Thursday, July 21, 2016

The new craze sprializing! And it is healthy!

Recent diet fads are using vegetables in new ways to replace carbohydrate foods like pasta.  Spiralizing is the new craze.  Spiralzed vegetable can be used in a main dishes in place of noodles or stir-fries.  They can also be used as a tasty side dish.  They are fun and may encourage children to eat more vegetables.

Americas Test Kitchen tested vegetables and spiraliers and posted the results on their webpage.  See the link below.  Vegetables with solid cores worked best for spiralizing—hollow vegetables like acorn squash or very soft vegetables like tomatoes do not spiralize well.   Some of their favorite vegetable to use were summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, and carrots. Summer squash and zucchini have delicate, neutral flavor profiles that meld seamlessly with flavorful sauces. They have a pasta-like texture with pleasant chew, and hold their shape nicely once cooked. They are quite easy to spiralize, and they work as short noodles or longer, spaghetti-like strands. Carrots, with their sturdy texture, spiralize beautifully, and make a great base for a side dish where their distinct flavor can shine.
The butternut squash noodles had a subtle sweetness that works well with bold sauces. However, butternut squash is more difficult to spiralize than zucchini and summer squashes, since it is a harder vegetable. They cut off the seed-filled bulbs and reserve them for other uses, spiralizing only the solid necks. Cooked, butternut squash noodles are considerably more delicate than zucchini and summer squash, making it more difficult to get long strands.

Although the flavors of zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and butternut squash work best with our recipes, vegetables like beets, celery root, cucumbers, parsnips, rutabaga, and sweet potatoes can also be successfully spiralized

Vegetables can be eaten raw, sauted or steam, but they liked roasting best: It was easy to spread all of the noodles out on a baking sheet, and the noodles softened evenly while maintaining some texture and chew. Roasting also eliminated excess moisture, preventing the finished dishes from becoming watery.

When roasting tender vegetable noodles like summer squash and zucchini, they roasted them uncovered for the entire cooking time. This allows moisture to evaporate and results in tender, flexible noodles. They found that draining the noodles after cooking helped to further ensure that their was not unwanted moisture in the finished dish.

When roasting firmer vegetable noodles, like butternut squash, beets, celery root, or sweet potatoes, They recommend cooking them covered with foil for part of the cooking time so that the vegetables will steam slightly and become tender. Removing the foil partway through allows the surface moisture to evaporate. Don’t drain these noodles; because they contain less moisture to begin with, they are less pliable once cooked, and transferring them to and from a colander results in unnecessary breakage.

Roasted Carrot Noodles

2 lbs carrots (use carrots that are between 3/4 and 1 1/2 inches in diameter ) trimmed and peeled
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp honey
Salt and Pepper

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Using spiralizer, cut carrots into 1/8-inch thick noodles, then cut noodles into 12-inch lengths.  Toss carrots with 1 Tbsp oil, thyme, honey, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper on a rimmed baking sheet.  Cover carrots tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 15 minutes.  Transfer carrots to serving platter, drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4.

Spiralizing 101

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