Turn Off the Stove

3 Ways to Make Zucchini Pasta

July  9, 2014

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Turn your zucchini into pasta -- with or without fancy equipment. Gena Hamshaw schools us on three ways to do it.

Zucchini Pasta

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You may have heard of zucchini pasta on blogs, or in recipes, and you may have wondered what the heck these folks were talking about: Do they mean a pasta dish with zucchini as an ingredient? Or wheat pasta that’s pasta made with zucchini (kind of like spinach pasta)? Or is it zucchini that’s somehow been sliced to resemble pasta itself? 

You could call any of these things "zucchini pasta," but when I talk about it, I almost always mean raw zucchini that has been sliced to look -- and act -- like noodles. The point of the dish isn’t really to mimic a bowl of wheat pasta -- let’s not try to improve upon perfection -- but rather to create a fresh, creative, and fun raw vegetable dish that isn’t just another salad. And it’s a great way to enjoy some of your favorite pasta sauces in a new way.  

More: Toss your zucchini noodles with sweet summer vegetables.

How to Spiralize Zucchini

There are a few ways to prepare zucchini pasta, or noodles, at home. The first is the easiest, but also the most expensive: You can purchase a nifty tool called a spiralizer. These range from about $15 to $35, and if you're really into creating noodle shapes with raw vegetables, they’re well worth your money. Various blades allow you to cut long, thin, spaghetti-like noodles, or windy thin strips, like the ones pictured here. As an added bonus, you can also use them for carrots, radishes, cucumbers, or beets, which makes for some really pretty salad fixings.

How to Spiralize Zucchini  How to Spiralize Zucchini

If you don't have a special appliance, though, you can still make zucchini pasta. Here are the easiest ways:

  • Use a box grater with medium or large holes. Grate along the sides of your zucchini, working in long motions. You'll end up with zucchini that looks like it’s ready to be turned into slaw, but once you cover it with some pasta sauce, it’ll seem perfectly noodle-ish to you. 

 Zucchini Pasta

  • Use a regular vegetable peeler, lightly running it along your zucchini. You’ll end up with thin, flexible, easy strips. If you want to get really fancy, you can trim your zucchini, cut it in half, and then run your peeler over each half lengthwise while applying a bit of pressure. This will give you long, flat, thick noodles -- sort of like tagliatelle. 

Zucchini Pasta  Zucchini Pasta

  • If you want an option that lies somewhere between buying a spiralizer and using a conventional vegetable peeler, you can always buy a julienne peeler. It's a cheap, handy tool (perfectly grated carrots, anyone?) that makes stellar zucchini noodles in a snap. 

I like to serve zucchini noodles in any of the ways I’d serve pasta: with cashew alfredo; pesto; freshly chopped tomatoes, basil, and olive oil; or a homemade vegan peanut sauce when I feel like something Asian-inspired. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my favorite zucchini noodle recipe: raw zucchini marinara. Stay tuned!

Photos by Mark Weinberg and James Ransom

Choosing Raw
Gena's new book Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat is a thorough, relatable guide to incorporating raw and vegan foods into any diet. It's full of no-fuss recipes for every meal, which range from fully raw to mostly cooked, with plenty of snacks and desserts to keep everyone happy. 



Order now

The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).

Order now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • cocoapod
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    Miachel Pruett
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  • inpatskitchen
  • savorthis
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


cocoapod August 3, 2015
Use a mandoline with the pomme frites slicer blade in place and run the whole length of the zucchini for something like spaghetti. Saute in a hot pan with EVOO and add sauce of choice.
Miachel P. July 9, 2014
This sounds delicious, Gena! Can't wait to read your book. :)
eat-drink-garden July 9, 2014
I use a zucchini noodle maker. It never lets me down. Made this "pasta salad" using it.

inpatskitchen July 9, 2014
I have a gizmo called a "Veggetti" which I purchased for less than $15.00 that makes zucchini noodles. It's shaped like an hourglass and is perfect for all kinds of vegetables. We just love it!
savorthis July 9, 2014
We eat zucchini noodles all the time- usually sliced on a mandolin. I love them in place of noodles in ramen type dishes, in an alfredo dish like you mentioned (either creamy cheese or cashew cream) or simply dressed with nut oil, lemon zest and pepper as a bed for fish or grilled meats.