20 clever ways to make the most of your spiraliser: Pad Thai, zucchini noodles, chicken salad, waffles and more

Irena Macri's raw beetroot and carrot salad with goat's cheese.
Irena Macri's raw beetroot and carrot salad with goat's cheese. Photo: Supplied

Perhaps it's languishing in storage, taking up precious bench space or taunting you from the pantry. You might have even used it once or twice before casting it aside.  

But don't be too quick to write off your spiraliser as a novelty or gimmick. With a little imagination and a few recipe tweaks, it can be a valuable workhorse in the kitchen and a fun way to sneak more vegetables into your diet.

From cucumber ribbons to broccoli noodles, spiralising can improve almost any dish, and is a great way to use up leftover stems.

Spiralised vegies are especially suited to steaming and stir-frying, and because they cook more quickly than whole produce, are great time-savers too.

So, give your spiraliser a new lease of life with these 20 creative cooking ideas.

Irena Macri from the Eat Drink Paleo blog and book - raw beetroot salad and zucchini spaghetti

Spaghetti or spirals made from zucchini require less cooking time than traditional pasta.  Photo: Supplied

Zucchini noodles

Quick to prepare and perfect for anyone wanting to avoid pasta or wheat, zucchini noodles have become a modern classic in the home cook's repertoire. "The key is to cook them ever so slightly, or they can easily turn into a soggy, wet mess," says recipe writer and cookbook author Irena Macri from the Eat Drink Paleo blog and book. "My favourite is to warm up zucchini ribbons in a frying pan with a little olive oil, lemon zest and sea salt and serve with piping hot bolognese sauce or my prawn arrabbiata sauce." For the arrabbiata, Macri suggests spiralising two zucchinis, then heating a dollop of coconut oil in a large frying pan over high head. Fry 300 grams of raw prawns for two minutes and remove. Turn down heat to medium, then saute diced onion and capsicum for three minutes. Stir through salt, chilli and garlic, plus 1.5 cups of chopped tinned tomatoes. Add the zucchini noodles and prawns and stir through.

Raw beetroot salad

Spiralised carrots, kohlrabi, sweet potato, cucumber or apple – all of them work well in a raw textural salad, but one of Macri's go-to dishes is a simple beetroot and carrot salad with goat's cheese and walnut dressing. Blend together one quarter cup walnuts, one quarter cup olive oil, two tablespoons lemon juice, diced garlic, maple syrup and salt, then drizzle over raw beetroot and carrot spirals. "It's a great dish for those nights when you feel like having a break from meat and I really love it for lunch," she says.

Sweet spiralised apple ribbons

These make a simple and nutritious snack, Macri says. Drizzle a little maple syrup over apple ribbons, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sesame seeds. Bake at 120C for two hours, stirring half way. Done.

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Flaked cod, Pad Thai, Rice paper rolls, sweet potato waffles, turkey burgers, wild rice ? from Spiralise your Vegetables by Zoe Armbruster zoearmbruster@gmail.com ? contact zoe for reuse permissions ? credit Murdoch Books

Healthy party food: sneak some veg into your burgers. Photo: Murdoch Books

Turkey burger patties

Looking for a healthy burger alternative? These turkey patties can be served between traditional burger buns but work just as well with a salad or even on their own, says chef and author of Spiralise Your Vegetables, Zoe Armbruster. You can also switch things up by using veal mince. Just don't be tempted to skip the sauce – "it's like aioli but it's healthier and adds a really nice flavour", Armbruster says. Spiralise a large zucchini and mix with 500 grams ground turkey; spring onions, garlic, mint, parsley (all finely chopped); plus a beaten egg, one teaspoon cumin, one tablespoon Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper. Divide into patties and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. Fry for five minutes on each side in an oiled frying pan over medium-high heat. Serve with a few baby salad leaves or sweet potato fries and an "aioli" made with avocado, Greek yoghurt, garlic, lime, chilli and horseradish cream.  

Flaked cod, Pad Thai, Rice paper rolls, sweet potato waffles, turkey burgers, wild rice ? from Spiralise your Vegetables by Zoe Armbruster zoearmbruster@gmail.com ? contact zoe for reuse permissions ? credit Murdoch Books

A crunchy spin on an Asian classic. Photo: Murdoch Books

Pad Thai

Pad Thai with no noodles? It can be done, Armbruster says. For this colourful and crunchy spin on an Asian classic, spiralise four carrots and thinly slice three daikons, 10 radishes and one red cabbage. Combine in a bowl with bean sprouts and sesame seeds plus finely chopped spring onions, mint, basil and coriander. Press out excess moisture from 400 grams tofu and crumble into the salad. Dress with a mix of lime juice, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, grated ginger and chilli. "It's a really nice summer dish, very refreshing," Armbruster says. "It's really healthy and crunchy ... and it's pretty too."

