Cart Smarts: 'Zoodles' a healthy twist on traditional pasta

Have you ever heard of zoodles? It's the new term for zucchini noodles. That's right — a zucchini can be sliced into thin strips that look like spaghetti noodles.

And the trend doesn't stop with zucchini. The ever-popular veggie noodles can be made from summer squash and carrots, too. These veggie noodles are created using either a julienne peeler or a spiralizer.

I was first introduced to the idea by my sister, Caroline. Her mother-in-law discovered the Veggetti, a spiral vegetable cutter, and was convinced she needed one. Turns out, she couldn't help but spread the veggie noodle love. After Christmas, every Carrico family member officially owned a Veggetti.

I wasn't lucky enough to be included in the Carrico Christmas spiralizer giveaway, so I purchased a julienne peeler at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to see for myself what these zoodles were all about.

The draw to veggie noodles is that they are significantly lower in carbohydrates and calories than typical spaghetti noodles. Plus, it's one more way to increase your intake of vegetables. My sister's favorite way to eat them is with pesto and shredded parmesan cheese. And that's just it — when you cover the vegetables in a sauce, I am sure it's hard to notice that there aren't "real" noodles in there.


Even though I would claim they are easily disguised, I was still hesitant to try them at home with the boys. That's because the week before, when I told 5-year-old Owen that I was cooking spaghetti for dinner, he replied, "Mom, I don't want any squash in my spaghetti tonight." Oh, the life of a dietitian's son. Guess that means I served too much spaghetti squash this fall.

So I compromised. I added zucchini noodles into my chicken cacciatore recipe, but still served it over whole-grain spaghetti noodles.

If you're ready to go all in on these veggie noodles, I am including a great recipe to try. Or, if you have an Owen in your family, you can compromise by serving half noodles and half zoodles. Or, just take Caroline's advice and cover them with pesto and Parmesan cheese. That's my next plan.

1 pound thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1/2-inch thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 medium zucchini


2 medium summer squash

2 large carrots

Lemon wedges, for serving

Place chicken breasts in a large resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. For marinade, in a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon parsley, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Add marinade to chicken in bag; seal bag. Turn to coat chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Meanwhile, use a mandoline or julienne peeler to slice zucchini, summer squash and carrots lengthwise into long thin noodle-like strands. Transfer vegetables to a large microwave-safe bowl; cover with wet paper towels and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade; discard bag and marinade. Place chicken in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Roast, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, microwave vegetables, covered, on HIGH for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley into vegetables. Thinly slice chicken breasts into strips and serve over vegetables with lemon wedges.

Serves 4.


Source: Hy-Vee Seasons, Health 2016

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