How To Maximize Your Spiralizer To Help You Eat More Veggies

Another trendy kitchen gadget?  ::eye roll::

If you're like me, you probably have the opposite problem!

And you're looking to get rid of a few things, simplify a la Marie Kondo, right?

A spiralizer is not just a fancy kitchen gadget that you’ll use once and then give away. If you’re honestly looking for ways to eat more vegetables, especially in gluten-free recipes, you’ll use this ALL the time.

That's true for me and for many CSA members of our farm!


But first a little background about me

I'm a simple girl when it comes to the kitchen. Well, mostly. Like, I still do my dishes by hand.

I make bread by hand.  I don't use a microwave, or instant pot, or toaster oven, even!

Just homemade goodness every meal on the table. (I AM a sucker for expensive ingredients, though! hehe)

But that doesn't mean that I don't consider and even buy new kitchen gadgets from time to time.

The one question I use to help me make the decision is:

"Will this help me eat more veggies?"

And PS: No, I don't make money or get a commission on this post or anything I write. I'm a farmer, who blogs to help people eat more veggies, that's it!


What on earth are spiralized veggies?

Sprializers became cool a few years ago and I originally found out about them from CSA members.

The long skinny noodle or ribbon-like product has become so popular that you can even find them pre-done at some grocery stores! Just add water to reconstitute, says my dad who buys them in Austin, TX at the natural food store!

If you have a spiralizer already or are considering buying one or a curious about how to use them, this blog post is for you!


How do spiralizers help you eat more veggies?

Before I had one, I was skeptical. But after trying it, I can tell you that the spiralizer really does help me eat more veggies! Why?

  • FLAVOR: Spiralizing changes the vegetable into something new! That's how it gets me and others to eat more veggies! It's interesting, different in texture and appearance and taste.

Have you ever heard that how you slice or cut veggies changes the way they taste? I've got a 75+ year old neighbor who swears by cutting carrots on the diagonal. He won't eat them any other way!

  • SUBSTITUTE FOR PASTA/CARBS: Spiralized veggies of many kinds can literally substitute healthy veggies for pasta, increasing your veggie intake right there!
  • SPEEDY PREP: They're a fast and easy way to process a lot of veggie material without much effort. You'll be surprised how much it makes!
  • MAKE AHEAD WORTHY: You can spiralize a huge bowl and it can stay good in your fridge for a couple of days. This is worth gold to me as a busy farmer mama.


What is a spiralizer?

A spiralizer is a gadget with a very sharp set of blades that cuts the vegetable of choice into either long “noodles” or flat “ribbons” depending on what blade you use. It's kinda like a mandoline, but betterrrrr! Read on...

There are all kinds of spiralizers of all prices.

  1. Handheld spiralizers:
    Shaped kinda like a pencil sharpener, where you push through the veggie with your hands. My opinion is that, while they're the cheapest option and take up the least amount of space in your kitchen, they are the hardest to use. If you want to do more than just a little bit of spiralizing, I suggest not getting one of these.
  2. Hand crank spiralizers:
    These are shaped like an apple peeler/corer or a meat grinder, or something like that. They sit on your counter and you turn the crank to push the veggie through the blades. This is the kind that I have and think it is a good option considering price and functionality.
  3. Powered spiralizers:
    There are stand alone powered spiralizers and attachments to the KitchenAid stand up mixers. These are obviously for the more serious spiralizer afficionados and carry a higher price tag. I use my hand crank spiralizer often and don't feel the need to upgrade, personally.


How do you use a spiralizer? 

From now on I'm going to speak from my experience with a hand crank style spiralizer. There may be some details that differ between the kinds, but most of the info here should be transferable to the other kinds of spiralizers.

Here's a picture of one in action. It's actually not intimidating to use at all!



Here are the steps:

  1. Prepare your veggie, if need be, like you would to be ready to chop, slice, dice, whatever in your regular kitchen life. So peel it if you need to peel it or not, whatever. But keep it whole, more or less.
  2. Pick your desired blade (mine lets you pick from thin noodles, thick noodles, and ribbons).
  3. Push veggie onto spiralizer in position.
  4. Turn the crank, applying a little bit of pressure toward the blades.
  5. Help the end product into a bowl while turning the crank until you finish the veggie.
  6. Optional step, chop using a knife or cut using kitchen scissors your spiralized product into smaller lengths if desired. They tend to come out really really long which isn't the best for every recipe.


Other FAQ and tips from my experience about using a spiralizer

  • Are they safe to use?
    If you're like me, you might be a little nervous about using a mandoline. I certainly was. So the answer is YES! They are much easier to use and safer in terms of the risk of getting your hand cut than a mandoline. In fact after I got my spiralizer, I just got rid of my mandoline (that was the Marie Kondo effect).
  • How much effort does it take?
    Actually surprisingly little energy! It's not like you have to push really hard as it kinda feeds itself through while you turn. You do have to apply pressure, but it's not unreasonable.
  • How long does it take to spiralize?
    It's actually really fast! To get a big 4 qt bowl of zucchini noodles takes 5 minutes. Maybe a little longer with harder veggies like rutabaga, but not much.
  • How do you clean them?
    Mine comes apart easily and can be cleaned by hand or in a dishwasher pretty easily. Tip: If I'm not going to wash the whole thing right away, I like to at least rinse the blade off to prevent veggie bits from sticking and drying onto it making it much harder to clean later.


