How to Make Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)

Say hello to your new clean eating best friend.  Zucchini noodles are so easy to make and replace a traditional pasta perfectly. Plus tips and everything you need to know about zucchini and zucchini noodles.

How to Make Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) | Tips for making zucchini noodles, a healthy and low-carb pasta alternative | A Sweet Pea Chef

Zoodles or zucchini noodles are the answer to the prayers of those who wanted to be able to eat their pasta dishes but maintain a clean and healthy diet at the same time. People like me, basically. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a classic pasta dish from time to time. But most of the times, I stick to my trusty zoodles.

These are so easy to make and actually replace a traditional pasta pretty darn well.

You can serve zoodles with all sorts of things — Pasta Sauce, Chicken Parmesan or Shrimp Scampi.

When you replace pasta with zucchini noodles, you still get that cozy feeling that comfort-food pasta dishes are loved for. But without all the carbs. And with fewer calories.  And gluten-free.

But wouldn’t zoodles change the taste of pasta dishes?

Not as much as you think. And that’s because zucchini has a mild flavor so, instead of changing the taste of the dish, it picks up the flavors of the other ingredients used in the dish.

Ok, I like this idea. When is zucchini in season?

Summer is zucchini’s season. However, you can find zucchinis in grocery stores year round. Granted, the ones you will find during summer months are tastier but I wouldn’t trade my zucchini noodles for pasta the rest of the year.

Are you sold yet or do I have more convincing to do?

Actually, you know what, I will tell you other zucchini and zucchini noodles facts because I feel like you really have to understand how amazing zucchinis are.

Top view of zucchini that will be turned into zucchini noodles.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ZUCCHINI

I’ll start with listing the health benefits of zucchini but before that, here’s a fun fact about zucchini – zucchini is a fruit.

Nope, I’m not joking. This versatile veggie is actually a fruit. A fruit you should use as a veggie, of course, but still a fruit. Zucchinis are getting more interesting by the minute, am I right?

Back to the important conversation. What are the health benefits of zucchini?

Zucchini:

  • is low in calories;
  • is low in carbs;
  • contains 0 fat;
  • is high in antioxidants;
  • is high in fiber;
  • is high in water;
  • contains a significant amount of vitamins;
  • contains potassium;
  • contains manganese;
  • contains lutein;
  • contains minerals.

And, in case you don’t know why all those things are good for you, let’s get into more details.

  • an increased amount of fiber means a healthy digestive system;
  • low-fat foods that are high in fiber and potassium mean healthy blood circulation and a lower cholesterol level;
  • lutein promotes eye health;
  • folate boosts your energy levels;
  • antioxidants boost your immune system;
  • vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C promote health and help you stay energized.

I said zucchini is low in calories and low in carbs. So how many calories are in zucchini? Also, how many carbs?

1 cup of raw zucchini has approximately 20 calories. And about 5g of carbs.

For comparison purposes, let’s see how many calories and carbs are in the same amount of pasta.

1 cup of cooked pasta has approximately 200 calories. And about 40g of carbs.

That’s quite a big difference, don’t you think?

View from the top of the veggies spiralizer that will be used to make zucchini noodles.

HOW TO PICK A ZUCCHINI

Choosing the right zucchini is an important deal. Especially if you want to make zucchini noodles. Wondering why?

Well…

  • if your zucchini is overripe, you’ll end up with soft noodles that will break during cooking. That’s unfortunate.
  • using a zucchini that is not ripe can lead to mushy noodles. That’s also unfortunate.

So here’ how to pick a zucchini:

  • Look for a medium-sized zucchini that is relatively thin. Larger zucchinis are usually too watery to be transformed into zoodles. And they are not as flavorful as smaller zucchinis either.
  • Check to see if the zucchini is firm. Buy it only if it is.
  • The skin should be bright green and smooth. No blemishes should be present.
  • Zucchinis with stems last longer so look or them if you want to store the zucchinis longer.

What is the difference between zucchini and squash?

Zucchinis are actually a type of squash so there’s no difference between them. There are different types of squash out there, yes. Zucchinis are the green summer type. Basically, zucchini is to summer what butternut squash is to fall.

SPIRALIZING ZUCCHINI

Spiralizing zucchini. This is such a fun activity. If you used a spiralizer before, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, you have to learn how to make veggie noodles. Because you won’t get it until you try.

Making zucchini noodles can be done in many different ways. And there are different types of spiralizers you can try:

Handheld spiralizer

A handheld spiralizer is a spiralizer you have to hold in your hand and twist to make the zoodles.  For TONS of other veggies, fruits, and starches  that you can spiralize, check out this Guide To Using a Spiralizer post.

How to make zucchini noodles with a handheld spiralizer:

  1. trim the ends of the zucchini;
  2. place one end against the center of the blade;
  3. start to apply pressure and twist clockwise at the same time.

