I first came across the spiralizer—that nifty contraption that quickly creates long strands of julienned vegetables and fruit—at a trade show years ago, well before the thing became a regular item in households. At that time, to be honest, it seemed like just another bulky item to add to my list of one-use devices that take up valuable storage space in my kitchen. Needless to say, I wasn’t too keen on spending money on it.
About a year later, someone who had spent money on one and wasn’t using it asked me if I wanted theirs. Little did I know that using the thing, for creating everything from vibrant purple beet strands to crispy shoestring potatoes to multicolored apple ribbons, would become so frequent that I don’t even keep it in my “garage storage cupboard” for rarely used appliances anymore.
Making zucchini noodles, or “zoodles” as they are sometimes referred to, is probably the most popular application of the spiralizer. It’s certainly my favorite way to use the apparatus.
Zoodles are not only a great way to incorporate more vegetables into my life, they really help me cut back on the consumption of refined-grain pasta and the like. They also make spectacular salads, with beautiful visual appeal. And now that they’re mainstream, you can even find them premade in some supermarkets, which means you probably don’t need to purchase a spiralizer to make this dish, though of course those zoodles won’t be as fresh and nutritious as homemade.
Zucchini Zoodle and Shrimp Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing is refreshing and lovely to behold, with bright colors and flavors, perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. Wild, nutrient-rich shrimp is a great option for those of you with limited time. They can be defrosted quickly under running water, and they cook up in under 5 minutes. They shine all on their own but also adapt to many different flavors and can handle all manner of bold, assertive tastes.
For the other vegetables in this salad, I used whatever was in my fridge, and I recommend you do the same. (As with most of my recipes, substitution and creative experimentation are not only acceptable, they’re encouraged.) The tangy, umami-rich dressing, which I liken to that of a Caesar salad, pairs exquisitely with the shrimp, infusing the shellfish with flavor and playing harmoniously with the different textures and tastes of the veggies.
Zucchini Zoodle and Shrimp Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing
Note: You can use premade zoodles from the grocery store in place of the home-spiraled ones called for here. You’ll need 8 to 10 cups zoodles.
Prep time: 20–30 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
Oil for cooking
Salt and pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2–4 medium zucchini (enough to make about 8 cups packed zucchini noodles)
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
6 radishes, sliced
4 green onions, sliced
1 handful parsley, chopped
Any other veggies or herbs of choice, sliced or diced into bite-sized pieces
- Toss shrimp with enough oil to coat and season them well with salt and pepper. Grill on high or sear in a hot pan until golden, firm, and opaque, about 5 minutes total. Set aside to cool.
- Put olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth and thick. Add parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper and blend to combine. Taste dressing and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Set dressing aside (in blender jar).
- Using a spiralizer, prepare 8 cups packed zucchini noodles. Place zucchini noodles in a large bowl. Add all other vegetables, the herbs, and the shrimp to the bowl. Toss everything with the dressing to coat and serve. Alternately, toss just the vegetables and herbs with the dressing, divide the dressed salad among individual plates, top each plate with cooked shrimp, and serve.
Image from Briana Goodall.