One of the best parts about the holidays is spending hours around the table with friends and family. Mom makes her beloved rack of lamb, your uncle brings his famous chocolate cake…you know the drill. But though the holidays are known for rich and hearty favorites, feasting doesn’t have to leave you stuffed for days.
Swapping zoodles (AKA spiralized veggies) for pasta gives classic comfort dishes an extra nutrient boost. In a parade of eggnog and sugar cookies, a couple of extra servings of veg go a long way to keeping you feeling balanced.
The best part? Even if spiralizing sounds time-consuming, vegetable noodles are totally hostess-friendly. Make a big batch of sauce ahead of time and you’ll have dinner ready in a flash. You can even prep the veggies a day in advance for super stress-free dinner party prep.
You don’t have to sacrifice flavor, either. Top your zoodles with heavenly creamy pumpkin sauce or fresh almond arugula pesto, and even your pickiest cousin will be asking for the recipe. This may be the start of a new holiday tradition. So if you don’t have a spiralizer, you’ll want to put it on your holiday wish list, stat.
Keep reading for seven veggie noodle recipes to serve this holiday season.
Don’t be fooled by the shocking resemblance to linguine—this “pasta” is nothing more than spiralized beets. The golden root veg is worth its weight in, er, gold when it comes to its nutrient makeup. Antioxidant-rich and packed with vitamins A and C (so long, colds!), beets are a fall veggie worth loading up on. Inspiralized creator Ali Maffucci tops her vegetable noodles with lentils to give the dish a boost of plant-based protein, and adds grilled asparagus for some extra heartiness. Maffucci finishes off the dish with a savory and robust garlic-parmesan dressing.
It’s hard not to love anything with sweet potatoes, and this tuber noodle salad is no exception. Plus, the vitamin D-rich spud provides some much needed support for your immune system, which comes in extra handy this time of year. Jar of Lemons blogger Christine McMichael also adds mega-flavor to her “pasta” salad with anti-inflammatory queen turmeric and mixes in spinach and chickpeas to make it a complete meal. If you have vegan, gluten-free, or vegetarian eaters around the table, this hearty-yet-healthy meal will keep everyone happy.
Sure, the farmers’ market produce in the summer is totally drool-worthy, but fall vegetables provide some serious competition. Vitamin C-packed squash, carrots full of beta-carotene, mushrooms for brain function and immunity (thanks, selenium!), and potassium-rich parsnips make for a bountiful vegetarian pasta sauce. You won’t even miss a more traditional meat sauce, according to Canadian blogger Lori Kennedy of Eat In Eat Out, who uses this sauce as a replacement. And over a bed of zucchini noodles, you’ll be dishing up a double punch of veg.
Pesto pasta is a crowd pleaser. Spiralized beet noodles with arugula almond pesto? Now that’s a showstopper. “The earthy flavor of the beets pairs so well with the fresh, garlicky pesto,” describes Spice and Sprout blogger Maya Popovich. If you’re feeding a crowd, all you have to do is make a big batch of pesto and you’ll be good to go. Plus, the deep red beets paired with the vibrant green arugula pesto make for a meal that practically screams Christmas spirit, if that’s your thing.
You may be a pro at spiralizing zucchini, but if you’ve never tried spiralizing carrots, you’re missing out. The beta-carotene super-veg is not only crucial for healthy eyesight and immune function, but adds delicious crunch and color to a salad. This is not your average greens-and-raw-veggies appetizer though. The bed of greens and sprouts is topped with carrot noodles mixed in avocado dressing (um, yes please), and then finished with a turmeric dukkah—basically a superfood-loaded mixture of nuts and spices. Have guests coming over for dinner? No need to cancel your bone broth latte date or Harry Potter yoga class to spend all day in the kitchen. You can make the noodles, dukkah, and dressing in advance, and toss them all together before serving. Talk about a hostess win.
Pumpkin is a sure crowd-pleaser, whether you’re having a cozy dinner with your BFFs or feeding your entire family. But if you’re used to serving the fiber-rich gourd as part of the dessert course, it may be time to expand your pumpkin horizons. You might be surprised at how well it works in savory dishes, too. Wary about losing out on the sweet creamy flavor? Fear not. All Day I Dream About Food blogger Carolyn Ketchum bridges the savory and sweet worlds with one crucial ingredient—vanilla. “It brings just a touch of sweetness while making the whole recipe seem warmer and cozier, more comforting,” Ketchum explains. Plus, pouring a creamy pumpkin sauce over a bowl of zucchini noodles is a pretty genius way to get even the pickiest of eaters to inhale their veggies.
Butternut squash is often a supporting cast member in the holiday spread (it makes for a great soup), but consider giving the potassium-loaded, vitamin B6-packed veg a starring role this year. This spiralizer-friendly squash is sautéed with spinach—no such thing as too many greens!—and coated with a creamy vegan cashew sauce. If making a plant-based cream sauce sounds overly complicated, Delphine Fortin of Del’s Cooking Twist promises it’s super simple. “I used cashews to make the cream, that I first toasted a little bit, for the taste, added a drop of maple syrup to give some character, a pinch of salt, some garlic, water, and mixed it all,” Fortin explains. Her recipe makes extra sauce, which will come in super handy for quick and easy healthy meals amidst holiday chaos.
It’d be easy to fill up on all those zoodle recipes, but if you still have room for dessert, these holiday cookies are made with super healthy ingredients. And no matter how delicious the food, the holidays can be stressful. These meditations will help to keep you grounded.