Recently, people have been looking for gluten-free and low-calorie replacements for pasta, one popular option is zucchini noodles.
Zucchini noodles, also known as zoodles, are spiralized zucchini that is meant to mimic the shape of noodles in order to be served with a variety of sauces.
About 1 cup of zucchini noodles contains 20 calories. In this article, we cover how zucchini noodles compare to pasta and other pasta alternatives.
What Are Zucchinis?
If you have never heard of zucchini before, you may know it by its other name, courgette.
They are a type of summer squash that is long and green, similar to a cucumber. They are usually around 6 to 10 inches long but can grow up to 3 feet.
While zucchini is typically served in savory dishes, it has been added to cakes and sweet bread similar to how carrot is used in baking.
Zucchini is rarely served raw as it is quite hard in texture. It can be cooked in a variety of manners such as boiling, roasting, and steaming.
How Do You Make Zucchini Noodles?
Zucchini noodles are relatively simple to make, all you need is a spiralizer. A spiralizer allows you to turn 1 zucchini, into long curly strips, similar to how curly fries are made from a potato.
The quickest way to cook zucchini noodles is to pan-fry them in your sauce of choice for a couple of minutes until they are slightly soft. Too soft and the zucchini noodles will fall apart.
How Do Zucchini Noodles Compare To Regular Pasta?
As previously stated, 1 cup of zucchini noodles has around 20 calories, whereas 1 cup of cooked spaghetti noodles is about 11 times as much. While this is a massive difference, calories aren’t everything when it comes to a healthy diet.
Instead, you need to consider the nutritional contents of the two, which zucchini noodles are still better in.
In a cup of zucchini noodles, there are about 2.5 grams of carbohydrates, 1.5 grams of protein, and 0.5 grams of fats.
In a cup of cooked spaghetti, there are 43 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of protein, and 1.3 grams of fat.
If you are eating a keto, low-carb, or gluten-free diet, then zucchini noodles are a great replacement for regular noodles.
If you are planning on increasing your protein and carb intake, then it might be a good idea to stick to regular pasta.
It depends on your diet about what type of noodles you will choose.
When comparing texture, zucchini noodles are quite similar to regular noodles. They can be cooked to a soft texture or left relatively crunchy if you prefer denser pasta.
The main reason some people won’t prefer zucchini noodles is the taste. While zucchini is quite mild in its flavor, it is not similar to pasta. It is quite sweet and has an obvious vegetable taste to it.
This means the flavor of zucchini noodles goes well in most pasta dishes, but not all. If you are craving the taste of pasta, zucchini noodles won’t satisfy that craving.
What Other Nutrients Are Zucchini Noodles High In?
As well as being low in calories, zucchini noodles are also high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium.
It contains around 40% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C in just 1 cup of zucchini noodles. Vitamin C is important for your cells as it protects them and keeps them healthy.
Vitamin C also helps to keep your skin healthy and heal wounds.
Zucchini also contains about 12% of your recommended potassium. Potassium helps your kidneys to function properly and is also good for muscle health.
Other Noodle Alternatives
If you aren’t a fan of zucchini there are many other noodle alternatives to try. Below we cover a few of them and how they are compared to zucchini noodles
These are more time-consuming than zucchini noodles since they need to be cooked for about 30 minutes before consumption. The inside of the squash can be shredded with a fork to look like noodles.
They have about 42 calories per cup, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 0.6 grams of protein, and 1.6 grams of fat.
These are a type of Japanese noodles made from the underground stem of the konjac yam. They are known for having no fat in them, but also no protein.
A 4-ounce serving will have 10 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates.
Mung Bean Sprouts
These are long, thin, and crunchy vegetables. They are popular in stir-frys and spring rolls for their mild flavor.
There are 23 calories in 100 grams of bean sprouts. That same serving size also has 0.7 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 2.1 grams of carbohydrates.
These are also called glass noodles and are transparent noodles from China that are made from different types of starch.
1 cup contains 160 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 0.1 grams of protein, and no fat.
When making zucchini noodles at home, make sure you use a ripe and firm zucchini as it is best to spiralize with.
Compared to regular noodles, zucchini noodles are very quick to make, only taking a few minutes. It is rare for the low-calorie version of food to be easier to make, which is why zucchini noodles are so impressive.
While zucchini noodles are healthier than regular noodles, it doesn’t mean they should completely replace noodles in your diet.
A healthy diet allows you to enjoy all types of food, this includes the ones that are less ‘healthy’ than others. Nothing will taste as good as regular noodles, so it is okay to have a bowl of them every once in a while.
Replacing them with zucchini noodles just makes pasta taste that much better when you do get to have it.