Making “noodles” out of zucchinis is actually pretty easy. The only catch? You need the right tool called a Spiralizer. When I bought mine on impulse, I was worried it would become one of those gadgets that end up taking too much kitchen real estate space, collecting dust to finally end up in a garage sale somewhere… NOT! I love my Spiralizer and I use it more often than I thought I would. “Spiralized” vegetables are not just limited to make grain-free noodles; they can elevate salads to a new level! My White Turnip and Celery Leaves Salad is a family favourite: using the spiralizer to turn tender and sweet white turnips into a guest worthy salad!
Although the tool may feel awkward at first, it is super easy to operate and just as easy to clean. I recommend buying a good quality spiralizer: there is nothing more frustrating to have a tool that doesn’t perform because the built and the blades are cheap. Mine is German-made and I am very happy with it overall.
This recipe is super easy to make and should take less than an hour to complete. The instructions may seem long but only because I am trying to provide detailed step-by-step instructions on zucchini noodles making. I have tried several different ways to shorten the process, hoping to find a magical shortcut and skip the need to sweat the zucchinis. No can do: zucchinis have a high water content and unless you like watered down and soggy vegetables, going through the step of sweating zucchinis is a must. And although it may seem like a big job, it really is no «sweat» at all, pun intended!!! The zucchinis will loose a lot of volume after going through the sweating stage. So much so that it inspired me to try this on myself: I sprinkled tons of coarse salt all over my body and set myself to sweat for a while. Sadly, I didn’t reduce in volume at all. Darn! Okay, silliness aside: back to the business of sweating zucchinis, not people!!! In order to have enough noodles to feed 4 as a side dish, 4 large zucchinis may do the trick but I recommend using 6.
What you need
4-6 medium to large size zucchinis
Coarse sea salt
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz Halloumi cheese*, sliced ¼ inch thick
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
Salad spinner (optional)
2 clean dish towels, cotton is best
1 baking sheet, lined with parchment or silicone matt
1 large frying pan
How to make it
- Preheat oven to 450°F. I use «Convect Roast» function and place the rack on the second row from the top.
- Using the spiralizer, turn all your zucchinis into long noodle like strands. If your spiralizer offers different sizes, use the smallest one.
- In batches, sprinkle the zucchini noodles with coarse salt all over. Place in a colander set over a deep bowl or dish to catch the water. Set aside
- Meanwhile, slice the cherry tomatoes in 2 and spread on baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sugar, a bit of salt, pepper and about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Toss well to coat all the tomatoes with oil, spread evenly and place in oven. Roast until the tomatoes start to caramelize and the skins start to turn a nice deep brown. The tomatoes should render a fair bit of juice by then, which is a good thing. Over roasting the tomatoes will yield a beautifully intense paste that can be used for many things but not ideal for this particular recipe. Depending on the water content of the tomatoes, roasting can take from 20 to 40 minutes. I set my timer on and I start checking at the 20-minute mark and then in 5 minutes increments until I notice the tomatoes starting to yield some juice while having turned a nice caramelized colour. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Slice the Halloumi cheese in ¼ inch thick slices. Halloumi is salty and a little goes a long way. Using the frying pan over medium-high heat, fry in batches in a bit of olive oil until a deep golden crust forms. Flip and fry the other side. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- Time to tend to the zucchini noodles: rinse the noodles under cold running water to remove as much salt as possible. Shake as much of the water off as you possibly can. I use my salad spinner to spin off excess water. For best results, spin the zucchinis in 3 or 4 batches. Lay both tea towels one on top of the other and spread the zucchinis in the center, length wise. Roll the towels tightly, bring over the sink and squeeze the excess water out. It is surprising how much eater will come out.The zucchinis may flatten slightly but that is okay and this will not affect the end result. I recommend squeezing the zucchinis in 2 batches.
- At last, the quick and easy part! Now that all the pieces of the puzzle have been aligned, it is time to assemble the dish. Return the frying pan to the stove top. Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchinis and toss quickly until slightly browned. Reduce heat to medium, add the cherry tomatoes, scrapping all the luscious juices from the bottom of the baking sheet. Add in the minced garlic toss together a few minutes until the garlic has cooked down and mellowed. Add the Halloumi, let heat up a minute or two, taste for seasoning and serve! This is seriously divine.
Now that you are a pro at making zucchini noodles, your mind is probably racing with all the possibilities right? Think pine nuts, basil, pesto, grilled shrimps, creamy Alfredo… Yup, zucchini noodles can take you there: the perfect vehicle to pasta everything minus the calories.
*What is Halloumi? It is a Middle Eastern cheese that is perfect for frying. It is squeaky, salty and does not melt when heated. It is very easy to find Halloumi in Ottawa: most grocery stores carry this cheese, usually in the deli section.