Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Night Pasta - How to Make Non-Watery Zoodles

Today was a busy day. Hubby worked outside in the yard and finally got up all the leaves while I worked inside continuing on our "project de-clutter"...LOL. I've been having some problems with my computer's touchpad not working all day long and then suddenly, out of the blue, this evening it began working again...so weird. We had such a nice Thanksgiving and have eaten leftovers for the last couple of nights. I had planned to make another "leftover turkey dish" for dinner tonight but just couldn't bring myself to eating turkey AGAIN tonight. So, I decided to make something completely non-turkey...I made pasta (zoodles) instead. Only one of my sons came for dinner this evening since we've all been eating together now for days in a row. I'm sure he appreciated a break from turkey, too!

While most all of you have had zoodles before, you know the one drawback about them is that they tend to be watery when serving them, especially once you put the sauce on top. In the early days of low carb eating, mine were watery too, and I decided that was going to have to change! I wanted pasta, not pasta soup. There are 2 main issues...one of them is the sauce. It should be nice and thick and not loose and watery. If you use one of the acceptable jarred sauces (as in no sugar, or other additives), you can easily conquer that simply by simmering it uncovered for about 20 to 30 minutes until the excess liquid cooks off and the sauce reduces and thickens. But, if your zoodles aren't prepped right, you will still end up with watery pasta when you serve it.

I'm going to share how I keep my zoodles from being watery. I usually prefer to eat my pasta in a pasta bowl, but this evening I intentionally ate it on a plate so you could see there was NO wateriness whatsoever. I used Del Grosso's Fireworks sauce tonight and added it to browned ground round, diced bell pepper and onion, quartered fresh mushrooms and baby spinach that I browned and cooked before adding the sauce. I simmered it uncovered about 30 minutes until thickened. I also added about 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan about 5 to 10 minutes before it was done simmering, but it's not necessary. It just adds flavor and thickens the sauce a bit more.

About an hour before starting the sauce, I used my Paderno Spiralizer to make a bunch of zoodles with zucchini and yellow summer squash; it only takes a couple minutes to make a big pile of them. To pull out the excess liquid from the zoodles, I like to spread them out in a single layer on top of a layer of paper towels (placed on top of a dish towel). I lightly salt them (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for a large batch of zoodles) and then place another layer of paper towels on top. I gently press them down with my hands and then walk away. Within 5 to 10 minutes you will notice the moisture being drawn out of the zoodles by the salt and wicking into the paper towels. After about 20 minutes, I like to roll them up in the paper towels to help press more moisture out. If the paper towels get really wet, I'll change the top layer of paper towels before rolling up. Try and let them wick excess moisture out for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 hour if you have the time. You will find it makes a huge difference in your finished cooked zoodles. I know some folks like to boil their zoodles and that makes me cringe because you are adding water to them instead of removing it. They shouldn't be cooked like regular wheat noodles that are supposed to absorb liquid. To cook, all that needs to be done is heat up a nonstick skillet with a tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat and then stir-fry the zoodles, tossing frequently until al dente. This only takes a few minutes...about 3 to 5 minutes or to your desired tenderness. Don't overfill the skillet. If necessary, cook a larger portion in a couple of batches. This method yields perfectly cooked non-watery zoodles. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!




It took less than 2 minutes to make this big pile of zoodles with the Paderno Spiralizer
Spread on paper towels and salt lightly
Top with another layer of paper towels
Look at the moisture that has been drawn out after about 10-15 minutes
Before rolling them up, I changed the top layer of paper towels to draw out more liquid
After sauteing for a few minutes in a skillet, I have perfect non-watery al dente zoodles
  

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

I will try this. Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? It is already shredded when you "scrape" it out. Yummy.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous,

Yes, I have tried Spaghetti Squash and for some reason did not care for it. Maybe I need to try it again to see if I feel differently. :-)

CyberSis said...

