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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Having Fun With My New Spiralizer

 photo IMG_0094_zpsbzgmnug9.jpgI decided a few months ago that I wanted to do this Paleo reset, but also said that I would be more likely to be able to actually get through it if I had a spiralizer, since it would change things up and mean that I didn't just have to eat all my veggies plain, but rather, I could recreate some of my favorite pasta and rice dishes, using spiralized veggies in place of pasta or rice.
I'll be honest- I feel a little guilty even writing this post, since I posted a while ago about how to make zucchini noodles without a spiralizer, and then I went and bought one.
But I'll be honest- the reason that I bought one is because as much as saving money is awesome, so is saving your sanity. And I realized that if something takes so long that it makes you not want to do it other than on rare occasions, it doesn't really end up being worth it. I decided that using my julienne peeler was too time consuming when it took me literally half an hour to make noodles from only one (albeit giant) beet. I said there's no way I can do that on a regular basis, there's a limit to how much time I can spend in the kitchen...
I decided to buy a spiralizer, but wanted to make the best financial decision. I decided to price compare with the various options available, and found some cheaper ones on ebay, that work like a pencil sharpener, but I decided not to go with those because they didn't seem like they'd be any easier/faster than my julienne peeler, and because you could only make noodles out of veggies that fit into the "sharpener". They also only had one size blade.
So I wanted an actual spiralizer, with a few different sized blades, a handle that turned, and a stand. I looked through ebay from lowest price, and after scrolling through 6 pages of pencil sharpener spiralizers I found one on ebay for 20 bucks, from China. Of course, anything from China takes forever to arrive, and I actually waited to start my 30 day Paleo reset until after it arrived.

So the question is- is this something only people on the Paleo diet would find useful?
Absolutely not.
If you're gluten free- making pasta from cheap seasonal veggies can very easily be cheaper than store bought gluten free pasta.
This is also beneficial for raw vegans, and even for people who are just trying to increase their veggie intake- even mixing veggie spaghetti half half with regular spaghetti in recipes can be an easy way to "sneak" veggies in.

Ever since it arrived, I've been having lots and lots of fun with this new tool. I use it at least a few times a week, sometimes even a few times a day. I find on days that I take it down to use, I end up making a ton of things in it at one go, doing some bulk food prep, so that on other days I can have it ready to make.


How does it work?

Well, there are three different sized blades that are interchangeable, to make different sized noodles, and then there is the grip in the back that secures the veggie in place, and the handle to turn it. Part of the blade is a metal circle, which you use to pierce your veggie, which holds it in place in the front, while you turn it.
I have to say that while I am loving this, I have been a little disappointed, since I haven't been able to spiralize carrots, since most of the carrots I've been getting haven't been big enough to also pierce and also turn around to spiralize.
But all the other veggies I've tried- you turn the handle, while putting a little pressure on the veggie so it turns against the blade, and out from the other side of the blade comes the cutest long spiral strands of veggie pasta.

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Veggies I've successfully spiralized have been zucchini:

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Sweet potatoes...

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Butternut squash...

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Potatoes (I'm not eating potatoes on the diet, but my husband and kids are), beets, and cucumbers.

I heard you can also spiralize apples...

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But ehh. Wasn't worth the fuss.

Before I continue, I have to say in complete honesty, that it might have been worth it to spend a little more on a better quality one. You see this little handle here, used to push the veggies in, towards the blade?

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It snapped off.

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My husband would say that it's because I'm too rough on it. Maybe partially so, but partially because it really wasn't made properly to begin with, in my opinion.


Oh- and notice the mess on the counter in quite a few of the pics?
This makes a mess! A royal mess! Which is why I prefer to spiralize a bunch of different veggies at one go, and then clean the counters and spiralizer. Speaking of which- you can't use a regular sponge to clean the spiralizer- I find a toothbrush necessary for that.


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You may see on the counter a bunch of orange things, large on the bottom, and thin and tall on the top? That is what is left of the vegetables after spiralizing- you can't spiralize an entire vegetable. So therefore what is left- as a frugal/non wasteful person, you have to use it up! I've been chopping up or blending up what is left into sauces and soups, etc...


My favorite veggies to spiralize are zucchini and butternut squash.
Zucchini spiralizes very easily- it is soft enough that it cuts beautifully, makes amazing ribbons very quickly- and they can either be eaten immediately as is, or you can salt it and let it sit to draw out the liquids, then squeeze it out and use it raw, or you can saute it up for a few minutes to soften it. Don't cook it too long or it'll get soggy.

Butternut squash also works great as spaghetti, but it is a little harder to spiralize- since you can only spiralize the neck, since you can't spiralize something hollow. I don't bother peeling the squash first, just cut off the neck and then spiralize as is. I have a little harder time actually spiralizing this part- since it is a harder vegetable, so it doesn't go as quickly, but still works well.

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I stick the squash in the oven with a bit of oil and salt, and bake it for 5-10 minutes, until it is soft, but not falling apart.

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Then I use it in place of pasta in any recipe, like where I did it with tomato sauce in this picture below.

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Today, for supper, I made a nest of zucchini pasta, mixed it with an egg yolk, and fried it, filled with sardines, and topped with tahini and homemade hot sauce.

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The other day I made a delicious celery leaf pesto on my zucchini pasta.

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A different day I made a pad thai with my spiralized veggies.

I have spiralized zucchini with meatballs and sauce planned for supper tomorrow night, and spiralized cucumber sesame noodles for another day...

All in all, I'm very happy with my spiralizer!

Do you have a spiralizer? What kind do you have? Are you happy with yours? What is your favorite thing to make with your spiralizer?
Are you considering getting one? Which kind of spiralizer are you considering getting?

7 comments:

  1. Some of my blogging friends and I were just talking about this one! I wondered about the plastic being too weak but it's the only one that fits in my budget anytime soon. I'm really wanting to make zucchini noodles and curly fries! ;)

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  2. Alright, this is pretty awesome. I need another kitchen tool like I need a hole in the head. I have a julienne peeler, but I have to say - I julienned two large zucchinis for dinner one night and it took 20 minutes. I look at the spiralizers and think about it...haven't done it. Trying to stay away from pasta though.

    So maybe I'll try one, but only if I figure out what kitchen gadget has to go first, to make room for it.

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  3. I got one several years ago and used it all the time. Now I hardly cook due to my health, but I can't bear to let the spiralizer go. I know I'll get back to the point that I can cook, and I'll want it. Have fun with yours. It' a great way to get kids to eat veg.

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  4. I got the pencil sharpener one for zuchinni and it works great! It doesn't take much storage space, either. About $15 at Target. It uses most of the zuchinni and I happily eat the bit it leaves uncut. I have boiled and sautéed and both are good, but boiling needs to really drain.

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  5. I asked for one last Christmas (and got it)... and I have not used it yet!!! Lame, I know!! But this post is a great reminder. I vow to use it, for the first time, in the next 2 weeks.

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  6. I got one of the pencil sharpener ones for under $3, including shipping, on Ebay (from China, I'm almost positive). I have only done squash and Zucchini so far, but it was fun and yummy. I just sauteed it with EVOO, garlic, salt & pepper.

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