7 Tips for Spiralizing Large Vegetables and Fruits

7 Tips for Spiralizing Large Vegetables

Now that the butternut squashes are becoming more abundantly massive and sweet potatoes are creeping up to be the size of pumpkins, it’s time to talk about how to spiralize these colorful monstrosities.

It can definitely be a little intimidating to tackle a root veggie (or fruit, in the case of butternut squash,) especially if you’ve been spiralizing zucchinis and nothing else.

Today, I’m giving you some tips on how to best spiralize those larger, tougher veggies and fruits.

Root veggies and fruits tend to be dense with a tough inner flesh and thick skin that’s difficult to peel. Once you have your peeled veggie, you may stare at your spiralizer and think, “How is that little tool going to slice through this giant vegetable?!”

Well, I’m here to tell you that it will – and all it takes is a little TLC on the veggie and then some ample elbow grease.

And let me point out that I designed the Inspiralizer with this exact concept in mind – that it’s difficult to spiralize hard veggies. The Inspiralizer flawlessly slices through those big sweet potatoes and beets, so if you don’t have one yet, that may be your first step. Treat yoself.

To start, here are the veggies and fruits that apply to these tips:

Tip 1: Remove any knobs, if applicable.

This applies more specifically to celeriac, but also applies to broccoli. Prior to peeling your vegetable, slice off any protruding knobs. Basically, you want as smooth of a surface as possible before you start spiralizing. Any knobby-ness will cause the vegetable to fall off center and require more force to spiralize. Not good.

Click the image to watch a demonstration video:

Peeling a Celeriac

Tip 2: Peel your vegetables completely. And then peel some more.

First off, invest in a solid peeler. I’ve been using this OXO peeler for ages and they do the trick – nothing fancy, just something with a great grip and sturdy metal.

When you peel, make sure that any tough skin is removed. This is extremely important with vegetable skin that is “hairy” (like with a celeriac) or wax-like (like with a jicama or rutabaga.)

Click the image to watch a demonstration video:

Peeling a Butternut Squash

Tip 3: Slice the ends off flatly and evenly.

This is important for all large vegetables, not just the tough ones. If you have a large zucchini, it’s better to slice the ends off flatly and evenly, to help to better secure it to the spiralizer and ensure a smooth spiralizing experience.

It’s even more important with tough root vegetables that may be circular (ie a jicama or rutabaga.) By creating a wide, flat surface, you can truly sink the teeth of the spiralizer’s handle into the vegetable.

Click the image to watch a demonstration video:

Peeling a Zucchini

Tip 4: Cut the vegetable in half to divide into two pieces.

I always slice my vegetables in half if they’re wider than 3″ in diameter and longer than 10″. It offers better leverage when spiralizing and makes the whole process more manageable. Great vegetables to do this with include long butternut squashes, zucchinis, carrots and daikon radishes.

Click the image to watch a demonstration video:

Slicing Butternut Squash

Tip 5: Reposition the vegetable if it starts to wobble or it yields “half moons.”

If the vegetable ever falters while spiralizing, it’s probably because it fell off center. You always want to make sure your vegetable is centered on the spiralizer. Otherwise, your center of gravity is thrown off and the spiralizer will start yielding half moons.

Tip 6: Give it some elbow grease.

I’m not going to lie, spiralizing a sweet potato isn’t nearly as easy as spiralizing a zucchini – you need to give it a little oomph. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to break your Inspiralizer – it’s designed especially for spiralizing tough veggies, so the handles are reinforced.

Make sure you’re gripping the side handle for leverage and push towards the back of the Inspiralizer, where the noodles come out.

Tip 7: Spiralize quickly, but controlled.

I sound like a spin instructor, ha! When you spiralize a sweet potato, you want to spiralize quickly – the slower you go, the less momentum you have and the harder it will be to spiralize. I’m not saying spin the handle as fast as you possibly can, but if you apply pressure and spin the handle swiftly, your vegetable will spiralize with much more ease.

Tip 8: If all else fails, chop your vegetable up into manageable parts.

If your CSA delivered you a celery root the size of a basketball, things can get tricky. First, slice the knobs off and peel it. Then, chop the vegetable up until it’s in slivers that can easily be spiralized. You may have some waste that isn’t “spiralizable,” but just simply repurpose those pieces – in soups, in stir fries, in slaws, in frittatas, whatever!

7 Tips for Spiralizing Large Vegetables


That’s all folks, happy spiralizing! Bring on the butternut squash pasta!

Nutrition Talk

Update: I’m going to be posting “actionables” after each of these Nutrition Talks! Follow along with me, if you find the actionables applicable to your own healthy life journey!

Treat yourself with kindness

Last week’s module at IIN was a lot about trusting yourself and treating yourself kindly. If you’re at peace with yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, your nutrition will follow suit.

I couldn’t agree more with this – at times, I definitely feel like I’m too harsh on myself and my body. I commit to a grueling 45 minute spin class where I huff and puff and drip sweat. While I enjoy the endorphins from this and the nice bum I’m building, sometimes, I don’t want to put my body through that – I want to take a walk or go for a bike ride. I want my “workout” to simply refresh me. Do I go on that walk instead? No, because the calorie burn isn’t as high and I see that leisure walk as a “waste of productive time.” Tsk, tsk!

Time is our greatest asset and our biggest enemy. We treat time so precariously that sometimes we forget that time should be cherished, not looked at as another line item on our to-do list.

