Confession time: I eat a lot of pasta. Like, a lot. When I’ve been cooking quick dinners this winter in my icebox of a Manhattan apartment, there’s nothing simpler than throwing some pasta in a pot and having dinner done in less than 20 minutes. I whip up some sauce, throw in a protein, sauté some greens… Done.
But I also love vegetables. And the whole “zoodle” thing has been a point of envy for me for some time. You see, I’m a food Instagrammer; the gorgeous, spiralized threads of crunchy, bright vegetables have been littering my feed ever since this low-carb “pasta” trend started. But I just do not have the patience, the time, or quite frankly the funds to invest in a hand-held vegetable spiralizer. Those appliances are expensive — and they steal spare cabinet space my tiny apartment just doesn’t have.
Sure, you can get a hand-held one for cheap from a generic brand. But those never work as well, and every time I’ve tried using one, I end up covered in mushy zucchini shreds with a pile of amorphous green muck in front of me. It’s immensely disappointing.
Without splurging for the big, industrial spiralizer, you’re pretty much out of luck.
But then I discovered one product in the freezer aisle — frozen, pre-spiralized vegetables. Green Giant sells them; they’re basically microwavable bags of vegetable noodles. There are carrot noodles, zucchini noodles, butternut squash noodles, and beet noodles.
I went for the beet noodles. Nothing beats beets, am I right?
Making them was super easy. I just put some oil in a pan, dropped in the icy chunk of red noodles, covered it with a lid, and let them sauté and steam over low heat. In all honesty, I didn’t get a good look at how it all went down because I walked away to organize my laundry (much needed). But when I came back, the beet noodles were tender, warm, and somehow still intact.
No shredded strands of watery vegetables. No falling apart as soon as I picked them up with my fork. The beets had held up nicely, and I easily seasoned them with a few spices and some salt. I gave them a quick taste; the beets were slightly firm, but cooked through. Just tender enough. A perfect al dente, if you will.
I served mine with chicken, some leftover roasted vegetables, and half an avocado.
I’ll admit, I don’t like the idea of replacing pasta with vegetables. Like, if you’re craving pasta, eat the damn pasta. I have been thinking of these fun spirals of vegetables as a different type of food entirely. So if you’re looking for a fun way to eat your vegetables, this could do the trick.
I’d definitely buy these again. Cooking gorgeous, colorful spiralized vegetables didn’t have to add any prep time or labor to my quick weeknight meal — but I did add some variety and nutrition. Who could complain about that?
If you’re looking for a dinner that doesn’t require a stove, the vegetables can also be microwaved — or you could abandon the pre-packaged foods and try one of these simple no-cook meals instead.