By Stephanie Ng, CSUN Dietetic Intern
Have you tried Zoodles, or also known as zucchini noodles?
Zoodles are made from spiralizing raw zucchini into spaghetti-like strands. Lower in calories, zoodles can be a gluten-free alternative to your traditional spaghetti1. A fresh and lighter version to traditional spaghetti2, zucchini noodles can be different and fun to make. Compared to spaghetti, zucchini noodles contains more vitamin A, C, B, potassium, and fiber3 and it is lower in calories than traditional spaghetti4. Best of all, increasing your vegetable intake may help lower blood pressure and prevent diabetes5, 6.This is also a great choice to increase your vegetable intake, get the most nutrients and vitamins, and maintain a healthy weight. Not ready to try it yet? Try mixing whole-grain spaghetti with zucchini noodles.
The easiest way to make zucchini noodles is using a spiralizer, and this is a great tool to keep in your kitchen. You can find an inexpensive alternative, which includes a julienne vegetable peeler or box grater1. In addition, you can use the spiralizer for other fruits and vegetables, so this multi-purpose tool won’t need to sit in that dark corner of your kitchen cabinets.
Try zoodles by purchasing zucchini or yellow squash at CSUN Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays. Some fresh produce to spiralize include beets, bell peppers, jicama, sweet potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, butternut squash, apples, and even cabbage!7 Spiralizing vegetables will add some fun in the kitchen, because chopping and dicing can get boring sometimes. Try making chicken pad thai with butternut squash, or a quicker version of coleslaw. I encourage you to spiralize for a lower-calorie twist in classic dishes4, but with the added bonus of more nutrients and different texture.
Please check out this quick and easy recipe by registered dietitian, Nicole Osinga2. She puts a twist on the traditional bolognese pasta with zucchini noodles and lentils, which are inexpensive legumes that are high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals2,5,6. The meal possibilities can be endless with spiralizing zucchini and other vegetables, while making the kitchen fun with the added bonus of extra nutrients and fiber to improve your health!
Lentil Bolognese Zucchini Pasta
Recipe by Registered Dietitian – Nicole Osinga.
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup dried lentil
- 2 medium zucchinis, spiralized
- Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly softened and fragrant.
- Add carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add marinara sauce and stir to coat.
- Add basil, oregano, water, and lentils. Increase heat slightly and bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low/medium-low and continue cooking until lentils are tender – stirring occasionally – about 17-20 minutes. Add a bit more water if mixture gets too thick.
- Add mixture over spiralized zucchini noodles.
 Shultz, D. Lentil Bolognese Zucchini Pasta. [online] Minimalist Baker. Available at: https://minimalistbaker.com/zucchini-pasta-with-lentil-bolognese/. 2017. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018.
 Osinga, N. Lentil Bolognese Zucchini Pasta [online] Osinga Nutrition. Avaliable at: https://nicoleosinga.com/2017/04/30/lentil-bolognese-zucchini-pasta/. 2017. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018.
 Dias, J. and Imai, S. Vegetables Consumption and its Benefits on Diabetes. Journal of Nutritional Therapeutics. 2017; 6(1), pp.1-10.DOI: 10.6000/1929-5634.2017.06.01.1
 Maffucci, A. Why spiralize? The Benefits of Spiralizing! [online] Inspiralized. Avaliable at: http://inspiralized.com/why-spiralize-the-benefits-of-spiralizing/. 2018. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018.
 Beretta, M., Bernaud, F., Nascimento, C., Steemburgo, T., and Rodrigues, T. Higher fibre intake is associated with lower blood pressure levels in patients with type 1 diabetes. Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome. 2015; 7(Suppl 1):A6. doi:10.1186/1758-5996-7-S1-A6
 Poe, K. Plant-Based Diets and Phytonutrients: Potential Health Benefits and Disease Prevention. Archives of Medicine. 2017; 09(06). DOI: 10.21767/1989-5216.1000249
 Bryan, L. Spiralizer Beginner’s Guide: 10 Vegetables to Spiralize. [online] Downshiftology. Avaliable at: https://downshiftology.com/spiralizer-beginners-guide/. 2017. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018.