This incredible zoodle meatball recipe is perfect for the keto diet since they’re low carb, they’re great for weight loss, they’re super tasty because we’re going to cook the zucchini noodles in a beautiful tomato sauce. And I am also going to show you a number of different ways to serve these amazing zoodles.
And if you think that the zucchini alternative is boring, think again because they are actually super flavoursome, and they soak up the sauce like a sponge! Don’t get me wrong, I will always have a soft spot for pasta, but if you’re on a clean eating diet, it’s good to replace the pasta with zoodles every now and then.
How to make zoodles without a spiralizer
Let me just clarify one thing, if you have a spiralizer, use it. I’m just showing you that it’s not only possible to make zoodles without a spiralizer, but it’s easy too.
First, you’ll need a speed peeler.
From there, you peel thin strips out of the zucchini until you’ve reached the core. Then, you flip the zucchini over and peel the other side. Keep peeling the zucchini until you’re only left with the core.
You then place the zucchini strips on top of one another, and then carefully cut them into zoodles.
Now, the moment you cut these zoodles, the water content will start to release, and remember, courgettes are filled with a lot of water. So I just like to lay them over some kitchen paper on a tray.
How to cook zoodles
I much prefer to cook zoodles instead of serving them raw, and I’ll explain why a bit later on in this post. First, let’s go over how to effectively cook these zoodles.
You could pan fry them in some oil and garlic for a short while. However, in this case, we are simply going to cook these zoodles in the tomato sauce as it simmers.
Now keep in mind that zucchini doesn’t take long to cook at all. So we only need to simmer the zoodles for about a minute or 2.
Other ways to serve zoodles
Zoodles with pesto – So, I sauteed the zoodles in some garlic and oil for about a minute until tender, but still has some crunch to it. Basically the zoodle version of al dente.
I then added some pesto sauce, you can buy a store-bought version (like I did here, just to save time whilst doing this post) or you can make your own.
Pad Thai zoodles – Again, I just added a store-bought pad thai but of course, you can make your own. Regardless, you can see that you can make some pretty good Pad Thai with zoodles.
Again, I just sauteed the zoodles in some oil and garlic until tender, then added just enough pad thai sauce to coat the zoodles (I know this is very basic but it’s just the base. Usually, I would add a lot more ingredients).
Zoodle salad – And here is where you can serve the zoodles raw, which is fine but I personally prefer not to, just because the zoodles will weep, and that water will keep coming out of the zucchini no matter what.
Like I mentioned before, I like to leave the zoodles on a sheet of kitchen paper, but I also sprinkle a bit of salt over the zoodles to help draw out a bit more moisture.
And the key is to leave those zoodles on the kitchen paper until you’re ready to serve.
benefits of zoodles
- They are significantly lower in carbs as opposed to regular pasta. 100g of cooked pasta has 25g of carbs, whereas 100g of zoodles will have about 3.1 grams of carbs. So this is perfect for people who are on a keto diet. And let me just be clear, I am not one to demonize carbs as they’re a great source of energy, but it’s also good to be in control of how many you take in.
- Zoodles can also be fantastic for weight loss. Pasta has 131 calories per 100g and zoodles has 17 calories per 100g. So zoodles can help you out loads if you’re on a caloric defecate.
- Zoodles are gluten-free.
- They cook very quickly (be sure not to overcook them)
- They’re a cheap, healthy option.
If you’re a zucchini fan, you may also like this Zucchini Fritter Recipe.
They’re the perfect appetiser!
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Meatballs with Zoodles Recipe (made without a spiralizer)
Keto or not, gluten free or not, these zoodle meatballs will absolutely rock your world!
- 2 large zucchinis washed
- Olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced
- 2 tins of crushed tomatoes (800g)
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves shredded
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Parmesan optional
Use a speed 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.
- Sprinkle some salt over the zoodles.
- Transfer the zoodles on a tray lined with baking paper, then leave in the fridge until you're ready to use them again.
Meatballs & Tomato Sauce:
- 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.
Preheat a large frying pan over high heat, then add your meatballs and fry for about 10 minutes, turning every so often to get some nice colour all over the meatballs. Be gentle with the meatballs, especially if you're not using a non-stick pan.
Once the meatballs are just about cooked through, turn the heat down a bit and transfer onto a plate.
- Add a touch more oil if need be, then add your garlic and fry for about half a minute before adding your crushed tomatoes.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down low and simmer the sauce for about 2-3 minutes.
- Finish the sauce by adding your shredded basil, and seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Add your meatballs and your zoodles, let the zoodles cook for 1-2 minutes, and then serve.
- Feel free to grate some parmesan cheese on top if you have any.
- This can be a fantastic meal prep dish as well.
- the reason I season the meat after the meatballs are rolled out, is because I don't want the salt to draw out any moisture as I cook them.
- If you have a spiralizer, use it. I am just showing you another technique in case you don't have one.
- Add some salt to the zoodles and transfer them onto a tray lined with kitchen paper. This will help soak away some of the moisture.
- There are so many different ways to make zoodles. As you can see in the post, I made pesto zoodles, zoodle salad and Pad Thai zoodles.