Friday, February 19, 2016

How to Avoid Soggy Zucchini Noodles

I've finally figured out how to enjoy zucchini noodles!

Since starting my journey of cooking, food and figuring out what's "right" for me, I've come across people raving, absolutely RAVING about how amazing and delicious zucchini noodles/zoodles/whatever are.

So we bought a slicer and tried our hand at carbonara one night.

We bought something similar but you can get this one at Williams Sonoma.
The result?

It was terrible. It was soggy, limp and generally unpleasant to eat. It made the carbonara's raw egg mixture look even more sloshy and unappetizing with the wet zucchini mixed in.

I figured we did something wrong; maybe we needed to spend more time to remove the moisture before using it.

So I scoured the internets and tried salting it, letting it drain, squeezing the water out, patting it dry and THEN adding it to the sauce.

It was still pretty unpleasant.

We'd pretty much given up on zoodles.

Recently though, I thought I'd give it one more try since I've been eating less meat and craving more vegetables. This time, I tried two methods:

1. Similar to before, I salted the zoodles, let strain all day, squeezed the water out, strained, squeezed repeatedly until I could get as much moisture out as possible. It's quite tedious and you have to plan for it starting in the morning if you plan to have it for dinner.

2. I sliced the zoodles right before making the dish; no salt, no straining, nothing.

This time I had pesto and bolognese sauces. I heated up a pan with olive oil and quickly sauteed the zoodles before adding either sauce for about a minute. If you cook it for too long, it turns into soft zucchini again.

I also try to avoid adding salt until right before eating. Salt draws the water out immediately and gets the dish soggy faster. To avoid this, I avoid adding salt into the sauces if I can help it and add it right before serving.

The Husband prefers Method #1 "by 10%'s better, but not so much better that it's worth all the trouble".

I actually prefer the second method as it gives the zoodles some firmness rather than emphasizing them as limp zucchini noodles.

So basically:

1. Make your sauces (with as little salt as possible)
2. Sautee (or not if you're ok with cold) the zoodles quickly and then add the sauce
3. Eat immediately