Mixer attachments

These mixer attachments are spiralizing blades that can be added to your mixer.

How to use mixer attachments to make zoodles:

  1. center the zucchini on the vegetable skewer;
  2. attach the spiralizer blade to the mixer according to the instructions that come with your mixer (usually, this means at the end of the zucchini);
  3. place a bowl under the zucchini to catch the zoodles;
  4. turn on the mixer and process until it reaches the end of your zucchini.

Countertop spiralizer

A countertop spiralizer is the most common and, might I add, the easiest to use one. I have this one.

How to use a countertop spirilizer to make zucchini noodles:

  1. trim the ends of your zucchini;
  2. insert your desired blade in the spiralizer;
  3. place the zucchini in the spiralizer;
  4. spin away until you’re done.

Spiralizing zucchini with a veggie spiralizer to make zucchini noodles.

ZUCCHINI NOODLES WITHOUT A SPIRALIZER

You can also make zucchini noodles without a spiralizer. I didn’t own a spiralizer for a long time. But I was still making zucchini noodles. And so can you if you don’t have one.

How to make zucchini noodles without a spiralizer:

How to make zucchini noodles with a peeler:

  1. cut the ends of the zucchini;
  2. peel zucchini into long ribbons;
  3. make sure you apply light pressure on all sides.

How to make zucchini noodles with a grater:

  1. cut the ends of the zucchini;
  2. place your zucchini lengthwise against the grater;
  3. start from the top of the grater and go down in long strokes.

How to make zucchini noodles with a knife:

  1. cut the ends of the zucchini;
  2. using a sharp knife, carve strips from the zucchini;
  3. stop when you reach the core of the zucchini.

MAKING ZUCCHINI NOODLES AHEAD

Can you freeze zucchini? This is a question I get all the time.

I have bad news and good news.

Freezing zucchini noodles is not recommended. If you store them after cooking or if you freeze them, they become very mushy. And you want firm zoodles that do not break when you mix them with other ingredients. So cooking zucchini noodles ahead of time is also not an option. These are the bad news.

Now, the good news.

You can make zucchini noodles ahead of time and store them uncooked in an airtight container in the fridge. They last for up to 5 days like this.

You can also line the bottom of your container with a paper towel and place the zucchini noodles on top of it. The paper towel will maintain the moisture of the zucchini noodles and it will keep them fresh.

Top view of a bowl filled with freshly spiralized zucchini noodles.

HOW TO COOK ZUCCHINI NOODLES

Before describing the cooking styles for making zucchini noodles, let me give you some general tips about how to cook zucchini noodles:

Don’t overcook them!

I know what you’re about to say. That’s only one tip. Yes, it’s true. However, it is a super important one. Overcooking zucchini noodles makes soggy noodles. This happens because the moisture leaks out of the zucchini. So, even if you are tempted to cook the zoodles until they are no longer crunchy, don’t do it.

How to saute zucchini noodles:

  1. heat a skillet over medium heat;
  2. add olive oil;
  3. add the zoodles;
  4. cook for 3-5 minutes;
  5. toss during cooking so all the zoodles cook through.

How to boil zucchini noodles:

  1. boil a pot of water;
  2. toss in the zucchini noodles;
  3. cook for 1 minute.

Ok, this method is actually called blanching. Blanching means cooking something (usually a veggie or a fruit) in boiling water for a brief period of time. However, blanching sounds fancy and complicated. And I didn’t want you to think making zucchini noodles is hard.

How to bake zucchini noodles:

  1. preheat the oven to 200°F;
  2. line a baking sheet with parchment paper;
  3. distribute the noodles on the baking sheet;
  4. cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

One more thing. Raw zucchini noodles are also a great option. If you heat up the pasta sauce and toss the zucchini noodles in, you’re good to go. I mean… ready to serve and eat.

3 HEALTHY ZUCCHINI RECIPES

No matter how amazing this zoodles recipe is, one zucchini recipe is never enough. Obviously, I have 3 more healthy zucchini recipes for you. I hope you are ready for them because – spoiler alert – they are yummy and addictive.

TURKEY AND QUINOA STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS

This list of recommended zucchini recipes starts with a Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe.

Close up shot of the cooked turkey and quinoa stuffed zucchini boats that are barked and ready to eat, still in the casserole dish.

Besides being delicious, this recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner. And you can make more boats than you can eat at one meal and enjoy them as a make-ahead dinner during the week because they reheat really well. Get the recipe.

PARMESAN BAKED SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI SPEARS

The second recommended zucchini recipe is this Parmesan Baked Squash and Zucchini Spears recipe. These zucchini spears are great, clean, and, of course, healthy.

