Mastering the Art of Zucchini Pasta

zucchini pasta (assorted) (19)

 

Zucchini pasta is not just limited to spaghetti dishes.  Let me tell you – this chick is about to hook you up with some mad zucchini pasta makin’ skill.  Pasta substitutes are actually so easy to make.  Here I will show you how to make a variety of “pastas” using various kitchen tools.  For the sake of examples, I will use zucchini to keep the demos consistent.  You may use whatever produce you choose to suit your preferences or  recipes.

I have long been a lover of most anything with pasta.  Admittedly, I still enjoy real pastas too.  However, when cleansing, in a hurry, or just aiming to keep it as raw & clean as possible, I find that zucchini pasta works wonderfully as a noodle vessel for all sorts of savory goodness.

Just take your pick and we’ll get started, shall we?

 Angel Hair • Spaghetti • Linguine • Lo Mein • Fettucine • Lasagna • Elbow Pasta • Bowtie • No-Egg Noodles


Angel Hair with a Zester

This one is super simple and can be made with a citrus zester such as the one I picked up for a few dollars at the grocer.

Step 1

Remove skin and end from your zucchini.  For this pasta, I like to leave the top of the zucchini intact so as to give me a better grip while making my pasta.  You will need a zester with small loops across the top, not a microplaner or mini-grater, which I’ve also seen referred to as zesters.

Step 2

Stabilize your zucchini on your cutting board.  You may hold it up at an angle or lie it flat according to whichever way you find more comfortable and easy to handle.  Using a zester make long, firm passes down the length of the zucchini.

Step 3

After making a couple passes, rotate your zucchini as you continue raking out your angel hair pasta.  You want to work your way around your zucchini, not through it.

Use immediately.

 


Spaghetti & Linguine or Lo-Mein Noodles with a Spiralizer/Spiral Slicer

With a spiral vegetable slicer, making pasta is super easy and fast!  Be sure to start with the straightest zukes you can find.  Note:  You can also make “spaghetti” using the 3mm Julienne blade on a mandoline.

Step 1

Remove skins from your zucchini using a potato/vegetable peeler.

Step 2 

Place on a cutting board.  Cut the ends from the zucchini so they are flat and as perfectly parallel as you can get them.  If your zucchini has too much curve to it, you may cut it in half then make your cuts to set the ends as even and parallel as you can.

 

Step 3 

Load zucchini into the slicer.  Many, such as the one depicted, have a piece to stabilize and core the produce; align here first.  To make spaghetti, you’ll want to use the smaller blade set.  Use the larger blade set for linguine/lo mein.  Insert appropriate blade in spiral slicer according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 4

While holding to stabilize with one hand, begin to turn your rotating handle, turning the zucchini through the spiralizer.

Note:  To soften your pasta, place in a dish or colander and sprinkle fairly heavily with salt to help to draw out the water and tenderize the pasta. Rinse noodles when ready to serve and press out the extra fluids.  I, personally, find this less beneficial.  To speed up the process and avoid the excess salt, you can also place the bowl in your dehydrator and warm for about 1 hour at 110 degrees.  Again, rinse and gently press out the extra fluid when ready to serve.  Either way works but I prefer to skip this method. 


Lasagna

Pair this with some almond ricotta and my raw marinara for a delicious raw take on an old italian classic.

Caution:  Be very careful when using a mandolin to make these cuts!  Slicing zucchini on the long slide could pose a greater risk of injury.  Always be sure to thoroughly dry all produce before slicing and be sure to keep hands well clear of the blade!

Step 1

Thoroughly wash and dry your zucchini.  You may elect to peel the zucchini prior to placing on your mandoline but this is not absolutely necessary.  Also, if working with rather large zucchini, you may cut them in half to make them shorter and more managable (as I have done in the demonstration below) though you don’t have to.  Once they’re layered into your lasagna, you’ll be hard pressed to notice the difference.  I’ve found these smaller sheets work fabulously for creating individual servings of lasagna.

Step 2 

Prepare your mandoline to make 1/16 or 1/8 inch cuts and place on a sturdy, flat surface.  I like the thinner slices for instant and softer results but the thicker ones will hold up better when using a dehydrator to make the lasagna.

Step 3

Holding zucchini parallel to your mandoline, carefully use swift passes to cut out your lasagna sheets.

Note:  To soften your pasta, place in a dish or colander and sprinkle fairly heavily with salt to help to draw out the water and tenderize the pasta. Rinse noodles when ready to serve and press out the extra fluids.  I, personally, find this less beneficial.  To speed up the process and avoid the excess salt, you can also place the bowl in your dehydrator and warm for about 1 hour at 110 degrees.  Again, rinse and gently press out the extra fluid when ready to serve.  Either way works but I prefer to skip this method.


Fettuccini

Method 1 will yield a neater presentation but is not the only means of creating “fettucini” out of zucchini.  If you don’t have a mandolin, don’t fret.  You can also create fettucini ribbons using a vegetable peeler as shown below.

METHOD 1

Step 1

Make lasagna noodles as instructed above.  You may leave the zucchini at its full length to produce long noodles.

Step 2

To cut, stack lasagna noodles in piles 4-high and firmly hold along the outside with one hand.  With the opposite hand, slice zucchini into long, thin strips.

