By Jill Nowak, RD, CDE, CLEC, clinical dietitian at CHOC
There is a popular trend transpiring with preparing vegetables, known as “spiralized vegetables.” Spiralizing vegetables can be more appealing and accepting to those who struggle with eating vegetables, and it’s also a great way to sneak extra vegetables into your loved ones’ diets who are picky eaters.
Thanks to this new trend, eating your vegetables just got easier. Spiralizing vegetables can be achieved when using the latest new kitchen tool, the spiralizer, which turns vegetables into noodles. Spiralizers can be found in a variety of kitchen home stores or purchased online for a variety of price points, depending on features, accessories, and blade options. Other alternatives to the spiralizer include a grater, mandolin, julienne peeler or conventional vegetable peeler, which can achieve similar spiralized effects. Firm vegetables work best and keeping the skin on when possible increases the fiber and nutrient content.
Some of the best vegetables to spiralize include:
- Broccoli Stalks
- Potatoes (Russet, Yukon Gold, Sweet)
- Squash (Butternut, Zucchini, Yellow)
Spiralized vegetables can be served raw or slightly cooked in salads, soups, side dishes, casseroles or main entrées. Preparation can include sautéing in a little olive or grapeseed oil, boiling, baking or simmering. Not only can spiralized vegetables help boost our vegetable intake, but they can provide more options to families with diverse nutrition profiles or goals. For example, spiralized vegetables can be another alternative to pasta for those living with food allergies or sensitivities to wheat or gluten, such as celiac disease. Also, vegetable noodles can be an option for individuals watching their calories or those living with diabetes who may be watching their carbohydrate intake. Here’s the breakdown- 1 cup of pasta is around 200 calories and45 grams of carbohydrates. Swap it out with zucchini noodles, with a larger portion size of 2 cups, and it’s about 70 calories and14 grams of carbs. Clearly, spiralizing vegetables is a win-win, boosting our vegetable consumption, while satisfying and meeting our health goals.
Here are two recipes to enjoy…have fun spiralizing!
Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro-Avocado Pesto
2 cups cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup pecans
2 cloves garlic
1 handful cilantro
1 handful parsley
2 tablespoons lime juice
a dash of kosher salt
a dash of black pepper ground
Step 1: Make zucchini into noodles using a spiralizer, or alternative method using a julienne or vegetable peeler or mandolin set on the julienne setting.
Step 2: Make your sauce by combining the last 6 ingredients (pecans to lime juice) in a food processor or blender, then pulse on high until smooth.
Step 3: Each person will get a zucchini (turned into noodles) for themselves. Toss 1/5 of the dressing on the noodles, stir, and top with cherry tomatoes or other veggies of your choosing.
Nutrition Facts: Serves 5 (serving size: 1 zucchini with 1/5 sauce) CALORIES 159; FAT 12.7g (sat 1.4g, mono 7.15g, poly 3g); PROTEIN 4.1g; CARB 11.14g; FIBER 4.8g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 1.5mg; SODIUM 44.5mg; CALC 51.3mg
For a tutorial on using a spiralizer, this recipe and more spiralized recipes visit: www.cookinglight.com
Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs
1 ¼ pounds lean ground turkey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup oatmeal (use Gluten Free (GF) oats for those requiring a GF diet)
Noodles and Sauce
1 (24-ounce) jar lower-sodium pasta sauce
4 medium zucchini
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Mix the turkey, garlic, oregano, parsley, dried onion, parmesan cheese, egg, and oatmeal in a bowl and mix well.
- Scoop the meat mixture into 12 meatballs and lay them on the baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- While the meatballs are cooking, use a, a spiralizer, julienne peeler or mandolin set on the julienne setting and cut the zucchini into “noodles”.
- Place the noodles in a large microwave dish with a lid and microwave for 2 minutes. Heat the marinara sauce in a large sauce pan. Add the cooked meatballs to the hot sauce and pour over zucchini noodles.
Nutrition Facts: (serving size: 1 zucchini + 3 meatballs) CALORIES 445; FAT 20 g (sat 4.8g); PROTEIN 37g; CARB 29g; FIBER 7g; CHOL 150mg; SODIUM 605mg POTASSIUM 605 mg
Learn more about CHOC’s Clinical Nutrition Program
At CHOC, we specialize in providing a full continuum of pediatric nutrition services, including inpatient and outpatient services, depending on our patients’ needs.