If you have a speed peeler and a knife, you can easily make zoodles without a spiralizer. Serve these fresh zoodles with delicious, moist tomato sauce coated meatballs, and you’ll have yourself one winning dinner!
Honestly, the first time I saw zoodles being prepared I thought “…..yawn..”. And I have to say that now. I am eating my words because they actually work really well. Once you have your zoodles prepared you can serve them with anything!
And if you are a person who wants to replace pasta to lower your carb intake, then this is the recipe for you.
Aren’t they boring to eat?
I have written about this for other ingredients on the blog before, but my response to this question would always be, if you served zoodles on there own, of course, they’ll be boring. Just like plain pasta would be boring. However, as soon as you say zoodle carbonara, or in this case, zoodles with meatballs and tomato sauce….suddenly it gets a bit more exciting right?
It’s what you do with the ingredient and what you add to it that counts.
Zoodles without a spiralizer?
Now let me just say this, I never said that you should apply this method instead of using a spiralizer to make zoodles. Making them this way does take a bit more time. So if you have a spiralizer, or you go an buy one because you think that you’d use it consistently, by all means, use it. However, if you don’t have a spiralizer but do have a speed peeler, this is a great alternative.
The process is simple, you simply use your speed peeler to keep peeling away the zucchini in the same area, then you end up with thin strips of zucchini. You then stack those strips neatly on top of one another and the carefully cut the strips down lengthways to create zoodles.
The video at the bottom of the post clearly shows you how to do this so watch it if you need to.
Zucchini is a wet ingredient
Something you should always keep in mind when it comes to zucchini, or pretty much every other vegetable in the courgette family. It holds a lot of water content in its raw state, and we aren’t going to cook the zucchini in this recipe. And when I a portion of zoodles in a bowl while I was getting the meatballs ready, I noticed that the moisture started to flood the bottom of the bowl. Not the end of the work but it can make your dish go soggy.
So, what do you do? Well, there is a way I dealt with this. Firstly, I put my zoodles on a tray lined with kitchen paper. This will help soak up some of the moisture and stop your zoodles from getting too wet. Then I left them in the fridge until I was ready to serve them.
I found that this was the best way to stop the moisture from flooding the bowl and potentially making your dish go soggy. So don’t take those zoodles off the kitchen paper until you are ready to serve them straight away.
Making delicious meatballs and keeping them moist
I don’t know if you have ever experienced this before, but whenever I used to try and brown meat in a pot or pan (especially when trying to cook meatballs or minced meat), a tone a liquid just flooded the pan. This was annoying because it prevented me from getting any colour on the meat, which would just cause it to go all grey. And as chefs love to say, no colour, no flavour.
I eventually discovered that there were 2 main factors that were causing this to happen. One, not pre-heating the pan enough before adding the oil and the meat. And two, overcrowding the pan.
This is why I think it’s important to have a large pan in your household because meat needs to be cooked consistently on that direct heat in order to get that colour. And by colour, I mean the brown crust that forms on the outside of the meat. That is where you get most of the flavour.
Now, although those were the 2 main keys to brown your meatballs, or any meat for that matter effectively. Here is a couple of other get out of jail tips that can help you.
Don’t put salt inside the meatball mixture. Salt draws moisture out of ingredients so instead, roll your meatballs and the seasons them on the outside.
Another handy tip is the put breadcrumbs in the meat mixture. The bread soaks up moisture like a sponge right? So when you add the breadcrumbs to your meatball mixture, it will soak the water content right up and prevent it from spilling out onto the pan.
Look at the 2 photos below. Notice how I am adding the tomato sauce only when I have that colour in the meatballs.
So I really hope you found this post valuable and remember, there are so many other ways to serve zoodles. So don’t be afraid to experiment. Like I said, they may seem boring at first but I encourage you to give them a go. I think you’ll be surprised (in a good way of course).
If you want to stay updated for new recipes, I ask that you subscribe to the blog. You will also get 10 free recipes along with your subscription. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to stay updated too! Oh, and if you like this zoodle recipe, then perhaps you will like this Asian Meatball Sub recipe too! Other than that, have an amazing day!!
Zoodle Meatballs (no spiralizer required)
- 2 zucchinis washed
- 6 roma tomatoes roughly cut
- 2 teaspoons of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 an onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 50 g bocconcini mozzarella balls
Use a vegetable peeler to peel slivers out of the zucchini. When you get to the core, start peeling on the other side. Keep peeling around the zucchini until you are only left with the core.
Stack a few peeled bits of zucchini on top of each other, then use your knife to cut those zucchini strips into zoodles.
Put on a tray lined with kitchen paper, then put another layer of kitchen paper over the top. Put in the fridge until ready to use.
Blend everything in a blender with a good pinch of salt and pepper for about 1-2 minutes until you get a smooth tomato sauce. Taste the sauce to check the seasoning.
Use your clean hands to mix the beef, pork, breadcrumbs, eggs and tarragon together until well combined.
Roll the meat into golf-ball sized meatballs. It helps to have a bowl of cool water to moisten your hands every so often.
Season the meatballs on both sides with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Pre-heat a large frying pan over high heat, then add your meatballs and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until you get a nice colour on the meatballs. Make sure the pan is nice and hot before adding those meatballs. And if you're not using a non-stick pan, then don't move the meatballs around too much or else they can break.
Add your tomato sauce to the pan, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to about low-medium. Coat all the meatballs in the sauce a simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
Serve some of your zoodles in a bowl or on a plate, then top with some of your meatballs and tomato sauce. Finish the dish by tearing up some bocconcini and placing over the top.
- Keep the zoodles on the tray lined with kitchen paper until you are ready to serve them. This will help prevent the moisture in the zoodles from making the dish go soggy.
- Add breadcrumbs to the meat mixture, add the salt on the meatballs instead of in them, and pre-heat the pan and get it nice and hot before adding the meatballs. That way you'll end up with great tasting, golden brown meatballs.