METHOD 2

Step 1 

After removing peel, stabilize your zucchini on your cutting board.  You may hold it up at an angle or lie it flat according to whichever way you find more comfortable and easy to handle.  Using your peeler, make long passes down the length of the zucchini.  The firmer the pass, the thicker the ribbons.  Be sure to slice down the length of the zucchini AWAY from your securing hand.

Step 2 

As you make your cuts, rotate your zucchini with each pass  You want to work your way around your zucchini, not through it.  This will help you avoid the seedy center and overly wide bands.  You should be left with graceful ribbons, remniscent of fettucini.

Note:  To soften your pasta, place in a dish or colander and sprinkle fairly heavily with salt to help to draw out the water and tenderize the pasta. Rinse noodles when ready to serve and press out the extra fluids.  I, personally, find this less beneficial.  To speed up the process and avoid the excess salt, you can also place the bowl in your dehydrator and warm for about 1 hour at 110 degrees.  Again, rinse and gently press out the extra fluid when ready to serve.  Either way works but I prefer to skip this method.


Elbow Pasta

This one is good for kids and adults.  Use this pasta in my recipe for Zukaroni & CheeseVeggie Max’n’Cheese or as part of a “pasta” salad.

As depicted, we will be using the larger pasta blade on the spiralizer for this one.  If you do not own one, you can still create “elbow pasta” with a peeler, knife, spoon and cutting board.  To do so, peel the zucchini and cut it in half.  Scrape out the seedy center and slice into 1/4 inch thick elbows.  The presentation is not as neat as this method but still functional and fun.

Step 1

Remove skins from your zucchini using a potato or vegetable peeler.

Step 2 

Place on a cutting board.  Cut the ends from the zucchini so they are flat and as perfectly parallel as you can get them.  If your zucchini has too much curve to it, you may cut it in half then make your cuts to set the ends as even and parallel as possible.

Step 3 

Make long shallow slices into the zucchini on opposing sides.  DO NOT cut all the way through to the center.  1/4 to 1/2 inch depending on zucchini’s thickness, should be plenty deep enough.  Cutting too deep will weaken it  to the point of twisting and snapping under the pressure of cranking/spiralizing.

Step 4 

Load your zucchini into the slicer.  Many, such as the one depicted, will have a piece to stabilize and core the vegetable.  Align your zucchini here first then bring the crank/handle to it to secure.  While holding to stabilize with one hand, begin to turn your rotating handle, turning the zucchini through the spiralizer.  Should you have pieces that don’t split where you slit the zucchini, you can break them apart with your fingers or stack in their spirals and make 1 or 2 quick cuts so they form small elbow pastas.

Note:  To soften your pasta, place in a dish or colander and sprinkle fairly heavily with salt to help to draw out the water and tenderize the pasta. Rinse noodles when ready to serve and press out the extra fluids.  I, personally, find this less beneficial.  To speed up the process and avoid the excess salt, you can also place the bowl in your dehydrator and warm for about 1 hour at 110 degrees.  Again, rinse and gently press out the extra fluid when ready to serve.  Either way works but I prefer to skip this method.


Bowtie Pasta

This is really more of a novelty I suppose.  I do not use this one often but thought it was cute for use in a sweet pepper salad.  The key to this one is watching the depth of your cuts.  If you cut too deeply, your bowties will simply fall apart.

Step 1

Remove the skin from the zucchini using a vegetable/potato peeler.

Step 2 (Optional)

If you have a blade for making crinkle cuts and would like to make your pasta more decorative, you may run the zucchini lengthwise over the mandolin to give it a ruffled edge.

You may also rake down the sides with a fork although I didn’t find this to yield as pretty a result.

Step 3 

Using a small knife (santoku or paring knife would work well), gently cut into the zucchini lengthwise about ½ inch.  You want to cut toward the center and at a slight angle.  Make another cut, inserting the knife roughly ½ inch parallel to the first cut.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Step 4 

Prepare your mandoline to make 1/8 inch cuts and place on a sturdy, flat surface.  Holding zucchini perpendicular to your mandoline, carefully use swift passes to cut out your bowties.

 

Note:  To soften your pasta, place in a dish or colander and sprinkle fairly heavily with salt to help to draw out the water and tenderize the pasta. Rinse noodles when ready to serve and press out the extra fluids.  I, personally, find this less beneficial.  To speed up the process and avoid the excess salt, you can also place the bowl in your dehydrator and warm for about 1 hour at 110 degrees.  Again, rinse and gently press out the extra fluid when ready to serve.  Either way works but I prefer to skip this method.


No-Egg Noodles

I just love how pretty these turn out every time!  Again, so simple yet it yields a beautiful presentation that’s sure to add a touch of class to any “pasta” dish.

Step 1

Remove skins from your zucchini using a potato peeler.

Step 2 

Place on a cutting board.  Cut the ends from the zucchini so they are flat and as perfectly parallel as you can get them.  If your zucchini has too much curve to it, you may cut it in half then make your cuts to set the ends as even and parallel as possible.

Step 3 

To make No-Egg Noodles, you’ll want to use the solo straight blade.  Prepare spiral slicer with appropriate blade as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 4 

Load your zucchini into the slicer.  Many, such as the one depicted, will have a piece to stabilize and core the vegetable.  Align your zucchini here first then bring the crank/handle to it to secure.  While holding to stabilize with one hand, begin to turn your rotating handle, turning the zucchini through the spiralizer.

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