Oil pulling

I’ve heard a lot about oil pulling and I’ve never given it a shot. In the same vain of treating ourselves preciously and with ease and compassion, I found oil pulling to finally be of interest to me! IIN suggests this holistic treatment as a way to keep your body balanced and cared for.

If you don’t know what oil pulling is, it’s the act of literally swishing around 1-2 teaspoons of oil in your mouth (coconut oil is considered best!) for 5-20 minutes. After you swish it around, rinse it out with salt water and then brush your teeth.

IIN suggests doing this in the morning. The benefits? It supposedly stops bad breath, fights plaque, moistens your mouth, lips and throat and pulls out bacteria and fungus, alleviating inflammation, congestion and allergies.

I’ve had a runny nose for about a month now, so I’m curious to see if oil pulling will remedy that.

Actionables for this week:

  • Take at least one 20 minute break per day, outside of the apartment – walk, bike, do whatever clears your mind and rejuvenates you.
  • Try oil pulling at least once!

What do you think of this week’s Nutrition Talk?

In case you missed a previous ​Nutritional Talk, every week, I’ll be sharing some takeaways from the courses I’m taking at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. If you’d like to start Nutrition School, IIN is offering anyone who signs up through Inspiralized a hefty discount off tuition. To learn more, click here.

Disclaimer: While IIN has offered these courses complimentarily to me, I have not been compensated in any other way and all opinions are always my own.

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Steven says:
I specialize in the care and treatment of the gums. I have personally done oil pulling for many months and I did not notice any benefits. Many of my patients have also tried oil pulling with little if any noticeable benefits. There may be a placebo effect here, meaning if you think it will do something, you will actually perceive that it is doing something. I just want to share with you my objective experience and observations. BTW there is no scientific research to support any claims that are being made.
Ali Maffucci says:
Everything's always worth a try, especially when many people have experienced positive benefits! Thanks for your feedback, always.
Debbie says:
First off I want to say I love all that you do - all the infomration you provide is helpful. I love your recipes! Just want to make a comment about the inspiralizer (I have one and love it) it is not left hander friendly. If I am wrong please let me know. I use it and will always use it. I am not being negative. Just wanted to give you an FYI.
Fran says:
Hi. I have to say I agree -- I am left-handed and while it's not the worst thing, The tool is not friendly to those of us who are left-handed. As a matter of fact, I just ordered the KitchenAid model to make it easier. I've just read through your entire book and have earmarked so many recipes I can't wait to try them this week. Thank you!
M says:
I've actually done oil pulling for a while and really enjoyed the feeling. I don't know if it is THE remedy for congestion and many dental issues but, at least for me, it really left my mouth feeling fresher, my teeth had a lovely smooth touch all day and looked brighter. Maybe it is a placebo effect, I don't know.. I liked it and it can't hurt to try :)
E. Marino says:
Hi Ali, Oil pulling sounds interesting enough to try at least once. But I wanted to especially thank you for the "7 Tips on Spiralizing Large Vegetables and Fruits". Great tips and I think this will benefit many. I experience spiralizing with many large vegetables and I happen to have a very LARGE sweet potato in my possession right now and was afraid to spiralize it but will now give it a try. What I wanted to bring to your attention though, is that I clicked on every one of the demos above but was not able to view any of the videos. In the past I never had a problem with viewing your videos but failed today at each one in your "7 Tips on Spiralizing Large Vegetables and Fruits".
Ali Maffucci says:
Oh no! If you click the video, it should download the video to your computer and then you can watch it!
E. Marino says:
I did click the video and nothing went to my download folder nor could Acrobat and Windows Media Player play the video. It's a shame because I love the large vegetables during the fall season.
I'm curious to hear how oil pulling goes for you!
Pam says:
Ali - I love your site and all the tips you provide. I have your book. And a new spiralizer is on my wish list (since I broke mine yesterday). This time I'll try yours. Anyway - my reason for writing is that I was not able to view any of the videos either.
CeeCee says:
I have some huge rutabaga's in the garden. I'll have to give them a spin on my spiralizer. Aren't rutabaga's also called Swedes? As to oil pulling - I tried it but couldn't stick with it. Instead I bought a dental irrigator or (water flosser) for my shower. It screws in behind the shower head and has an on/off lever to redirect the shower water to the pik. I also have a version that snaps in and out of my sink faucet. I use the shower one more often. My dentist and hygienist are very please. I had gum pockets that have actual improved since using the dental irrigator. I was looking at regular canister style waterpik reviews when I happen to see these canisterless piks. They get good reviews. The downside is you can't add a medicine to the water. On the plus side there is endless water, no clean-up and I use it whenever I shower.
Dianne says:
Good tips about the large veggies but like some of the other comments, I'm also unable to view the entire videos. They download only about 3-4 seconds each & that tiny piece is watchable....but that's all I get! (Windows10). I checked your YouTube channel but these videos don't seem to be there.
Samantha says:
Same problem with trying to view the videos on my iPad- only about 15-20 seconds will play then it just stops as if there is nothing more. I am very interested in seeing these - I have only done soft things. Can you please fix and repost?
Geoff says:
I made the Chorizo and Chickpea Harissa Stew with Spiralized Jicama and it was fantastic, however, I only got through a small Jicama with some trouble before I went to the larger one and just was able to make rice as the holding spikes just kept ripping through the end. So I tried to cut it into thirds as quarters would have been to small and halves to large. That didn't work either so I ended up julienning the Jicama and ate about an hour later! Any suggestions?

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