Inspiralizing A Recipe

gluten freemeat & poultry

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We all love to flip through Bon Appetit, Food & Wine or Saveur and drool over the recipes. Not only is the photography so perfect that you could practically lick the plate, their actual dishes always impress.

I read all the major food magazines not only to drool, but for inspiration for my own recipes. One afternoon, I was looking at Food Network magazine and I saw a divine looking bowl of spaghetti with pancetta and lentils.

Then my eyes scanned down to the bottom of the page: 650 calories per serving. 650. Calories. Per. Serving. 650!

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Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to rain down on Food Network magazine. In fact, just the opposite: their recipe was so mind-blowingly delicious, I had to share it with you today.

One difference, though. I Inspiralized it. This is something that’s pretty simple to do: swap out regular pasta/noodles for spiralized veggies. Thus, Inspiralizing.

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Originally, I wanted to do a calorie comparison between that exact same recipe, using zucchini noodles. However, 3 oz of spaghetti versus 3 oz of zucchini noodles is kind of an unfair comparison.

Let’s look at that, for a minute, using the 3 oz:

Food Network Recipe (3 oz of spaghetti): 650 calories
Inspiralized Recipe (3 oz of zucchini noodles): 347 calories

347. Phew, much better. That’s a hearty dinner. And heck, I can categorize it in my “Under 350 Calories” tab on my recipe index.

The Food Network recipe is 95.3% higher in calories than the Inspiralized version. Here it is:

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Here it is again:

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This is all fun, but honestly, 3 oz of zucchini noodles isn’t quite enough to fill you up (or at least not for me, but I have the appetite of a blue whale.) I’d say 12 oz of zucchini noodles is the perfect amount (unless you’re starving or hangry – then bump it up!)

What does 12 oz mean, calorie-wise? About 50 calories. Actually, 49.

That would mean that, if you used a substantial amount of zucchini noodles to replace the Food Network recipe, the calorie comparison would then be:

Food Network Recipe (3 oz of spaghetti): 650 calories
Inspiralized Recipe (12 oz of zucchini noodles): 382 calories

382 calories. That’s still pretty good, considering all the deliciousness that’s in this pasta (a garlicky tomato sauce, pancetta, onions and lentils).

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Let’s say that we’re hangry. We want a giant bowl of zucchini noodles, not just 12 oz. It’s Saturday night and we want to treat ourself. Go ahead and spiralize about 2.5-3 zucchinis.

What’s the comparison now?

Food Network Recipe (3 oz of spaghetti): 650 calories
Inspiralized Recipe (3 zucchinis): 445 calories

Honestly, even Lu had a hard time eating this bowl of pasta (it’s huge!) We had a funny conversation afterwards, after he tried the regular spaghetti version (after eating the Inspiralized one).

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Lu takes a bite of the regular spaghetti, original recipe.

Lu: Oh. man *eyes roll in the back of his head*
Ali: What do you think?
Lu: I mean, spaghetti’s just so good.
Ali: I know, and I’m not trying to say zucchini pasta’s better, though. I’m Italian, that’d be sacrilegious!
Lu: Yea, but to be honest, I don’t miss regular spaghetti. It’s awesome, but there’s no point when you have zucchini noodles.

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This is a classic conversation. Zucchini noodles will never BE regular spaghetti. But, your taste buds adjust when you substitute in spiralized veggies and then when you DO have a bowl of regular spaghetti again, you’ll find yourself saying, “It’s just not worth it – it’s delicious, but zucchini noodles do the trick.”

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Plus, when you look down and your skinny jeans are finally fitting, you’ll be the winner. And as a disclaimer, I don’t count calories. Ever. I do it now to prove a point, but I eat clean, whole food, healthy meals without stressing over numbers or a scale. Lululemon’s Wunder Unders are often (okay, always) my best friend.

Are you convinced? What are your thoughts?

