Food For Thought: “Zoodles” & “Coodles”

… and how to use all that Zucchini from the garden for a grain/gluten-free pasta alternative!! Do you have a spiralizer or a mandolin? They are fun and inexpensive kitchen gadgets for cutting vegetables in unique shapes for use in entrees, side dishes, salads, or soups.

Sandy McCall

Sandy McCall

There are now lots of fresh veggies to experiment with and I find that people are often surprised by the look, and even the taste of spiralized veggies.

Try this quick and yummy vegetarian slaw by itself, with your favorite fish or chicken, or see how to use the slaw as a topping for my Jicama Tapas Tacos in the recipe below.

Using a small spiralizer isn’t so easy for veggies like beets in the slaw recipe above, or for the sweet potatoes in the casserole below. I ended up using the julienne blade from the mandolin for cutting the beets. As a matter of fact, if you are using any vegetable that is not already the shape of a zucchini or a medium size carrot, the spiralizer is more difficult to use. There are expensive spiralizers that do a better job for larger vegetables. Even though the job of making spiralized vegetables won’t be for everyone, it is a great solution for those who want good grain and gluten-free alternatives.

You may be able to make veggie noodles without the spiralizer but still need a gadget of some sort. Here are some possibilities. You can try a julienne peeler or turn a box grater on its side for longer noodles. You might also hand julienne your veggies, although I find it rather time consuming and difficult to keep the size consistent.

I used a mandolin slicer for the Jicama tortillas in the recipe above. Or you might try making eggplant chips. Write to me and I’ll send you the recipe for Eggplant Chips with a simple Aioli dip. It’s time to be creative in the kitchen!

I hear some say, and I have also experienced, feeling fooled by zucchini noodles. A psychological thing for sure when I momentarily think I’m eating a healthier version of actual pasta. This kind of reminds me of my days of adding cauliflower to my kids’ mashed potatoes for better nutrition. They never knew!

I borrowed some of the fun spiralized veggie names from

• Zoodles – Zucchini noodles
• Poodles – Parsnip noodles
• Swoodles – Sweet Potato Noodles
• Toodles – Turnip noodles
• Coodles – Carrot Noodles
• Sqoodles – Squash noodles
• Boodles – Broccoli Stem noodles (peel stem first)

Check out the recipe for Lime-Cilantro Chicken, Veggie Pasta & Bok Choy Salad in the March issue.

So I had fun making Tuna Zoodle Casserole with Crispy Coodles. The name itself is kind of amusing. You can make it vegan or vegetarian if you prefer.

Other ideas from, where they give you more info on spiralizing without a spiralizer!!!

• Make sweet potato curly fries with sweet potato noodles
• Make a broccoli salad with broccoli stem slices, raisins, homemade mayo, a dash of honey and some bacon
• Make parsnip lo mein with parsnip noodles
• Make zucchini noodles and use in place of regular pasta for spaghetti
• Use carrot noodles on top of salad to brighten it up
• Roast root vegetable noodles (parsnip, turnip and sweet potato) with curry seasoning for a hearty side
• Add sliced veggies to soups as “noodles”
• This also works great for fruits like apples or firm kiwi (The regular “slice” blade works better than the noodles one for kiwi.)

Are we having fun yet? I will be working on soups and desserts soon, so write to me and I’ll share my ideas!

food1Spicy Slaw

2 thin zucchini
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 beets peeled and cut to fit spiralizer or mandolin with julienne blade


1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 t ground chipotle pepper
Black pepper to taste

Chop the ends off each veggie and run through the spiralizer or julienne attachment for mandolin. Combine all veggies in a large bowl and toss until evenly mixed. Mix the dressing ingredients together, pour over and marinate veggies for an hour or more.
Spicy Slaw with Fish or Chicken

Make spicy slaw in recipe above. Chop the fresh fish or chicken into bite-sized pieces. Make sure the fish or chicken is dry. Sprinkle with smoky paprika, salt and pepper. Heat a small amount of coconut oil and brown the fish or chicken chunks. (For a nice twist and a hot and sweet option, drizzle the fish or chicken very lightly with maple syrup or honey.)

Add Jicama Tortillas and you’ll have a great Tapas Taco!

Peel the Jicama and cut the sides if necessary so that the Jicama fits the width of the mandolin. Then carefully slice Jicama on mandolin into thin tortilla like slices. Pile spicy slaw and fish or chicken on top of Jicama slices (tortilla) and enjoy your tapas-sized tacos!

food2Tuna Zoodle Casserole with Crispy Coodles

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 mushrooms, sliced
12 snap peas, chopped
2 small zucchini, spiralized
1/8-1/4 c vegetable broth
1/4 C coconut milk
1/8 c fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 T butter or coconut oil
3 T arrowroot
1 can tuna, drained (opt)
1 med carrot, spiralized
1/4 c grated parmesan (opt)
Coconut oil for sautéing & browning


Steam zucchini in broth & drain well. Save broth. Sauté onions, mushrooms, and snap peas in coconut oil, add parsley and garlic. Add butter and when melted, add arrowroot to coconut milk and then stir into vegetables and butter. Stir until thick and add reserved vegetable broth only if necessary to thin.

Place vegetable mixture in 8”x8” casserole dish. Gently stir in drained tuna leaving it in chunks and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Heat a small amount of coconut oil until very hot then add spiralized carrots and brown. Drain if necessary, and add salt.

Add carrots to top of casserole. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and hot.
Or try adding spiralized veggies to soups as “noodles” or make an easy veggie side dish.

food3Easy Oven-Steamed Veggie Casserole

2 med sweet potatoes (long thin potatoes)
2 med zucchini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion (red onion for milder flavor)
*1/8 chopped fresh parsley
**1 T dried sage
1/4 c vegetable broth
1 small onion for caramelized garnish
1 T coconut oil or butter for caramelizing
1 T apple cider vinegar for caramelizing
Salt and Pepper to taste
*Fresh parsley for garnish
*Cilantro would make a wonderful alternate to parsley
**Sage is one of my favorites, or try your favorite herb instead.

Spiralize zucchini and sweet potatoes and thinly slice the onions by hand or with a mandolin. Mince the garlic and chop the parsley.

In casserole dish, add veggie broth in the bottom, layer sliced onions, herbs, garlic, sweet potatoes and zucchini, salt and pepper. Cover and bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked as you like them. (Or if you prefer, cook on the stovetop at low heat in covered skillet.)

While casserole is baking, caramelize the onion. Heat butter or coconut oil in skillet and add sliced onion. Stir and turn heat very low. Stir occasionally until onions are translucent, soft and slightly browned. Add salt. Turn heat up slightly and add good apple cider vinegar. Cook until vinegar has mostly disappeared. Turn heat off and set aside.

When veggies in casserole are tender, remove from oven and garnish with caramelized onions and sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not being the “mad scientist” in the kitchen or loving-up her cat and dogs, she enjoys being the Food Editor for WNC Woman Magazine and volunteering in the community. — [email protected] — 828.273.9755 —

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