Inspiralizing A Recipe

We all love to flip through Bon Appetit, Food & Wine or Saveur and drool...

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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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with love, Ali

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  • 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!
  • You've sooo inspired me. Can't wait for my spiralizer to arrive tomorrow. I can't decide which recipe to try first.
  • 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 :)
  • Look Great! I wonder what the vitamin/mineral comparison is like for those of us not counting calories. :)
  • 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!