Making a wide variety of food in your own kitchen can be fun, but what happens if you don’t have a specific tool to cut a vegetable?
When it comes to courgette coils, also called fresh zucchini spirals, raw zucchini noodles, and zoodles, you would usually use a large electric spiralizer appliance.
But not every kitchen has room for an electric spiralizer on its countertops. Luckily, you can use a few smaller options for alternative tools to get a very similar result in your zucchini noodles. This can include a handheld spiralizer, mandoline slicer, potato peeler, vegetable peeler, or even a standard cheese grater.
How to Make Courgette Noodles Without a Spiralizer
Whether you are cooking zucchini noodles as alternatives to pasta dishes or want raw zucchini cut into sticks or noodles that you can enjoy as a quick snack, being able to cut zucchini noodles without a spiralizer is a great way to increase the amount of vegetables you get in your daily diet.
Let’s take a closer look at the various ways you can cut veggies of all types without a spiralizer. From courgette and aubergine to carrots and squash, being able to create unique vegetable garnish or pasta alternatives is a great way to improve on your favourite recipes.
The Mandoline Option
If you don’t own a spiralizer but have a mandoline slicer, you can easily use this standard kitchen tool to get similar results for coils and raw zucchini noodles or zucchini ribbons.
A julienne blade is the best option for making zucchini noodles without a spiralizer, but you can also experiment with other blade types. Some may work better with different sized zucchini or different vegetable types.
One of the benefits of using a mandoline slicer is that you can adjust the thickness of the cuts, which is great for zucchini noodles as you will normally want them thick rather than thin.
Thick zucchini noodles will hold their shape better and cook more evenly whether you sautee, fry or blanch them. The mandoline is a great option when you want to cut zucchini noodles without a spiralizer.
When using the julienne blade on your mandolin, push a medium zucchini lengthwise in order to get long strips of the vegetable. These zucchini cuts will not be spiralled and will instead be straight zucchini noodles, but if you do prefer getting the spiral shape, press one end of the zucchini into the blade and slowly twist it as it cuts.
This method will give you a perfect courgette coil or zucchini noodle that you can enjoy raw or cook to your preference on medium-high heat.
The Potato Peeler Option
Potato peelers or a vegetable peeler of some kind are usually found in most kitchens. These small manual tools are great for a wide range of vegetable and fruit uses.
You can easily use a potato peeler to get long, flat ribbons of zucchini noodles for your meals or use it to get thin strips suitable for garnish.
A potato peeler will be better for making thin flat noodles. Even pressing harder with the peeler won’t create very thick zucchini noodles.
So if you plan on cooking your zucchini noodles, make sure you cook them slowly so they don’t get too crispy or start to burn.
The Julienne Peeler Option
Similarly to a potato peeler, you can also use a julienne peeler. This manual, handheld tool looks similar to your standard potato peeler but has a different blade style.
While a julienne peeler will also work to make zucchini noodles, strings, and ribbons, they will be much thinner than a potato peeler will make; so this is not the best option for you to make zucchini pasta without a spiralizer.
The Cheese Grater Option
While using a cheese grater or box grater is not ideal and can leave you with soggy or limp zucchini noodles, it may be your only option, so it is still worth a try.
A box grater normally includes various cutting blades, and some may work better than others for large zucchini noodles and thin strips.
If you want to make courgette noodles without a spiralizer, grate your medium zucchini lengthwise to get the longer cuts and try for thicker noodles.
Thin zucchini noodles will be very wet and can end up very soggy and mushy after you start to cook zucchini noodles. You can attempt to remove some of the excess liquid before cooking by squeezing the zucchini noodles with a few folded paper towels.
Zucchini noodles cut this way would be better enjoyed raw or very gently sauteed on medium heat with your favourite olive oil and seasoning, parmesan cheese or minced garlic.
Full-time liquid cooking will leave the zucchini noodles very soggy, and full-time baking or frying will lead to very crunchy or burnt sticks of cooked zucchini noodles as they will be thinner than usual when cut without a spiralizer.
