If you have the right tools, both vegetable ribbons and spaghetti or pasta are actually very easy to make. You need a normal vegetable peeler for the ribbons, see the first photo and a toothed peeler for the spaghetti veggies, see the photo below. These ribbons and spaghetti are much healthier and they add another dimension to your dishes. I like the fresh look it can create on a plate. I am not a big cucumber lover, but when cut into ribbons I love it with salt, black pepper, lemon juice and olive oil and a scoop of my own Taste Café Olive Tapenade, they taste just so much better!
I adore pasta, but sometimes semolina based pasta can be just too heavy for me and I have a few friends who are gluten intolerant, zucchini spaghetti makes a great and extremely tasty alternative. Another friend of mine has two boys who refuse to eat vegetables, I suggested she tries the zucchini spaghetti on them and they loved it! At least they get some veggies in now. Carrot spaghetti is also another favourite of mine and a mix of the zucchini and carrot spaghetti really looks appealing on a plate.
A few tips and ideas:
- Always wash your vegetables before you start.
- Watch your fingers and hands, the veggies can be slippery and you can give yourself a nasty cut if you are not careful. Those peelers look innocent, but they can inflict much pain and ugly wounds.
- Keep your cucumber ribbons in a bowl of ice water and dry them on paper towels just before you use them.
- When you cut cucumber ribbons avoid cutting into the seeded middle. When the seeds starts to come through turn your cucumber and cut from another side. Keep that seeded middle for another time, I dice that and use it in my salads again.
- Fresh thick stem celery also makes a few nice ribbons for salads, however I find it difficult and you don’t get a lot of spaghetti strands from a stick.
- Blanch your carrot and other hard vegetable ribbons for 2 minutes in boiling water and refresh immediately in ice water, this will prevent your ribbons from breaking when you arrange them on the plate.
- If you make zucchini spaghetti, blanch it only for about 30 seconds, more than that and they disintegrate to a mush on your plate. Always serve immediately. Here the pasta can’t wait for the sauce! So make that sauce first, it can wait for the pasta!
- Blanch carrot spaghetti for about 1 minute and use long carrots to make attractive spaghetti.
- Leeks make a lovely spaghetti and I use it many times with asian dishes. I blanch it and serve it with a piece of seared tuna, drizzled with soy sauce and a few toasted sesame seeds.
Enjoy making ribbons and pasta and have fun while discovering a whole new way of presenting and eating your food!