Hi GGC,

We really like spaghetti squash with butter as a veggie side dish, but not so much for "pasta." Zoodles really can't be beat for a credible pasta stand-in. Once I discovered them I knew that I'd be able to leave the "old" kind of pasta behind! If I just *barely* warm them in a skillet with a little butter the zoodles don't seem to get watery for me. I've even put them on the plate raw and ladled hot spaghetti sauce on top. I find that the heat of the sauce is enough to cook them al dente right on the plate without turning them to mush. (BTW, your zoodle machine is *really* calling my name!)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis,

I will have to try eating spaghetti squash as a side dish like you. I figured I was probably the only one that didn't care for it as a spaghetti replacement.

I cook my zoodles very briefly, mainly to heat and make slightly pliable. LOL on the zoodle machine! ;-)

Rowena said...

I made these for our lunch today with marinara and meatballs. My husband couldn't stop raving about how good it all was. Spaghetti squash isn't bad as a substitute if it's a little under cooked, but the zoodles were marvelous.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Rowena,

So glad you and your husband enjoyed them. I need to give spaghetti squash another try, too. I might have overcooked it when I made it in the past. :-)

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a way to make the zoodles less watery and came across your post. So excited to try this tonight. I am making a "Pasta" salad. The last time I made it, it was soooo tasty. Now it will probably be even better if the zoodles are a little dryer. Will saute them. Thanks!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks. I hope you enjoy preparing them this way and that your pasta salad turns out awesome! :-)

LunkiJude said...

Hi. Thanks for this. Just got a spiralizer and so looking forward to trying zoodles for my first time! This will be really helpful as I had no idea where to start! Can you make them in advance and refrigerate or freeze them to reheat? Also, are they any good cold?

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi lunkijude,
You can make them a day or two ahead and refrigerate them (keep rolled up in paper towels and maybe cover with Saran Wrap, etc. )

Aphid said...

Have you ever tried microwaving a vented, covered plate of zoodles? It doesn't cut out all of the moisture, but in the summer, it heats up the kitchen less, produces fewer pans to clean, and it is convenient enough for anyone to try.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Aphid,

No, I haven't tried cooking them that way. I only cook them a couple of minutes or so on the stove top so it isn't too bad but some folks may like to try it, particularly if they have a smaller kitchen which heats up more quickly. Great idea. Thanks! :-)

Joy Miller said...

I find it works best if you do not cook them at all. I make them a little ahead and add about a tablespoon of pesto. The oil keeps them from getting wet. Pour hot sauce over raw zoodles. The best

Suzy said...

I've been eating noodles for about six months now instead of pasta and the only drawback was the water on the plate.Today,I followed your instructions,including simmering my sauce until it thickened more and my dinner was awesome!...absolutely no water on the plate.I'm so glad I found your post.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Suzy,

Yay! I'm so happy you enjoyed a "non-watery" plate of "pasta". It makes it so much more enjoyable and you don't feel like you are trying to eat soup on a plate! ;-)

pam of 15 said...

Hi, Gourmet Girl, My husband misses spaghetti more than I can say on ketogenic diet. He found your blog and forwarded it to me with a huge plea in his eye. I'll let you know how the zoodles turn out, but I am excited to try them. Thanks so much in advance.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Pam,

Hope you enjoy them! :-)

pam of 15 said...

Yes! The zoodles were wonderful! We are having spaghetti again tonight because we can't get enough of these great "noodles."

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Pam...

So happy you enjoyed them! :-)

Paula said...

Thank you so much for this post. I had been frustrated with my watery zoodles. Your method has solved my problem. Actually, I have been using several of your recipes since I started eating low carb last year. Your chocolate chip cookies are my favorite. Also keep your cheesy biscuits in my freezer at all times.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

You are welcome Paula! Glad you are enjoying the recipes. :-)

Jordi said...

Hi, was trying your way of cooking noodles and for some reason mine were still kinda crunchy. Do you know why they may have been that way? Did I possibly use too much salt?

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Jordi,

You probably needed to cook them an extra minute or so. Before removing them from the skillet, test one to see if it's the doneness you prefer. :-)

JennCarlson said...

Thanks so much for the great tips! I've made zoodles before, but they always turned out either water/mushy or totally raw. I followed your directions this time and they were perfect! My kids begged me to make them tomorrow!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi JennCarlson,

You are very welcome. So happy your kids actually asked for them! How great is THAT? ;-)

Jeanetta Andrews said...

