Zoodles and Mung Beans and Other Pasta Substitutes Oh My!

spiralizerThe seemingly never ending question of whether carbs are “good” or “bad” is not something I’m going to talk about.  I’m not a nutritionist or any kind of expert, so, I’m not touching that with a 10 foot pole!  But, I do know that a lot of people, when they are cutting calories, find that a way to make that easier is to cut carbs.  When my calories allow it, I’ll eat pasta like a champ, but, honestly, I’d rather spend the calories on sauce or cheese, so, that brings us to THE SPIRALIZER.

Okay, that’s not its technical name, but, that’s what a lot of people call it. 😉 Technically, it’s the Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer.

This thing has three different blades and a lot of uses, but, what I use it for most/almost-all of the time is ZOODLES… noodles made from zucchini.  Basically you can run zucchini through this thing and it comes out in a noodle shape that you can use in place of pasta with your favorite sauces and meatballs and other dishes.  I’ve finally, very recently, branched out and used the spiralizer for sweet potatoes, which also came out great.  Here are a few of my favorite recipes using the spiralizer (these recipes from Skinnytaste.com were what introduced me to zoodles!):

There’s even a whole website devoted to using zoodles and other spiralized veggies:  http://www.inspiralized.com/

I love the Paderno slicer… I find it very easy to set up and use and relatively easy to clean.  I also have room for it with no problem.  Some of my friends who have less storage space use this Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer instead… it works a little more like a pencil sharpener and can be a bit more work intensive, but, some people swear by it.  It’s also smaller and less expensive.

I find that zoodles are great when I’m in a situation where I really don’t have a lot of calories to burn and am looking for bulk and tastiness more than anything.  A medium zucchini is about 30 calories so it’s a fairly low-impact way to fill up and make a healthy swap.  It’s also a great way to sneak an extra veggie into a meal!

Sometimes I have more calories to play with, and in those cases I’ll keep the spiralizer in the cupboard and use a different kind of pasta substitute.. one made from beans.  My favorite is this Edamame & Mung Bean Fettucine.  It’s got a great texture and is easy to prepare… it’s definitely higher in calories (182 per serving) than the zucchini, but, also comes with 25 grams of protein and 11 grams of dietary fiber.

Another option from the bean department is Black Bean Spaghetti.One of my favorite recipes for this pasta is this one pot recipe from Martha Stewart… so easy and delicious!

Note:  This post contains affiliate links… so if you use my link to buy something, I’ll make a few bucks to help me buy more cool stuff to try out and tell you about!

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