Pasta makers are nice, if you've got oodles of time on your hands and a high tolerance for carbs. Alternatively, if you could stand to eat more veggies (who couldn't?), a spiralizer is a pasta maker slash vegetable slicer -- maybe the best invention in the history of ever.
Basically, it turns your garden variety veggies into curly fries, stringy spaghetti, spiral slivers -- any noodle-ish shape you can imagine.
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Personally, I own this one. A gift from a friend, I had no idea what kind of kitchen magic I could whip up with this remarkable contraption.
The spiralizer comes with several removable blades, each designed to create different shapes. The Paderno three blade model comes with a shredder blade that makes spaghetti-like spiral strands; a chipper blade that makes thick spiral strands; and a straight blade that makes ribbon-like strands. You put the blade in place, wedge the vegetable between a spiky end and a small metal oval, turn the hand crank and voila, healthy noodles!
There are other brands too -- Brieftons Vegetable Spiral Slicer and the Gefu Spirelli Spiral Slicer, to name a couple.
As far as what these tools are capable of creating, the options are pretty limitless, what with the 4,000+ varieties of vegetables in the world. You can make strands and slices and strips out of almost any veggie you can think of.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Zucchini ribbons for salads
- Curly fries
- Sweet potato noodles for curry
- Beet spaghetti
- Daikon noodles for soup
Need more ideas? There's a chick who has a blog dedicated to spiralizing, Inspiralized. She'll keep you occupied for days. Her recipe for creamy vegetable Thai red coconut curry with sweet potato noodles is a huge winner with omnivores and vegans alike.
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If you scored a Williams Sonoma gift card for Christmas, I highly recommend adding a spiralizer to your list. It's a must for any creative cook's kitchen arsenal. The three-blade Paderno model runs $39.95, and there are others out there, too.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.