Zucchini noodles—or zoodles—are a food trend from a few seasons ago, but they’re not leaving my kitchen anytime soon. Fresh, vibrantly green, and conveniently carb free—zoodles fit the healthy food lifestyle—which makes them more than a trend to me.
It’s All Green To Me
Zucchinis are abundant in the summer and available in most groceries year-round, making these noodles a great option any time of year. Since we already have sweet and tender zucchinis, it doesn’t take much to boost the flavor and make the meal complete. Seriously, some garlic and a little parmesan cheese is all you need for a whole lotta flavor. But any of your favorite pasta sauces will do here.
No matter the sauce, it’s on a pile of healthy veg, so in my mind there’s zero guilt involved. I can polish off a bowl on my own.
Next time you’re thinking noodles—go green—you’ll be glad you did! – Linds x
How to Make Zucchini Noodles (5 Ways)
There are many ways to make zucchini noodles, here are my 5 favorites. The best news is that you don’t need a spiralizer to make them. (Although, the spiralizer makes my favorite zoodles).
Here are the different shapes you can slice this versatile veggie in to, and the tool you’ll need for each:
- Curly zoodles – spiralizer
- Fettucini zoodles – mandoline
- For orzo – box grater
- Lasagna noodles – mandoline
- Pappardelle noodles – veggie peeler
Here are more details on each of the methods for making zucchini noodles:
With a Spiralizer
There are a handful of spiralizers to choose from–my favorite is this tabletop version. There’s also a handheld spiralizer, and a KitchenAid attachment. I prefer the tabletop tool as the spiralized zucchini come together effortlessly, and you waste very little. (Bonus: spiralizers also work with other vegetables like summer squash, carrots, jicama, carrots, etc.)
Types of noodles: Curly spaghetti zucchini noodles.
- Pros: Affordable, incredibly easy, and consistent noodles. Also, the noodles curl, which obviously makes them more fun to eat.
- Cons: Semi-bulky kitchen accesory. Not convenient to clean.
With a Mandoline
Love mandolines when necessary, but also afraid of them (iykyk). Making zucchini noodles with a mandoline is fast and easy, but you’ll waste more zucchini than with other methods. This accessory is the best way to make zucchini ravioli and zucchini lasagna noodles. It’s also easy to slice your lasagna into fettucini strips if that’s what you’re craving.
I just bought this (finger safe!) mandoline, excited to test it out!
Types of noodles: Lasagna noodles, ravioli noodles, and fettuccini noodles. Again, depends on the attachment you use.
- Pros: Consistent shaped noodles. Quick and easy. More shapes.
- Cons: The sharp blade is notorious for finger injuries, and wastes a lot of the zucchini.
With a Box Grater
Ok, not traditional, but just as tasty. If using a box grater, keep in mind your noodles aren’t as thick/long, so you’ll want to cook them for less time.
Types of noodles: Orzo or rice like “noodles”.
- Pros: Everyone owns a box grater, so you won’t need to buy a new tool. Super quick and easy.
- Cons: Not traditional noodles.
With a Vegetable Peeler
This is how you get thick, pappardelle style zucchini pasta. That said, this method isn’t perfect, and your noodles will be different shapes and sizes. My favorite veggie peelers are this OXO peeler, and this y-shaped peeler.
Types of noodles: Thick, pappardelle style noodles.
- Pros: New shape from a kitchen tool you already own.
- Cons: Noodles will be different shapes and sizes, they’ll also heat more quickly as they’ll be thinner, so I don’t recommend cooking them. More active work.
Buy Them From the Store
A legit option, if your grocery store sells zucchini noodles in the refrigerator section, they’re great in a pinch! That said, they’re often significantly more expensive. Avoid frozen zucchini noodles, they’re soggy when cooked.
- Pros: The quickest and easiest option.
- Cons: More expensive. Check labels for added ingredients that can add a funky taste to your sauce. Frozen will always be soggy.
How to Cook Zucchini Noodles (4 Ways)
You have options when it comes to heating zucchini noodles. Emphasis on heating. You see, zucchinis are almost entirely water, and become soggy in a matter of minutes. Literally, cook them 1 minute longer and your gorgeous sauce becomes a watery mess.
I find it’s always best to under cook than over. Typically a warm sauce or a 1-minute sautee is all you need. Here are a few methods to get them just right:
1. Twirl Into a Warm Sauce
I wish I could say I like raw zucchini. But. I. Don’t. So, here’s the next best option: get a piping hot sauce and twirl those zucchini noodles in. It’s essentially like the other cooking methods here, you just skip that extra step. And, it’s impossible to overcook them.
- PROS: No extra dishes. Impossible to overcook.
- CONS: I haven’t found any!
2. How to Sautee Zucchini Noodles
My second favorite way to cook zucchini noodles is a quick and easy sautee. I prefer this method when making a recipe like the garlic parmesan zucchini noodles below–it really infuses the butter and garlic into the noodles, and you don’t need an extra pan.
To sautee zucchini noodles: you’ll want to add a bit of oil to a large pan. Once it’s shimmering, add the noodles, along with salt and pepper. Toss for about 1 minute. If you have more noodles this may take a bit longer, but I suggest pulling after 1 minute.
- PROS: Great for one-pan meals.
- CONS: Easy to overcook.
3. How to Microwave Zucchini Noodles
It doesn’t get easier than microwaving zucchini noodles. The amount of time you microwave will depend on how many noodles you’re making.
To microwave zucchini noodles: place noodles in a large bowl and zap them for 1 minute. Check to ensure they’re warm, if not use 30-second intervals until they’re heated through.
- PROS: Easy! And hard to overcook.
- CONS: Extra dishes.
4. How to Boil Zucchini Noodles
This is essentially blanching the noodles. A quick dunk in boiling water will get them warm in no time. Keep in mind, that you’ll also need a colander and loads of towels to get them dry.
To boil zucchini noodles: bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the zucchini noodles and heat for 1 minute. Immediately strain in a colander. I like to blot these dry to prevent a watery sauce.
- PROS: Use the same pot to make your sauce after.
- CONS: Extra dishes, and takes a lot more time.
Tips for Perfect Zoodles. Every. Time.
- Buy thicker zucchini – no matter what method you choose to make your zucchini noodles, thicker zucchinis will be easier to work with.
- Spiralizing will give you really long strands – After spiralizing I like to cut the noodles in half so they’re easier (and less messy!) to eat.
- Don’t overcook them! I know I’ve said it, but this is the easiest way to get mushy noodles. Al dente is best here.
- Making lasagna noodles? You’ll want to remove some liquid before baking everything together to prevent a soggy dish. Do this by spraying noodles with cooking spray on a rimmed baking sheet and broiling on each side for 3-5 minutes.
More Pasta Alternatives
Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles (10 Minute Zoodles)Print Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1/3 cup parmesan grated
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes
- fresh basil chopped
- Remove the zucchini (2 medium) ends and spiralize. Your noodles will be really long, I like to chop them a little so I don't get super long pieces. Discard the interior and end pieces.
- In a large pan, melt the butter (2 tablespoons) over medium heat. Add the garlic (2 cloves) and saute until it's fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the zucchini noodles, salt (1/2 teaspoon), and pepper (1/4 teaspoon), and toss to coat. Cook for about 1 minute, only to warm through the noodles, cooking them longer will make them soggy. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the parmesan (1/3 cup) on top, then toss to combine.
- Serve warm with crushed red pepper flakes, additional parmesan, and basil. Enjoy!