Delicious, gluten-free, low-carb, and nutrient-packed, Zucchini Noodles – also known as Zoodles – are a healthy snack or light meal. Learn How to Cook Zucchini Noodles, including tips and tricks to prevent soggy noodles and this easy to follow Garlic Parmesan Zoodle Recipe.
I have been spiralizing zucchini since 2011.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with my zucchini noodling history (you’re welcome). However, I will say that thanks to zucchini and zoodles, I have consumed fewer processed carbohydrates in my lifetime and way more vegetables.
The best part about zoodles? They actually taste really good– when they’re not drowning in their own water (more on that in a sec). And, you can eat loads of them! Plus, they taste great with just about everything from chicken to steak bites and covered in all your favorite sauces like Homemade Marinara to Garlic Butter Sauce.
Most importantly, it’s a fun and easy way to help everyone get more veggies in their diet.
What are Zucchini Noodles?
Zucchini Noodles, also known as “Zoodles”, are a deliciously perfect and healthy gluten-free pasta alternative made from zucchini!
Zucchini, also known as courgette, are low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates and thanks to their mild, somewhat watery taste, pair well with just about everything.
Made using all kinds of different tools and techniques, it seems that everyone these days has their own opinion about this vegetable pasta noodle.
Whether you’re their biggest fan or you’re just getting a chance to try zoodles for yourself, there’s no denying the benefit of adding more zoodles to your diet!
How to make Zucchini Noodles
There are several methods for making zucchini noodles. Here are a few of the most popular.
1 | Spiralizer
I have owned this Paderno World Cusine 3-Blade Spiralizer for 8 years and it’s still going strong. This amazing kitchen tool makes noodles, strands, and curls, and works on vegetables including zucchini, beets, sweet potato, cucumber, etc. This would be my top pick if you plan to eat a lot of zoodles as it’s fast, easy, and gets you zucchini noodles in about 10 seconds.
2 | Julienne Peeler
I will often make zucchini noodles using a Julienne Peeler as well. This UberChef Peeler comes with both a julienne blade and peeler blade and is my favorite when I want to make zucchini noodles that aren’t curly. It is also awesome for carrots.
3 | Handheld Spiralizer
I have not personally tried using a handheld spiralizer as the previous two work so well. The pros of this new kitchen gadget include a small kitchen footprint and ability to take anywhere. However, total time to spiralize zucchini noodles is much longer.
How to avoid watery zucchini noodles
Zucchini is made up of 95% water. As such, it’s pretty much impossible to cook zoodles without some kind of residual water. This is especially true of zucchini noodles since they have been cut in such a way that exposes so much surface area.
Since we can’t eliminate the water from happening, let’s try to minimize it.
- Spiralize your zucchini using your favorite method.
- Transfer the zucchini noodles to a baking sheet lined with 2-3 paper towels. Spread the zoodles in an even layer as you don’t want them all clumped together.
- Sprinkle with approximately 1 teaspoon of salt and allow your zucchini noodles to hang out for approximately 20-30 minutes. You’ll notice that the zucchini will start to drop some of its water (salt naturally draws out water thanks to a little thing called osmosis).
- After 30 minutes has passed, gather the zucchini noodles and very gently squeeze the zucchini to draw extra water out. Don’t squeeze too hard, though! We don’t want to damage the noodles.
- Cook using your favorite method just until al dente.
Other helpful tips include,
- Do not overcook the zucchini.
- Do not add salt during cooking. Wait to add any additional salt until just before serving.
- Avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Remove your cooked zucchini noodles from the pan immediately after cooking.
How to cook Zoodles
Just like there are several ways to make zucchini noodles, there are also several ways to cook them. My favorite method will always be a quick sauté in a hot pan, but try each method a chose for yourself!
- Sauté – Since I am usually already cooking something on the stovetop when I make zucchini noodles, I find this to be the easiest method. All you need is 1-2 tablespoons of oil or butter and 2-3 minutes (at most). You can easily add other sauces or serve plain.
- Boil – If you’re looking to skip the extra oils, a quick boil may do the trick. Keep in mind that this is more of a blanch than an actual boil. I wouldn’t recommend leaving your zoodles in the water for more than 1 minute.
- Microwave – quick and speedy, the microwave comes in handy when you want zucchini noodles as fast as possible. Pile them in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30-second increments.
- Bake – I admit this is one method I have not tried personally as it seems like SO much unnecessary work. However, if you feel like giving it a shot, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with a paper towel. Even spread the noodles over the top of the paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes, remove from the oven and gently squeeze the noodles to remove any extra water.
Are Zucchini Noodles Healthy?