Parmesan Baked Squash And Zucchini Spears | Easy, Fast, Healthy & Delicious! www.asweetpeachef.com

You can enjoy them as a healthy snack, a delicious appetizer or as a dinner side. Get the recipe.

SPINACH, EGG WHITE AND ZUCCHINI LUNCH WRAPS

When you want a quick and healthy lunch, these Spinach, Egg White and Zucchini Lunch Wraps are perfect.

Spinach, Egg White & Zucchini Wraps | An easy, high protein lunch that's ready in 15 minutes! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

Flavorful, high in protein, filling, and ready in 15 minutes. I’m sure this recipe will become one of your go-to zucchini recipes. Get the recipe.

How To Make Zucchini Noodles

4.5 from 2 votes
How to Make Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) | Tips for making zucchini noodles, a healthy and low-carb pasta alternative | A Sweet Pea Chef
How to Make Zucchini Noodles
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
2 mins
Total Time
12 mins
 

Zucchini noodles are so easy to make and replace a traditional pasta pretty darn well.

Categories: Side
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: how to make zucchini noodles, how to make zucchini noodles with a peeler, zucchini peeler
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 48 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier
Ingredients
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut both ends flat.  No need to remove the peel, as it’s edible and nutritious.

  2. Place firmly into the prongs of the spiralizer.

  3. Spiralize. 

  4. If cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

  5. Add the spiralized zucchini, sea salt, and pepper, and cook, tossing frequently, for 2-3 minutes, or until the zucchini begins to become tender.  Do not overcook, or the zucchini will become mushy.  

Recipe Notes

Typically, one medium zucchini will yield enough zucchini for one serving.

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Zucchini Noodles
Amount Per Serving (1 zucchini)
Calories 48 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Sodium 161mg7%
Potassium 511mg15%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 390IU8%
Vitamin C 35.1mg43%
Calcium 31mg3%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use often and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

33 thoughts on “How to Make Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)

  1. Wow, are these good!! No dip necessary as a side. Just made these tonight to go along with some bake cod.
    These are now on my quick healthy side-dishes.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. 4 stars
    HI. I have been substituting zucchini noodles for pasta for a year now. Considering we are of Italian descent, it is pretty surprising to me that we like the substitution. Even my husband.

    What I would suggest has worked better for me. I was at first steaming the noodles but it just made things watery, as pasta sauce, so I decided to use them raw which I normally don’t like. We LOVE it. I take the noodles out of the fridge so they can come to room temperature and then make sure that anything I am putting on the noodles is quite hot. It ensures that the dinner will be a nice warm temperature and the best part is the crunchiness of the noodles.

  3. I threw them in the saute pan with the other vegs. I won’t boil anything anymore. Thought about steaming them. Does method matter? Are they better boiled? They were surprisingly good.

  4. My sister can’t eat gluten, so to make noodles she first slices into the side of the zucchini – this way when you use the potato peeler you are left with noodle-like pieces instead of the thick slices. I’m making this with my homemade spaghetti sauce for dinner tonight!

  5. Could you slice these zuke strips in half lengthwise? I’d like it to be more like spaghetti strands and less like lasagna. Just wondering if it would hold up or just fall apart.

  6. So awesome…while we are at it…I just wanted to mention spaghetti squash….it will make a great substitute also! Tried your honey whole wheat pizza dough tonight…..it was AMAZING 😉 Thank you so much for sharing it!

  7. I’m currently in phase 3 of the HCG diet and discovered your zucchini noodle idea!! I miss my pasta! But, I just made chicken alfredo with these noodles, and OMG!!! I may never eat regular pasta again! lol 🙂 It was fantastic! Thank you for sharing!

  8. I picked up on the zucchini noodle kick from my Paleo daughter-in-law. I was skeptical – but have used them several times since being exposed. Tonight I’m making a raw tomato sauce to dress them with.

      1. It was awesome – and I was excited to see fresh zucchini at the grocer today. I’m using them as a side dish with butter and cheese for dinner this evening. I recently got a julienne slicer, and will use it – then slice with the grooves to create spaghetti-like noodles. I’m going to get rid of the green skin to see if I can fool my meat and potatoes son-in-law.

  9. This is the first time in over six months I’ve pulled out my large pot and filled it with water for boiling! Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be topping with a tomato-mushroom-bacon sauce with fresh buffalo mozzarella (I’m Primal, not hardcore Paleo).

    But I promise you this: When you finally do have some pasta after not eating it for a long time, you will probably wonder why you loved it so much in the first place. Just can’t compare to all the real foods we’re eating these days. 🙂

  10. Isn’t zucchini amazing?? I’ve been using it in a lot of recipes..lasagna, manicotti, meatloaf,… They taste like nothing so you can do whatever you want with them. You stop missing the pasta after a while. 🙂

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