The ability to easily “spiralize” vegetables into noodle shapes used to be limited to celebrity chefs with fancy imported tools. However, the dual interests of eating more veggies and reducing carbs have led to a plethora of veggie noodle-making tools for the home cook. These three recipes will help you think outside the (pasta) box with dishes from Italian, Jewish, and Thai cultures — all of which know a thing or two about noodles.
TRUFFLED BEET NOODLES WITH SAUTEED CHICKEN
The gorgeous colors of beets remain intact during the cooking process, making this Italian-inspired dish a vibrant choice for autumn.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias, whites and greens separated
3 medium beets (about 1¾ pounds), peeled and spiralized; if using pre-spiralized: 6 packed cups (about 1¼ pounds)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons black truffle oil, or to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side, flipping once. Transfer the chicken to a sheet tray and finish in the oven until cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Slice thinly and reserve.
Return the saute pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Add the scallion whites and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beet noodles and season with salt and pepper to taste, tossing to coat with oil. Cook the noodles until they wilt a little and are al dente, 4 to 8 minutes (depending on their thickness). Use tongs to rotate them in the pan for even cooking.
Add the scallion greens, tossing with the noodles to combine. Add the chicken and toss. Add half of the lemon juice, taste, and add more lemon juice or salt and pepper if desired.
Divide the beet noodles and chicken among four plates. Drizzle each portion with ½ teaspoon truffle oil or to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and lemon zest. (You can coarsely grate the Parmesan or use a vegetable peeler to shave strips from a block of cheese at room temperature.)
SPIRALIZING WITHOUT A SPIRALIZER
SWEET POTATO NOODLE KUGEL
Makes one 9-by-13-inch casserole
Sweet potatoes allow for a lighter, crispier texture on the top of the kugel, which is inarguably the best part of the dish. You can find farmer cheese, a pressed cottage cheese, in the supermarket cheese case.
Spray oil for pan
6 large eggs
1 pound farmer cheese
½ cup golden raisins
¼ packed cup dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound 6 ounces), peeled and spiralized; if using pre-spiralized noodles: 5 packed cups (about 1 pound)
2 large Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound total), peeled and spiralized; if using pre-spiralized noodles: 2 lightly packed cups (about 6 ounces)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
Heat the oven to 375 degrees with rack in upper-third position. Oil a 9-by-13-inch pan.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the farmer cheese, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the sweet potato and apple noodles and toss to thoroughly combine. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and bake 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the surface with the melted butter.
Bake an additional 25 minutes or until the kugel is golden brown on top and fully set. Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
ZUCCHINI NOODLE PAD THAI
The ingredient list is long, but after preparation the dish comes together quickly. You can add your favorite protein — chicken, shrimp, tofu, or a combo — or leave it as is, with just egg. Either way, the bold flavors and textures work so well together that you can barely tell this pad Thai is rice-noodle free.
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus 1 lime cut into 8 wedges for serving
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias, whites and greens separated
4 medium zucchini (about 1¾ pounds), trimmed and spiralized; if using pre-spiralized: 6 packed cups (about 1 pound)
1 red bell pepper, julienned
½ cup roughly chopped peanuts
½ cup chopped cilantro
Combine the canola oil with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon water until the mixture is homogeneous. In a large, nonstick pan over high heat, add 2 teaspoons of the canola-sesame oil mixture and heat to just under smoking. Add the egg mixture. Use a wooden spoon to pull the set edges to the center, tilting the pan so that the unset egg fills the gaps. Cook until the eggs are puffed, light golden brown, and firm enough to flip, about 1 minute. Cook the other side until light golden brown, about 1 minute more. Transfer the eggs to a cutting board. Allow to cool slightly and cut into ½-by-2-inch strips. Reserve.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar. Reserve.
Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the remaining 4 teaspoons of canola-sesame oil mixture, and heat to just under smoking. Add the ginger, garlic, and scallion whites and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.
Quickly add the zucchini noodles and bell pepper. Season with salt and black pepper and stir-fry 2 minutes, tossing frequently for even cooking and to prevent aromatics from scorching. Add the fish sauce mixture and toss with noodles to coat and heat. Simmer about 30 seconds.
Add half the peanuts, half the cilantro, and half the scallion greens to the noodles and fold in the chopped egg. Transfer the pad Thai to a serving platter or individual plates. Garnish with the remaining peanuts, cilantro, and scallion greens and serve immediately with the lime wedges on the side.Denise Drower Swidey is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.