zucchini yourself? No worries!
With the popularity of spiralized vegetables, many supermarkets now carry pre-made zucchini noodles in the produce section. Just ask a sales rep, if you can’t find them.
If you can’t find any in the produce section, all hope is not lost…
Green Giant sells pre-spiralized frozen Zucchini noodles (check the frozen vegetable aisle)- which might make it even more convenient.
Buy a few packs (perhaps on sale?), store in your freezer and use whenever you need them.
Learn more about how to cook zucchini noodles a bit further down (including a delicious buttery garlic parmesan recipe!).
Do Zucchini Noodles Taste like pasta?
Zucchini is quite bland of a vegetable, which makes it perfect when substituting as pasta in recipes. Some people describe it’s flavor mostly flavorless with a slightly sweet taste (especially with ripe zucchinis).
It’s mild flavor and crispness, allows it to take on the flavors of the spices and sauces you add to it.
When mildly cooked, the texture is like eating al-dente pasta. I will cover different ways on how to make zucchini noodles, a bit further down.
Some people also like eating it raw.
Add it to salads, slaws, etc, for a yummy texture-rich addition, that’s low in calories and carbs.
It’s not bitter like some raw veggies are, so kids often like them too!
My (picky)kids enjoy eating the spiralized strings of raw zucchini, and I think it’s because they are crispy and so mild in flavor!
Zucchini Noodles Maker / Device
There are a few different ways how to make zucchini noodles from scratch. Although many people get overwhelmed with the different choices, when you break them down, it’s not so intimidating.
Before we delve in, I want to answer a common question people have when starting: Do you cook your zucchini before spiralizing it?
The simple answer is No. Spiralize your zucchini raw. Follow up with cooking them.
Take a raw zucchini, cut a half an inch off each end, and use one of the following noddle maker /devices to spiralize your veggies.
Here they are…
WITH A COUNTERTOP SPIRALIZER
This countertop spiralizer is my personal favorite. It might look like an intimidating contraption, but it’s quite easy to use.
And it’s FAST.
I can spiralize an entire zucchini in under a minute. This is especially handy if your cooking for a family (more than 1 or 2 zucchinis at a time) or batch cooking.
Plus you get 7 blades (included). They easily swap out, so you can make different size noodles and spirals, depending on the recipe you are making. From thick noodles to thin 2 mm size, you’ll be able to create a huge variety of recipes.
WITH A HANDHELD SPIRALIZER
I’ve used handheld spiralizers, like this one on Amazon, and they work similarly to the countertop spiralizer above. Although it takes more time and a bit more effort.
If you only need to spiralize 1 zucchini at a time or don’t have any space to store the counter-top version, then this handheld version will work nicely.
WITH A JULIENNE PEELER
Using a julienne peeler is another way to cut noodles out of veggies. I personally haven’t tried this method, but other people seem to like this method too- especially if you have one laying around, and don’t want to invest in a spiralizer right off the bat.
Plus it is very small, so super easy to store away.
How Do You Cook And Eat Zoodles?
In this section I’m going to cover how to cook your zucchini noodles and then some ideas on how you can eat them. Whether you’ve spiralized them yourself or bought them pre-spiralized, the same instructions apply.
The different methods below will cover how long to cook zucchini noodles, along with other cooking questions.
Before we go into each method, one word of advice from someone who has failed, then learned how to make the perfect al-dente noodles:
Don’t overcook them.
Since zucchinis are 95% water, they can easily turn into a mushy mess if you cook them too long. Be mindful of this when following the instructions below.
Do zucchini noodles have to be cooked?
Zucchini noodles don’t have to be cooked. They taste great without being cooked with a light, crispy and slightly sweet flavour. Toss them with some olive oil and a dash or herbs for some extra flavour. Or add them as a topping on your salads for added texture and crunch. You could also toss them raw into a simple soup to add noodle-like texture to your soup.
How to Cook Zucchini Noodles in the Microwave
Dump your noodles into a microwave-safe bowl and place them in the microwave for about 1 minute (high setting). Since each microwave is different, it might take a bit more time.
If you find your noodles need to cook a bit longer, add 30-second increments, and check each time to prevent overcooking them.
Toss with your favorite sauce, and serve immediately.
Tip: If there is any excess liquid at the bottom of the bowl, then drain it with a colander before serving.
