A spiralizer has been on my wish list for several months now, and I was very excited when my kids surprised me with one as a gift for my birthday. This unique and very easy to use gadget can turn almost any vegetable or fruit into spaghetti or ribbon strands. Yes, that’s why the noodles in the pic are green. My family loves zucchini, and with this 4-blade spiralizer from Paderno World Cuisine I’ve been able to reinvent our favorite vegetable into a fun, new dish: zoodles (zucchini noodles!) and meatballs.
These zoodles make the perfect pasta substitute, and covered in marinara sauce they are a very healthy twist to traditional spaghetti and meatballs.
Before taking out my zoodle maker, I made the meatballs. In a bowl, I combine the ground beef with egg, Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, and Shar’s gluten-free breadcrumbs. I roll the meat into little meatballs and fry in oil until they are browned on all sides. Then, I simmer them in a savory gluten-free Italian red sauce.
The red sauce is inspired by Sundays from my childhood when my best friend would invite me over her Italian grandmother’s house for dinner. The house was always filled with a crowd of friends and relatives and, above all, the overpoweringly delicious smell of meats simmering in a tomato sauce on the stove. My friend’s grandmother called the sauce “red gravy,” and it accompanied everything: sausages, meatballs, pork chops, and pasta. Today, I’m serving it over my zoodles!
Zoodles of Fun
While the meatballs are simmering in the red gravy, it’s time to make those zoodles. The whole family ends up crowding into the kitchen when I take out the spiralizer. It’s so fun to use that everyone wants a turn. And look how beautifully it turns a zucchini into long, noodle-like swirls. I recommend using a long and fat zucchini for the best zoodles.
After you’ve sliced up your zucchini, place the spiralized zucchini in a colander with a little salt while the moisture is released. Now it’s ready to be cooked. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add three cloves of chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then, add the zoodles, sprinkle with salt and cook about 2 minutes. Stir and cook for one more minute. Finally, let the zoodles sit for a few minutes to allow any excess water to be released. Drain, and they’re ready to serve. You might also want to pat them off with a paper towel if they are still a bit too moist. Cover with the red gravy and top with meatballs and dinner is ready!
I think we’re becoming a bit addicted to zoodles in my house now. I love how they give any meal a healthy twist, and I’m coming up with all kinds of ideas for different ways to serve them. This spiralizer has definitely been one of my favorite additions to my kitchen this year, and the model that my kids bought me is high-quality and has many other features that I have not yet tried out. It’s a snap to assemble, use, and clean. A wonderful tool for the gluten-free kitchen, and a great gift for anyone you know who loves to cook.
- For Meatballs
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1 tblsp. parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. parsley
- ¼ cup gluten free Shar’s bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. salt
- oil for frying
- For Homemade Marina Sauce:
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 carrots, finely chopped (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
- 1 (6- ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 dried bay leaf
- ½ tsp. oregano
- parmesan cheese to taste (optional)
- For Zoodles
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 6 medium zucchinis
- 2 tblsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- Prepare Meatballs: Combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into meatballs. Fry meatballs in oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully about 10 minutes.Then simmer meatballs in gluten free marinara sauce.
- Prepare Homemade Marinara Sauce.: In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and garlic, celery and carrots (optional) and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Turn flame down to a simmer and slowly add the tomato puree, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt, oregano to taste and parmesan (optional). Simmer covered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)
- Prepare Zucchini (Zoodles): Cut zucchini into zoodles using a spiralizer. Place the spiralized zucchini in a colander and toss with the salt until coated. Place colander in a shallow bowl for 20 - 30 minutes while zoodles release their moisture, then pat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add zoodles (zucchini), and cook about 2 minutes. Stir and cook for one more minute. Then let the zoodles sit for a few minutes to allow any excess water to be released, drain and they're ready to serve.
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