What veggies can you spiralize?

Oh here comes the fun part!!! Sooooo many! Here's a list that I can come up with and there are probably more that I've never done before, so put a comment below if I'm missing anything in this list or anything else about spiralizers in general!

But first these:

  1. General tip #1
    The wider the veggie the better. That's because it's hard to get purchase on a skinny item like a carrot. So fat winter carrots are the best!
  2. General tip #2
    The medium-harder the veggie the better. That's because there needs to be a little pressure on the veggie to get it to go through the blade. Something soft like eggplant or tomato would be difficult to keep from just mashing. But I'm willing to be proved wrong, haha!  And something really hard like a carrot or beet is a little harder to put through and takes a little more effort than a zucchini (the perfect texture!), but is totally doable and well worth it!
  • Zucchini/summer squash
  • cucumbers
  • winter squash
  • radishes (large winter ones like watermelon and daikon work awesome)
  • carrots
  • beets
  • rutabaga
  • turnips
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • parsnips (though I haven't tried them)

Other ideas for using a spiralizer to quickly chop, though doesn't really make noodles:

  • cabbage
  • sweet pepper
  • apples
  • onion


My current family favorite recipes for spiralized veggies

Simple Zucchini Noodles with Cherry Tomatoes

I make this as often as I can and it reheats easily for leftovers that people actually want!  :)

  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized on the smallest noodle setting
  • olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional

Add olive oil to large skillet or dutch oven. Add spiralized zucchini and saute, stirring until beginning to soften. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss until cherry tomatoes have softened and released some juices. Serve hot with fresh parmesan on each portion.


Spiralized Watermelon Radish and Apple Salad

  • 2 cups watermelon radish, spiralized and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large apple, cut into matchsticks (or try spiralizing it, too)
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts or seeds, optional

Combine all above ingredients into large bowl. Toss with following dressing, whisked together:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBLS lime juice
  • 1 TBLS vinegar (rice or cider)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Spiralized Roasted Root Vegetables

You can use practically any winter veggie on the list above for this recipe. Remember that if you decide to use “softer” veggies like regular potatoes or winter squash, they will need a shorter time to cook, so add them after a few minutes.

  • large carrot(s), spiralized
  • large turnip(s), spiralized
  • large rutabaga(s), spiralized
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • vinegar of choice or lemon juice
  • finely chopped fresh herbs or use dried herbs
  • sea salt and pepper

In a large bowl mix all ingredients together thoroughly using clean hands. Spread on a baking sheet.

Roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until edges are crisping and browning, tossing about every 5-10 minutes.


Sesame Cucumber Noodle Salad

This is suprisingly delicious and a really easy way to eat up extra cukes!

  • cucumbers, peeled or not peeled, according to preference
  • salt to taste
  • soy sauce
  • vinegar
  • sesame oil (I used toasted for extra flavor)
  • sesame seeds (white preferred, though black is okay, too)
  • Spiralize your cucumbers into thin noodles. Sprinkle with salt and lay out on a paper towel to drain for 15 minutes. Pat dry.

Mix together a small amount of sauce, using the remaining ingredients.  Pour over cucumbers and mix well. Eat immediately or refrigerate for a few hours.


Have you used a spiralizer?  What is your favorite veggie to spiralize?  Please comment below!  I love to hear your response!

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Comments (9)

It really does matter,taste-wise,how you cut some veggies.Onions are a perfect example.

Hi MM, I've always heard about spiralizers, but never used one, so after reading your blog, I'm considering it (so many cucumbers right now!) What brand did you get? Thanks! Pammy

I got the Oxo Table Top Spiralizer and I like it!

Hi Mary Margaret - Ah!! I've been CONSIDERING buying a spiralizer for some time .... but "paralysis by analysis" always sets in when I try to figure out which ONE! Would you mind telling me what you have..... because if it works for you, I know it'll work for me. :) Thank you for the blog!! I always love to read your articles (or whatever they are called!)

I got the Oxo Table Top Spiralizer and I love it!

Hi Mary, I would also like to know the hand crank model you have and use. I bought a hand held inexpensive one a couple of years ago. It worked ok, but is tough on your wrist. I love using veggies in place of pasta. Thank you for all the wonderful tips you send.

I got the Oxo Table Top Spiralizer and I like it!

I love my spiralizer and use it with zucchini and summer squash all the time. I try different seasoning combos, but sauteeing onions, garlic, and mushrooms before adding the zoodles is my favorite. I sometimes add an Italian chicken sausage, cut in chunks. Season with pepper and Mural of Flavor, or Italian seasoning. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. YUMMY!

I've ordered one!