Let’s Get Saucey (I couldn’t help myself!)

There are few complaints about spiralized pasta. What’s not to love? I get countless texts,...

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There are few complaints about spiralized pasta. What’s not to love? I get countless texts, Facebook messages, tweets and e-mails with pictures of what my friends, family and friends of friends of friends of friends have been making with their newly purchased spiralizers. It truly touches my heart to see how much fun everyone is having with Inspiralized – whether it’s making your own recipe or following one of mine, I’m so proud of y’all for opening your minds and trying something different.

Having said that, the one beef people have with spiralized pasta is that their sauces become too watery. It’s definitely a concern and let me tell you why and then I’ll tell you steps to take to prevent it.

Why Does My Spiralized Pasta Sauce Get Runny?

Vegetables are comprised partly of water. Thus, when you mix the vegetable in with a sauce and add heat, the water “seeps” out of the vegetable and into the sauce. Specially, zucchinis are made up of about 95% water and cucumbers are at 96%! Most all other fruits & veggies are made up of 90% or more of water!

This is why many of these trendy cleanses suggest you drink vegetable “juices.” Foods rich in water cleanse your body naturally by providing up to a liter of fluid daily. Since fruits & veggies are high in fiber and water, they digest more quickly than other foods (ie meat, regular pasta), allowing the body to use its energy for detoxifying instead of digesting.

Now, let’s try to fix our runny sauces. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your pasta to sauce ratio is good – about 60% spiralized pasta and 40% sauce. You can always add more noodles, but if you add too many noodles, the water has already started “seeping out.”
  • Pat down the vegetables with a paper towel after spiralizing them and before cooking- especially with cucumbers. This helps take away any moisture that is on the “skin” of the vegetable’s insides.
  • If you’re making the sauce from scratch, make sure that it reduces about 95% of the way before adding in the spiralized pasta (the pasta only needs to cook for 2 minutes). The sauce should barely have any liquid once you’ve reduced it this far. Don’t worry – once you add the spiralized pasta, the water will seep out of the cooked vegetable and “water down” the sauce. Plus, when the pasta sits in the dish, it will keep “seeping” water.
  • Add more items to your pasta that will soak up the sauce – meats, quinoa, breadcrumbs, etc.

Sincerely, Dr. Inspiralized.

Now, let me leave you with this image of a puttanesca sauce (coming Tuesday!) At this point, does it look like it’s ready for the zucchini pasta? The answer: no way! There is clearly too much moisture (especially on the edges). This needs to reduce another 3-5 minutes. Want to speed up your reduction? Crank up the heat – make sure it’s boiling – the sauce should be bubbling. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “reducing” a sauce – basically, the longer you boil, the thicker the sauce gets and the more richness in flavors.

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with love, Ali

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  • Interesting...I usually try to use a much too runny sauce. Thanks for the tips!
  • Sometimes I cook my noodles separately, in a pan on very high heat (with a spray of oil so they don’t stick). Then, I combine with the sauce afterwards. Am I missing out on something great by combining or just making more work for myself? Love your blog!
  • I sweat my noodles to avoid the excess moisture. It takes a little more planning ahead but it works.
    • How do you sweat noodles?
      • Put some salt on your raw verggies and let them sit for a while (15-30 min) and they will sweat out excess fluid (water).
        • Ann - I don't recommend that, as it causes the zucchini noodles to wilt and become mushy! Plus, it takes extra time.
          • I just set them out on clean kitchen towels for awhile (like 15-20 minutes) and let them sweat it out then I blot them with the towels and throw the towels in the wash. They sort of air dry and aren't wet. I make a lot at once then store the unsauced ones in the fridge where they dry out even more.
  • after spiralizing my zucchini, I toss it in my salad spinner. fast & works great
    • I have tried all the tips on here and yet when the Bolognese goes on the zoodles it because soupy. If you put hot bolognese on raw zoodles will it cook them? @ carol I'm willing to try anythong...does the salad spinner make the zoodles mushy?