Can you freeze them? Thanks!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Jeanetta,

You could try but I don't think they would freeze well because of their high water content. I think they'd tend to fall apart when thawed. You could always do a small batch test freeze. 😀

Marlena Von Hoffer said...

Hi there!

Thank you so much for this! I recently was diagnosed with celiac disease and I've been trying a healthier replacement for corn based pasta. I've had zoodles before but they were terribly watery (I'm one of those people who can't stand water in the bowl from any type of pasta or sauce). This so saved the day! Also great for people on a budget (3 large zucchini from Aldi's is about $1.50 while a bag of celiac friendly pasta can range from $3-7!). Delicious!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Marlena,

I'm so happy you enjoyed the zoodles. I, too, don't like watery noodles of any kind. Wow, great price on zucchini, too! So happy you enjoyed them...thanks for letting me know! :-)

Amber said...

I love Zoodles :) I make them all the time, but yes, watery :( so I'll definitely try this, I'm just wondering, do these stay dry even as left overs the next day? I always make enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Amber,

I generally make a bunch of zoodles with the spiralizer and cook what I will eat since it only takes a couple minutes to sauté. I keep the rest wrapped in paper towels in the fridge for a few days. They shouldn't get quite as watery for leftovers though since this method extracts so much liquid from them. Hope you enjoy them!

Christine said...

Hi there! Which blade on your spiralizer did you use?

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Christine,

I used the one with small round holes. I don't believe I've used the other blades in it yet. :-)

Jessica Eaton said...

Hi there! Must ask where you are from that you are using DelGrosso's sauce? You have great taste! :-D

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Jessica,

I live in the Atlanta area...and thank you! :-)

midnight hysteria said...

last night was the night: i used the spiralizer for the first time, same as yours; i've had it about two weeks hiding in its box, and it's awesome ... i made spegit with my own sauce and it came out .... amazingly awesome .... one thing, though, the zoodles were great, however my sauce, from scratch, could have cooked a couple more hours -- we were hungry and couldn't wait ... my hubbs said, *we don't need to eat pasta anymore!!!* and i heartily agree ...

thanks so much for your tips on letting it rest on paper towels, then sauteing the zoodles ... i see a lot more of this in our future -- alfredo, marinara, whatever we use now with pasta ... i bet you can make a chicken casserole instead of using egg noodles {we use the non-egg noodles} ...

anyway ... thank you again ....

darlene

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Darlene,

I'm so happy they turned out nice for you! You probably could use them in a chicken casserole as well. I haven't tried but I bet you're right. So happy your husband enjoyed them too. You are so welcome. Enjoy! :-)

Anonymous said...

I made these on thin noodle blade on my spiralizer paper towel on towel noodles then paper towel over and rolled it up 20 min. Then changed paper towels one more time rolled it up and presses on it oh don't forget to sprinkle the salt on it it brings out the moisture tossed it in sauce to heat up we couldn't get enough they weren't a bit watery yum and thank you for this idea

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous...So happy you enjoyed them! So much better when they aren't watery. :-)

Sara J said...

Made these tonight using your drying method and also cooked down our jarred sauce to reduce the water content. Was delish! Regarding someone's comment about spaghetti squash: I never really cared for it until I learned a way to cook it where it actually has some flavor. Cut in half lengthwise, spray with cooking spray or olive oil spray, then roast open-faced in a 460 degree oven until it is softer/cooked through. Bigger ones take upwards of an hour while smaller ones may only take 35-40 minutes....and get pretty carmelized on top. This actually leaves it with a little flavor (as opposed to steaming it face down in a microwave dish) and for me, makes it edible. BUT....that being said. I much prefer the texture of these zucchini noodles and they take way less time. :)

Robin Renner said...

I used the blade with the larger holes and used your method of decreasing the moisture. It was my first time using the spiralizer and making zoodles. My husband and I loved them. Thank you so much for your helpful instructions. I would not have liked them if they were mushy or watery! I actually do this method with cucumbers so my creamed cucumbers stay nice and creamy and not watery.