1.) You have a plethora of options both in size and price.
You could spend $5 bucks. You could spend $85 or a lot more. Either way, you can spiralize. You can buy just a hand-held one that doesn't take up much cabinet or countertop space. Mine was roughly $30 and works very well. In particular, I like how it comes with three different blades to give me a variety in texture and shape. With these attachments, I can make noodles, ribbons, chips, rings or twists. I like thinner strands for zucchini and onion but thicker bits when you're grinding potatoes. Go too thin and they get dried out in the oven. Doesn't everyone love curly fries? Circles work well in salads and soups. It's all about the shape of the food....right!
Zucchini's are a dream to spiralize. Carrots are a bit of an arm workout. Still, they are doable. Onions are fabulous spiralized. Potatoes amazing. Both sweet potatoes or Yukon gold. Delicious crisped up in the oven. How to cook them always presents a bit of a dilemma for me. Should I roast them in the oven or sizzle in a skillet with garlic? Should the potato stand alone or add an onion? Decisions. Decisions.
I caramelized a spiralized onion stove top and then added my zucchini with garlic and olive oil. Delish. Personally, I think vegetables work a whole lot better than fruits which tend to be softer. Apples are the exception. Plus, one end of the produce goes into the blade, the other into a spiked clamp. If the produce is too soft or doesn't stick in well into the clamp, you end up not wanting to use the spiked clamp. This is how I hurt my finger though!
Using a thick, rounded potato will stick in the clamp better than a thin one. Same for carrots or zucchini.
When you spiralize just two Yukon potatoes, you'll have a huge tray of potatoes. It sure looks like a lot of food. But when they cook down, the water that drains out or the evaporation that occurs lessons that portion significantly. It can be a bit frustrating because you need a huge pan to saute just a couple of zucchini's that shrink down to very little.
I think you need to do 2-3 zukes per person if you're using it as a pasta substitute. And even then, I added some chicken. It may help to cook it in shifts or just do two pans at once. You can also "beef" up your pasta substitute by mixing veggies such as onion, carrot, or sweet potato. Mushrooms seems to have that "beefing" up ability too.
And maybe this is why Kraft macaroni & cheese comes in Minion shapes. Because they are fun to eat. You know, I never have any trouble with my kids eating fruit. Who does? But veggies are a whole new ball game. My girls hung over me while I was spiralizing, they wouldn't just let me spiralize in peace. While they wouldn't dream of eating just a peeled carrot, they were pounding the round flakes emerging from the spiralizer and the mushroom-like tops.
When you stick your veggie into the brackets on each side of the product, as you spiralize, the core of the length of vegetable pops out. There's also that last bit of veggie that can't be pushed out resembling a "top" looking object. The kids love eating these silly tops! As for the extra ones, I cut them up for salads. Using leftovers such as sweet potatoes tops tend to pose more of a problem for me because I don't want to eat them raw. I could just cook them up and toss them into a warm salad.
We eat mostly fresh vegetables. And meat. And fruit. Whole foods. Real food. I'm boring and would be happy to eat steamed broccoli and chicken every night. Tom is not happy with that situation. The girls are not either. They like variety. In fact, Tom calls me everyday about 10 a.m. to ask about the dinner situation. When its bleak, you can hear it in his voice. I absolutely loved these Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Zucchini Noodles from my blogging friend Kari from GI 365. You will too!
If you are vegan, vegetarian or thrive on a paleo diet, I'd say you need a spiralizer. As for me, I find I use my spiralizer once or twice a week. It's not an everyday contraption. It's nice to make up all your veggies at once and store them in the fridge. I guess I don't want to wash it because it's a pain to wash. Still, it's worth keeping your spiralizer in your upstairs kitchen cabinets and not in the basement like my quesadilla maker.
You can always throw in shredded carrots in your soup. Or cut up baby carrots or even peel full-sized carrots. But the spiralized circle shapes I made with my spiralizer were fun and just new and exciting. I love their thin texture and they cook up super fast when I'm in a hurry! Same for salad. Instead of just chopping up a cucumber and plopping it in my salad, I like having the option of making long strands for a new spin. It gives the salad a unique look and they are fun to eat.
In fact, spiralizers are every bit as sharp as a mandoline. The last time I used my mandoline I ended up at Mash emergency care. Bleh. Cut the tip of my finger off. Unpleasant. Blood everywhere. Spiralizers are really sharp too so have some Baid Aids handy. Don't overdo it and try to spiralize when you're tired, sick or too busy. Give yourself some time so you're not feeling rushed.
Pizza toppings. Yup. Omelettes too. Really any dish where you want veggie toppings. Where I live, you can still get a large cheese pizza for 10 bucks. But the toppings? $2 or more each. When you want to add colored peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, red onion, vidalia onion, tomatoes among many other options, it starts to get pricy. It costs just as much for the toppings as it does for the pizza. I like to cram veggies on my pizza so I eat less dough and more veggie.
Get a spiralizer if you tend to eat lots of vegetables. Don't spend too much, but get one. It's awesome for gluten-free and pasta-free diets and I personally haven't noticed much difference. Spiralized veggies can never fully complete with full-on pasta, but with the right toppings, comes pretty close!
What's your take? Do you spiralize? If not, do you want too?