The 20-something who creates “noodles” out of vegetables

Since starting her site Inspiralized, Ali Maffucci has wooed cooks of all stripes with creative concoctions that turn veggies into noodle-like dishes. You're next.
Inspiralized_Cinnamon Rosemary Noodles
Cinnamon-Rosemary Carrot and Parsnip Noodles with Roasted Hazelnuts and Ricotta (Photo: Inspiralized)

It’s been a few years since Ali Maffucci diced up vegetables in her kitchen. Instead, she prefers to eat her food in spiral-form.

The 27-year-old created Inspiralized, a site dedicated to recipes made with a spiralizer, in 2013 (when she quit her full-time corporate job), and has since wooed readers with her creative and healthy concoctions that turn veggies into noodle-looking dishes like Vegetarian Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai and Cinnamon-Rosemary Carrot and Parsnip Noodles with Roasted Hazelnuts and Ricotta.

“Any veggie you can eat raw normally, you can eat raw when spiralized,” says Maffucci, who’s put everything from broccoli and chayote squash to pears through a spiralizer. (A spiralizer, incidentally, is a lot like a simple pasta maker or meat grinder, only you put a veggie in and everything comes out in a thin, spiral shape. Most have a hand crank and cost about $25 and up.)

Maffucci was introduced to Italian cooking by her grandparents, but it was her mom who first introduced her to spiralizing veggies (admittedly healthier than eating actual noodles every day). “The first time I had spiralized veggies, I couldn’t believe how delicious they were, but also how much it tasted like noodles,” Maffucci says. Her favorite spiralizer model is by Paderno, but she’s not endorsed by any brand. “I’ve tried them all,” she says.

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(Photo: Sung Photography)

The Jersey City resident also has a very engaged following, especially on Instagram. She’s known for posting gorgeous photos of her food, which she snaps herself, and sweaty and smiley après-workout selfies.

“I want to inspire people to be healthy and happy. Happiness comes from feeling good,” Maffucci says. Readers often tag their friends in her food photos and comment saying things like “we have to make this” and “yesssss brunch this weekend!!” I guess she’s doing her job.  —Molly Gallagher

Want to test your spiralizing skills this fall? Maffucci’s recipe, below, is the perfect way. (Here are some demos, if you’ve never picked up a spiralizer before). 

Cinnamon-Rosemary Carrot and Parsnip Noodles with Roasted Hazelnuts and Ricotta

1 large parsnip (at least 2” in diameter), peeled, Blade C
1 large carrot (at least 2” in diameter), peeled, Blade C
1/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Tbsp of olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Once heated, place the hazelnuts on a baking tray coated with cooking spray. Cook for about 6-8 minutes. Once nuts are done roasting, take them out and peel off their skins. Since the nuts will be hot, you can wait for them to cool or use gloves or a paper towel to rub the skins off. Once all nuts are peeled, set aside.
Place a large skillet over medium-low heat and place in the tbsp of olive oil.
Add in the carrot and parsnip noodles and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon.
Cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, or until noodles soften and are no longer tough. Plate the noodles into two dishes and top each evenly with a ¼ cup dollop of ricotta.
Sprinkle on hazelnuts and enjoy!

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