What’s an easy way to inject some excitement into a plate of vegetables? Is there a fun, fresh way to eat your 5 a day? How do you create quicker and healthier versions of carb heavy dishes? Simple. All you need is the latest kitchen gadget: a vegetable spiralizer.
Originally a Japanese invention, a spiralizer is a razor sharp cutting device that produces beautifully thin ribbons of vegetables. Obviously, you could use any old julienne peeler to achieve a similar result, but spiralizers are much more appealing and straightforward to use, and they’re all the rage.
How does it work?
Getting to grips with a spiralizer is really not rocket science. Essentially, the little gadget holds a peeled raw vegetable in place, then turns it to cut in spirals. There are currently three types of spiralizers on the market – handheld, horizontal and vertical hold – and they all follow the same basic process.
A handheld spiralizer is a bit like a large pencil sharpener; it’s hard work and will only take small sized vegetables up to 5cm diameter, but is perfectly adequate for processing small amounts. This video shows you how.
Horizontal spiralizers can take bigger vegetables as is shown here but sometimes the mechanism can make it difficult to hold them in place securely as you turn the handle. With a vertical hold spiralizer, the vegetable sits on top of the blade, exerting downward pressure as you cut, as demonstrated in this short video.
Which vegetables are best for spiralizing?
Given the fact that your piece of fruit or veg will need to be held in place and withstand the pressure of the spiralizing action, firm textured produce and root vegetables are best – but that’s probably the only real limitation of what the spiralizer can be used for. Celeriac, sweet potatoes, cucumber, butternut squash, courgettes, carrots, apples and pears are all great to experiment with.
You can use the device to make fresh and visually appealing salads, adding curly carrots to homemade coleslaw, slicing radish for sushi or replacing pasta and noodles with low carb alternatives. Let your kitchen creativity run free and see what you can come up with. Here, Dakota Murphey who consulted UK Cook Shop for a few simple ideas and recipes to get you started:
Quick Courgetti Bolognese
2 medium sized courgettes
Salt and pepper to season
Bolognese sauce (or pesto sauce)
Use the thin noodle attachment to create long swirls of ‘courgetti’. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat, then stir in courgette ribbons and fry for 1 minute. Cover with boiling water and cook for 5 minutes until the courgettes are soft. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a Bolognese sauce. Alternatively, omit the Bolognese sauce and stir in a spoonful of pesto sauce instead.
Apple, Goats Cheese and Rocket Salad
1 bag of rocket leaves
1 apple (Granny Smith) per person
Crumbled goats cheese
Mix dried cranberries and rocket with a pinch of salt in a salad bowl. Use the thick blade to spiralize the apples and add them to the bowl. Top your salad with pine nuts and goats cheese and service with the dressing.
Terriyaki Carrots (serves 2)
1 large carrot
1 heaped teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Toasted sesame seeds
Terriyaki sauce: 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon rice wine or mirin
Sesame oil for frying
Spiralize the carrot using a thin blade and trim the strips if necessary, then combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Fry in a hot wok for a couple of minutes and serve immediately.
Sweet Potato Curly Fries
1 large sweet potato
Paprika or rosemary (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with foil. Peel the sweet potato and use the thicker blade setting to create sweet potato curls. Drizzle in olive oil and toss until everything is well coated. Spread evenly across the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Serve straight away, sprinkled with salt and herbs/spices.
Raw Beetroot and Sweet Potato Salad
2 large sweet potatoes
4 spring onions
toasted pumpkin seeds
Garlic vinaigrette dressing
Peel the sweet potatoes and beetroot and spiralizer into long curly strips, cutting them to manageable lengths if necessary. Mix together in a large bowl and top with chopped spring onion and pumpkin seeds, then serve with a garlic vinaigrette.