Zucchini (and therefore zucchini noodles) are made in large part from water. It is for this reason that they have become so immensely popular- but also so tricky to cook.
In 1 medium zucchini:
- 31 calories
- no fat and no cholesterol
- 7 grams carbohydrates
- 2 grams fiber
- 3 grams sugar
- 2 grams protein
- Vitamins: vitamin C (65%), vitamin K (11%), riboflavin (16%), vitamin B-6 (21%), Folate (14%)
- Minerals: manganese (17%), potassium (15%), magnesium (8%)
Aside from the nutrition facts of zucchini, they are also: gluten-free, grain-free, low carb, unprocessed, affordable, and yes, healthy and nutritious.
Ingredients in Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles
This is just one example of how you can turn plain zucchini noodles into a flavorful side dish or alternative to starchy pasta noodles. Feel free to make it your own by adding more of your favorite ingredients or less of the things you dislike.
I prepared these garlic parmesan zucchini noodles using the sauté method. Start to finish it will take approximately 10 minutes to spiralize, prep, and cook.
- Olive oil + Butter – I like to mix olive oil and butter as the olive oil helps prevent the butter from burning in the hot skillet. Feel free to add one or the other, or your preferred oil of choice.
- Garlic – Garlic is an easy way to add loads of flavor. I added three large garlic cloves, but feel free to add more or less depending on your own personal preference.
- Fresh parsley – A little fresh herbs go a long way. Add a couple of tablespoons while cooking and just before serving.
- Zucchini – Yep. you’ll need some of these. Keep in mind that zucchini is not as filling as regular pasta noodles, so plan your serving sizes accordingly.
- Parmesan cheese – Entirely optional, but a little cheese goes a long way. Or, a lot of cheese goes a long way. Up to you!
- Salt + Pepper – Simple seasoning here. You will add salt to the noodles twice- one before cooking to help them drop their water prior to cooking and again immediately before serving.
- Lemon juice – Added just before serving, a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds an added layer of freshness.
- Crushed red pepper – Crushed red pepper is optional and definitely not recommended if you’re sensitive to spicy foods.
Tips & Tricks
- If you’re not growing your own zucchini, look for zucchini at your local farmers market or grocery store that are approximately 8-inches long and heavy for their size. Bigger zucchini does not mean better zucchini noodles. The skin should be dark green, smooth, and free of blemishes. If the zucchini feels spongy at all, it probably means it’s no good.
- When making zucchini noodles, it’s best to buy zucchini that have a smaller diameter (aka they’re thinner). You will not get as many noodles from each zucchini, but you’ll get more noodles with the skin. These “outer” noodles contain much less water and, as such, hold their shape better.
- Do not peel your zucchini or cook before spiralizing.
- You can also enjoy zucchini noodles raw! For example, this zucchini avocado salad with garlic herb dressing.
- If you plan to add a sauce, go with one that’s less watery. Pesto is a favorite with zucchini noodles.
Love Zucchini Noodles? Check out,
- 30-Minute Garlic Butter Chicken Recipe with Zucchini Noodles
- Butternut Squash, Zucchini, and Spinach Lasagna
- Strawberry Bruschetta Chicken Recipe
- Zoodle Bowls with Thai Peanut Chicken
- Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles
- Ginger Garlic Miso Ramen Noodles
If you try making this Zucchini Noodles, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Garlic Parmesan Zoodle Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley - chopped
- 4 large zucchini - spiralized
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 lemon - juiced
- Spiralize zucchini using your favorite method.
- Prepare zucchini noodles. Line a baking sheet with several paper towels. Spread your zucchini noodles across the paper towels in an even layer and sprinkle with salt, approximately 1 teaspoon. Toss to coat. Allow zucchini noodles to drain for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes have passed, gather noodles in a clean tea towel and gently (not too hard as this will actually cause the zucchini to turn mushy) squeeze any remaining water out from the noodles. Some remaining water is ok.
- Sauté the aromatics. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot add the tablespoon of olive oil and butter. Allow butter to melt. Reduce heat to medium and add the minced garlic and fresh parsley. Cook, stirring continuously, for 30-60 seconds.
- Cook the zoodles. Add the zucchini noodles to the skillet and toss to coat with the olive oil and garlic mixture. Continue to cook, mixing frequently, for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente (see notes).
- Add remaining ingredients and serve immediately. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese and immediately remove from heat. Sprinkle with black pepper, salt (if needed), and fresh lemon juice, if desired. Best if enjoyed immediately.
- What part of the zucchini the zoodle has come from will (partly) determine cooking time. For example, any zoodles made from the seedier center will cook faster and tend to be mushier. In general, if I see that those zoodles start to look well-done, I will immediately remove the pan from the heat.