Fun Way to Eat More Vegetables

This post is about one of my favorite kitchen gadgets — the spiral vegetable slicer. A spiral slicer takes just about any vegetable and quickly turns it into a mass of long “noodles” that you can use to make no-carb “pasta,” delicious salads, fun french fries or roasted roots, raw recipes, and more. It’s a smart way to get more veggies into your diet, and it’s a great device for people who are gluten-intolerant as well. And if you’re trying to get your kids or grandkids to eat more veggies, this is a  good way to make veggies fun. They can crank the machine themselves and get engaged from the beginning.

I don’t like to fill up my kitchen with gadgets unless I’m really going to get a lot of use out of them. For example, I don’t have a toaster because my cast-iron grill pan makes great toast. I don’t have  a microwave because after it caught on fire and I got used to heating leftovers on the stove, I decided I didn’t need it. And even though I eat salad and greens almost every day, I took ten years to decide to buy a salad spinner because I didn’t want it taking up space in my cabinets. (I’m glad I have it it now — no more watery greens!) But I didn’t hesitate on the spiral vegetable slicer.

When I met my husband we were both life-long Mediterranean diet lovers. But after a few years he started playing around with the Paleo diet and we were no longer food-compatible. He didn’t want to eat my favorite pasta dishes, and I didn’t feel like making them just for myself. But with the  spiral vegetable slicer, I get the satisfaction of having a “pasta” dish, and he can enjoy it without worrying about the carbs.

I got the Paderno World Cuisine model, which was under $40, and we use it so much that we just keep it out on the counter. The device is made mostly of plastic, but is actually quite sturdy. There are 3 different blades (stainless steel) so you can cut thin or thick noodles or ribbons. Suction cups keep it firmly rooted to your counter top.

I’ve used this gadget to make noodles for Pad Thai, as well as lots of Italian pasta dishes. If you spiral-slice a sweet potato, you can bake it in 10 – 15 minutes rather than waiting an hour (I’m going crazy for the white sweet potatoes they have at Mom’s Organic Market). And I don’t know why, but spiral-sliced veggies like radishes, beets, carrots, onions, peppers, and cucumber taste even better in raw salads. I use them in a sesame-noodle salad, along with soba noodles. It’s a great device for the famous Som Tum or Green Papaya Thai Salad. The only vegetable I haven’t had success with so far is eggplant — it’s just too soft. Note on carrots: the spiral slicer leaves a 1/4″ core unsliced, so the bigger the carrot, the better. Skinny carrots aren’t really worth slicing with this machine.

For pasta, one of my favorite veggies to noodle-ize is celery root. In less than a minute you have a huge mound of celery root, which you can then blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. Drain the water and you have al dente, tasty noodles for whatever you want. Zucchini and yellow squash make great noodles too, but I only blanch them for 1 minute.

Here’s one of my original recipes for this device, and link to the slicer appears at the bottom of the post:

Sandy’s Salmon with Celery Root “Pasta” and Dill Sauce

  • Boil water
  • Pre-heat oven to 400º
  • Peel and spiral-slice a celery root bulb. An average-sized bulb will make enough noodles for 2 people.
  • Sprinkle salmon with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper. Bake at 400º until done. (Approx. 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness)

For the sauce: (Note: measurements of liquids are approximate. I don’t measure when I cook, so you may find that you need a little more or less. You won’t mess it up — just get the consistency that you like.)

  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small sauce pan
  • Add 2 tbsp flour. Stir and cook until golden.
  • Slowly add a 1/4 cup of white wine (you can substitute broth instead). Stir and cook.
  • Slowly add a 1/4 cup of milk. Continue to stir and cook.
  • Add a small amount of chicken broth until you reach desired consistency.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, and fresh chopped dill weed (or dried) to taste.

When salmon is almost done, place the sliced celery root into the boiling water. Cook 2 minutes, then drain. Place cooked celery root on plate, drizzle with sauce, and place salmon on top. Drizzle with more sauce, and serve.

I hope you like it. If you have one of these gadgets, let me know your favorite recipes.

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