Is your world spiraling out of control? Maybe it should be. Although that might sound hectic, in the culinary world, it's actually currently the opposite. Spiralizing your food just took some turns toward even the more convenient for quick "pasta" meals of everything from soups, salads, breakfasts and entrees.
For the last few years, the rage has been spiralizing "noodles" from vegetables for health. The process involves peeling vegetables, inserting blades and cranking a kitchen appliance with your arm to do it. The popularity of the trend, though, has now led to much more convenient twists.
Walking down the fresh produce aisle at Whole Foods Market recently revealed prepackaged fresh spiralized beets, sweet potatoes, zucchini and summer squash. The cover of Rachael Ray's Every Day magazine showed off a tart made from frozen spiralized vegetables that are now available at many supermarkets.
Big brand Green Giant recently introduced frozen Veggie Spirals prepared from carrots, butternut squash and zucchini. They are 100 percent vegetables that contain no sauce or seasonings. Green Giant ads refer to them as "an exciting new take on noodles" that are "a family-friendly alternative to pasta."
Those who bought home spiralizers in the last few years know that if you pepper such curly creations into your diet in place of pasta, you get the fiber and nutrients of vegetables without too many carbohydrates. The texture is similar to pasta as well as the appearance and the way they absorb sauces and function in recipes. They also often add vibrant color to meal presentation, which reflects them being packed with antioxidants.
If you're ready to take that helpful and delicious curve at the next fork in the road, use either your own spiralized vegetables or the new convenient ones available in many supermarket fresh produce and frozen food aisles to create the easy examples that follow. All ingredients are to taste.
QUICK CARROT PASTA SALAD
Gently combine carrot spirals with raisins, chopped walnuts, honey, minced cooked chicken, turkey or ham, ground cinnamon and low-fat vanilla or plain Greek yogurt (if plain, add dash of pure vanilla extract).
OODLES OF NOODLES OMELET
Gently combine zucchini spirals with pressed garlic, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Just before folding cooked omelet, fill with zucchini mixture, finishing heating omelet until mixture is heated.
CAN'T BEAT THIS PASTA
In a nonstick skillet, heat the following, while carefully and gently stirring occasionally: beet spirals, pine nuts, dried basil, oregano and thyme. Place in serving bowl and very gently toss with small amount of olive oil and cooked shrimp or cooked mock crab.
SOAK UP THIS NOODLE SOUP
To store-bought or homemade tomato-basil soup when first heating, add pearl onions and chopped green beans. Cook and let simmer. When almost done heating, gently stir in butternut squash (or other squash) spirals. Just before serving, top with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Romano cheese.
AFTER-WORK GOURMET COOKBOOK SHELF
If you need some inspiration for what to do with spiralized vegetables — whether they emerge from your own kitchen appliance or fresh produce or frozen food aisles of your supermarket — Ali Maffucci's "Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals" has a lot to offer. The Inspiralized.com blogger obviously has put much thought — with gourmet results — into chapters on everything from breakfasts to desserts. There is lots of Americana, as well as stops around the world, include egg drop soup (with spiralized zucchini), spring rolls (with spiralized cucumber), nori rolls (with spiralized beet), enchilada bake (with spiralized carrot) and hummus wraps (with spiralized golden beet).