Using a Manual Spiralizer
While this option might seem unusual since this tool is a spiralizer, it is a manual option instead of a normal electric countertop appliance. Manual spiralizers can work, though they may be difficult to use with larger courgettes.
In many cases, a manual spiralizer will do great with small and tender zucchini or veggies such as aubergine, squash, or carrots. If you don’t mind exerting yourself a bit more, a manual spiralizer can be a great option for getting medium thickness zucchini noodles suitable for pasta, garnish, or snacking.
Courgette cut with a manual spiralizer can be sauteed, blanched, fried, or baked and will generally keep their shape and texture intact. However, if you plan on cooking for more extended periods of time, opting for the thickest cut option you have is the best option.
Thicker vegetable noodles will cook at a more uniform temperature and maintain enough moisture to cook firm and not turn into a pile of mush in your pan.
Cooking the Best Zoodles
Once you have your courgettes cut how you like them, it’s time to start cooking your zucchini noodles or coils. Properly cooking your zucchini noodles may take some trial and error until you get the timing right. How you make zucchini noodles will depend on your personal tastes as well as your intentions for the finished result.
For most thinner zucchini that have been cut without a spiralizer, it’s better to sauté them in a small amount of olive oil for a short amount of time.
Around 3 minutes in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil will give you a nice al dente zucchini noodle result, perfect for a traditional pasta alternative or garnish on a final dish.
Quick sautéing also works well with thin ribbons of zucchini, squash, pumpkins, or a variety of other food items.
Before sautéing or frying, sprinkle your zucchini noodles with some coarse salt and put them on a paper towel for about half an hour: this will help them release excess moisture leading to better results in the cooking process.
If sauteing your zucchini noodles is not your preference, you can also blanch your zucchini noodles. This is not only a simple and quick cooking method, but it is also a great way to cut calories as you won’t be using any oil or dealing with saturated fat.
Blanching for one minute is normally all it takes for the best result on thick and thin zucchini noodles, coils, ribbons, or strings.
Simmer in Sauce
Another way to cook zoodles or turn your zucchini noodles into a perfect pasta alternative is by adding them to your favourite sauce.
As your favourite pasta sauce is slowly simmering on low heat, add your zucchini noodles to it and let them gently cook for a few minutes until you are left with an al dente pasta alternative.
Sprinkle a small amount of parmesan cheese on top and enjoy your very own zucchini noodles and sauce.
Eat Them Raw
And finally, you can always enjoy your zucchini noodles raw. There is no need to cook it if you don’t want to. Raw zucchini noodles cut without a spiralizer can make an interesting garnish on salads, soups, pasta, pizzas, and more.
Additionally, you can experiment with various ways to make zucchini noodles and other veggies sliced or spiralled to create eye-catching and elegant garnish displays for your next big family meal.
Making Courgette Noodles
And that is it on how to make courgette noodles without a spiralizer. Zucchini noodles are a tasty and affordable, low carb option that works well in a wide variety of recipes or as a stand-in for pasta noodles – whether you have a proper spiralizer or will be using one of the alternative options such as:
- Mandoline slicer
- Box grater
- Standard vegetable peeler
- Julienne peeler
- Manual spiralizer
Deciding how to cook zoodles for pasta or a different meal is easy as there is a wide range of free recipes available online. Cooking zoodles or other vegetables as pasta noodles without a spiralizer can be healthy for anyone wanting a low carb pasta option or simply wanting a fun way to get more vegetables into their diet.
Don’t stop with just fresh zucchini, though! Other fruits, vegetables, and gourds can be great for alternative noodles. Pumpkin, squash, apples, eggplant, and many other vegetables can give unique ribbon or noodle results for your meals.
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Tom is a former chef turned full-time food blogger. He has always been passionate about food, and loves nothing more than experimenting in the kitchen and sharing his recipes with others. Tom’s blog is one of the most popular food blogs on the internet, and he has won numerous awards for his cooking. When he’s not blogging or cooking, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.