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Sarah says:
I am very happy that I found your blog - the recipes are so inspiring :) I bought a spiralizer just before I found it and I have to say, my first bowl of zucchini noodles, which was plain ol' zucchini and bottled sauce (I was hungry) :) were so - good- reminding me of my happy noodle days gone by. They may not be just like pasta noodles but to those of us not eating wheat having them was such a wonderful thing (preaching to the choir I know). I'd tried rice noodles and they just didn't work for tomato sauce. Zucchini does. Today I had no plan for lunch so I made zucchini noodles with garlic and curry powder, and popped on left over enchilada chicken - it's chilling out in my fridge at work for lunch! Can't wait to try this one as well!
Anonymous says:
You've sooo inspired me. Can't wait for my spiralizer to arrive tomorrow. I can't decide which recipe to try first.
Aw, yay! Thank you so much for the kind words.
Ali says:
I am SO happy I found your site (through your guest blog on Against All Grain). I bought my spiralizer a year and a half ago (tragic) and was afraid of what I'd find in the box, that it would be difficult to use or just a pain to clean. I am HOOKED and cannot wait to try everything you've posted. I can finally eat and not blend as much as I do!!! Best of luck to you, it seems like great things are happening :) I've already messaged a ton friends to follow you and buy their own!
Thank you so much Ali - that is so sweet of you to send me this message! I'm so excited to have you on board and glad you found me through AAG! Welcome :)
Meg says:
Look Great! I wonder what the vitamin/mineral comparison is like for those of us not counting calories. :)
I'm sure it's just as impressive!
Reba says:
I just stumbled upon your blog while looking up recipes for the spiralizing device that we have at home at the minute. I tried zucchini this way for the first time yesterday after the gym - it was so quick and easy adn tasted exactly the same as spaghetti to me (I have a hard time eating carbs, I gain weight easily so try to avoid them). It was delicous! I was actually so excited that when I called my Dad to wish him a happy birthday I couldn't help but mention it and also spoke with my mom about it later. It makes me excited to try all different types of recipes with it - I don't believe mine is as sturdy to do the likes of carrots, sweet potatoes, etc but I will have to purchase another one so I can just spiralize everything! Thank you for the recipes!

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air fried shrimp tacos with pineapple mango salsa and guacamole, another meal made fully from a @wholefoods shop! 🌮🍍🥑🍤⁣

~ corn tortillas⁣
~ guacamole⁣
~ pineapple & mango salsa (fresh prepared foods)⁣
~ sliced red cabbage (pre-sliced container)⁣
~ @sirkensingtons chile lime crema⁣
~ cleaned & deveined shrimp ⁣
~ panko breadcrumbs ⁣

preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. dredge the shrimp in egg and dip in panko (toss the panko with paprika, onion, chili, & garlic powder, salt, and cumin.) add in a single layer to the air fryer and cook for 7-10 minutes, flipping halfway through (they’re done when golden brown and C-shaped.) spread some guacamole on the tortillas and top with shrimp, cabbage tossed with juiced lime, pineapple mango salsa, and drizzle with the bottled crema. easy peasy! 👏🏼 ⁣

what’s your favorite easy weeknight taco combo? 🌮 #inspiralizedwholefoodsmealideas

super easy lunch idea, made (almost) entirely from the freezer and 100% from @wholefoodsmarket, so next time you go there to shop, grab the following items and make this Teriyaki Tofu and Pepper Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry👇🏼👇🏼

~ frozen riced cauliflower, stir fry style⁣
~ frozen three pepper blend (sliced bell peppers)⁣
~ organic teriyaki sauce⁣
~ @wildwoodfoods teriyaki baked tofu⁣
~ for garnish: white sesame seeds, red pepper flakes⁣

heat a tablespoon of neutral oil in a medium skillet. add the bag of riced cauliflower and sauté until softened to your preference (about 5 minutes for rice-like, IMHO.) set the cauliflower aside in a bowl. add a couple handfuls of bell pepper strips and half the package of tofu, cubed. pour over some teriyaki sauce (I use about 1/3 cup), stir, and let cook until peppers are totally soft, another 3 to 5 minutes. top the riced cauliflower with the teriyaki tofu and peppers. garnish with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. enjoy!⁣ 🥡

do you like easy meal ideas like this from specific grocery stores? 🤔 I'll start a hashtag for them - this one will be #inspiralizedwholefoodsmealideas

probably my favorite part of parenthood is seeing life through my children’s’ eyes. everything is new and they live a life of exciting discovery. and nothing beats the merriment of Christmastime! 🎄🎅🏻 luca and roma had a blast ice skating today in NYC - luca got the hang of it quickly and he loved pushing roma on the little plastic bear seats they had at @rinkatbrookfieldplacenyc. ⛸❄️ the twins were angels and slept the whole time, so I could be present with my older kids. 👼🏻👼🏻

and we’re building a holiday bucket list calendar, what should we add to it (aside from meeting santa? 😉)

cauliflower and carrot masala, totally normal meal on thanksgiving eve, right? 😅🥄

tomorrow we’re going to my BIL’s to hang out with Lu’s side of the family, and I’m excited to see everyone (it’s been YEARS!) and have the kids spend time with their cousins, aunts and uncles 🙏🏼

for the curry, simmer cauliflower, carrots, a jar of @mayakaimalfoods, and 2 cups of @bonafideprovisions veggie broth in a large pot for 20 minutes or until thickened to your preference. add cooked lentils, stir, and serve with jasmine rice, chutney and toasted naan. easy 30 minute meal 👏🏼 not exactly thanksgiving-friendly, but worth a share!

safe travels today and tomorrow and wishing everyone a safe and happy thanksgiving 🦃 I’m so grateful for you