How to Cook Zucchini Noodles in the Oven
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place your spiralized zucchini noodles on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Try not to pile the noodles, instead, spread them evenly in a single layer on the sheet pan.
Toss a bit of sea salt on them (this will help draw the moisture out).
Bake for about 15 minutes or when the noodles are al-dente.
When they are done, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Top with your choice of sauce, seasoning and serve immediately.
How to Pan-Fry/Saute Zucchini Noodles
This is my personal favorite way to cook them, as you have the most control over the consistency and “done-ness” of your noodles. And it’s easy.
Optional: If you want to remove most of the moisture in the zucchini before cooking it, toss in some salt on the noodles in a colander, and let it stand for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, using a paper towel, gently squeeze the zoodles to release some more water.
Heat up some oil in a pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Toss in your noodles in the heated pan and saute them for 3-4 minutes max.
Drain excess liquid (the zucchini released while cooking), by tossing the cooked noodles in a colander before serving.
How Do You Boil Zoodles?
Boiling Zoodles is as easy as boiling vegetables, but much faster!
Place your zoodles in a pot of boiling water and let boil for 1 minute. Drain in a colander right away and serve immediately.
For extra dry noodles, pat noodles with a paper towel before serving.
How to Cook Frozen Zucchini Noodles
Use your skillet or frying pan, on medium-high heat, to steam your frozen zucchini noodles (using a lid to cover the pan, in order to steam). Steam for about 5 minutes or until al-dente. Don’t overcook it.
Transfer to a colander to drain excess liquid. Serve immediately with your favorite sauce.
Tip: Place frozen zoodles directly in a preheated pan/skillet.
How Do You Cook Zoodles Without Getting Soggy?
Here are some additional tips on how to avoid making a soggy mess out of your zoodles.
- Drain your noodles in a colander after cooking
- Don’t peel the zucchini. Peeled zucchini noodles will be mushier and not as crunchy
- Don’t cook your noodles in a sauce. Cook noodles first, then when ready to serve, top with the sauce.
- Don’t cook noodles for too long. 3-5 minutes max or until al-dente.
- Before cooking, toss your noodles with salt, throw them in a colander and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain gently after 30 minutes, to release extra liquid. Cook as desired.
- Serve noodles immediately (the noodles release more liquid as they sit)
Recipe Ideas with Zucchini Noodles
There are many different ways you can prepare these noodles. Here are a few ideas to get your creative (delicious) juices flowing!
- Chicken parmesan with garlic parmesan zoodles (recipe below)
- Zucchini noodles with pesto sauce
- Noodle bolognese (zucchini noodles topped with bolognese sauce)
- Zucchini noodles with plain pasta sauce
- Alfredo sauce on top of a bed of zucchini noodles
- zucchini noodles with butter and shrimp
- Serve as a side with some low-carb meatloaf.
- Eat them raw for a light and healthy snack
- Add them to chicken and zucchini noodle soup
- 4 medium zucchini (about 2 pounds)
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup butter (or half a stick)
- Optional: 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you want a spicier option)
- Julienne or Spiralize your zucchini with one of the methods listed above.
- Heat up a pan or skillet. Add in the butter and garlic (and optional chili flakes)
- When butter begins to bubble, toss in the raw zucchini noodles into pan/skillet. Using tongs, coat the noodles in the hot butter sauce
- Saute for up to a max 5 minutes (or until noodles are el-dente in texture). Noodles should be wilted, but still, have a crunch.
- Remove from heat, toss in your parmesan and stir to coat noodles with the cheese.
- Using tongs, remove the noodles from the pan onto a serving dish.
- Pour remaining butter sauce (from the pan) into a separate bowl and spoon over noodles as desired (after serving).
- Serve immediately.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Hot Target Set of 3-7, 9, 12 inches, Multi-Color, Heavy Duty, Non-Stick, Stainless Steel Silicone Bbq and Kitchen Tongs (Can Also Be Used as Bbq Turners), (Pack of 3, Multi color)
Utopia Kitchen Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet (12.5 inch)
Spiralizer Ultimate 7 Strongest-and-Heaviest Duty Vegetable Slicer Best Veggie Pasta Spaghetti Maker for Keto/Paleo/Gluten-Free, With Extra Blade Caddy & 4 Recipe Ebook, White
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 583mgCarbohydrates: 8gNet Carbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g