Flaked cod, Pad Thai, Rice paper rolls, sweet potato waffles, turkey burgers, wild rice ? from Spiralise your Vegetables by Zoe Armbruster zoearmbruster@gmail.com ? contact zoe for reuse permissions ? credit Murdoch Books

Light and breezy Vietnamese rice paper rolls. Photo: Murdoch Books

Rice paper rolls 

For something light and breezy, Armbruster suggests this colourful spin on Vietnamese rice paper rolls. Place 60 grams rice vermicelli in a bowl and cover with salted boiling water, rest for five minutes and drain. Spiralise one carrot and two turnips, then thinly slice 70 grams shiitake mushrooms. Soak eight rice paper wrappers in a large bowl of cold water for 10 seconds, one at a time, then place on a dry tea towel. Scatter a few leaves of mint and basil on each wrapper and place a large clump of noodles on each with some mushroom, turnip, carrot and sesame seeds. Wrap up tightly into a roll, and dip in a sauce of blended mango, lime juice and mint leaves.  

Flaked cod, Pad Thai, Rice paper rolls, sweet potato waffles, turkey burgers, wild rice ? from Spiralise your Vegetables by Zoe Armbruster zoearmbruster@gmail.com ? contact zoe for reuse permissions ? credit Murdoch Books

Something different: waffles made from sweet potatoes. Photo: Murdoch Books

Sweet potato waffles 

Looking for a healthy treat, a creative breakfast idea or special supper? These sweet potato waffles will hit the spot, Armbruster says. Heat a waffle maker and spiralise two peeled sweet potatoes. Combine the spirals with ground cinnamon in a bowl, then cover and cook with a little oil in a frying pan over medium-high for six minutes. Saturate in a bowl with two beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 150 grams blueberries. Grease a waffle maker and carefully pour in one quarter of the batter, cook for about five minutes, then repeat. Serve with maple syrup, raspberries, blueberries and flaked almonds.

Flaked cod, Pad Thai, Rice paper rolls, sweet potato waffles, turkey burgers, wild rice ? from Spiralise your Vegetables by Zoe Armbruster zoearmbruster@gmail.com ? contact zoe for reuse permissions ? credit Murdoch Books

Pack a rice and pumpkin salad in your lunch box or picnic hamper. Photo: Murdoch Books

Wild rice salad

Nutty, crunchy and infused with vinegary flavours, this versatile salad can be served warm or cold, packed for a picnic or even taken to work, Armbruster says. "You can also serve it to your friends at a dinner party," she says. "It's really pretty and colourful and very nutritious." Heat the oven to 230 degrees and cook 200 grams black rice and 200 grams wild rice in boiling water with a pinch of salt for 35 to 40 minutes. Drain and rinse, then spread on a tray to cool. Spiralise half a butternut pumpkin, bake on a lined oven tray for 20 minutes with three tablespoons olive oil, then cool. Thinly slice four spring onions, de-seed one pomegranate and roughly chop 50 grams pistachios. Mix all ingredients together with a dressing of red wine vinegar, honey and olive oil.

Flaked cod, Pad Thai, Rice paper rolls, sweet potato waffles, turkey burgers, wild rice ? from Spiralise your Vegetables by Zoe Armbruster zoearmbruster@gmail.com ? contact zoe for reuse permissions ? credit Murdoch Books

Daikon radish takes on the flavour of turmeric. Photo: Murdoch Books

Flaked cod with radish tagliatelle and turmeric 

Low carb? Gluten-free? On a diet? This dish has you covered, Armbruster says. Steam two spiralised daikons for about 10 minutes, then mix with two chopped garlic cloves, two shallots, olive oil and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper and grill under medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Cook four cod fillets in coconut oil in a frying pan over medium-high for four minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper, remove the fillets, and add lemon juice to the pan, heating and stirring to scrape up any bits from the base. Flake the fish fillets and combine with the radish, then dress with the lemon-coconut oil. Garnish with oregano.

Spiralise photos from Spiralize Now! and Spiralize Everyday by Denise Smart - asian pear salad, Thai beef salad, Chicken zucchini and quinoa salad, Salmon en papilotte

An Asian dressing lends fresh and bright flavours. Photo: Octopus Books

Thai beef salad

Try this easy summer idea from Denise Smart, author of Spiralize Everyday and Spiralize Now!. Whisk together a dressing from two tablespoons palm sugar, two tablespoons fish sauce, juice of three limes, three crushed garlic gloves, one chopped chilli and six tablespoons chopped fresh coriander. Spiralise one cucumber, two carrots and one daikon using a spaghetti blade, then pour over half the dressing. Brush a 500 gram rump steak with oil and season with salt and pepper, then heat a char-grill pan until smoking hot, adding the steak and cooking over medium to high heat for three to six minutes on each side. Rest on a plate then slice thinly. Just before serving stir half a head of finely sliced Chinese cabbage into the salad, place on a board, top with the beef, drizzle over the rest of the dressing, and sprinkle a handful of chopped peanuts. "The flavours are fresh and bright ... so I would have it for a light evening meal or at lunchtime," Smart says.

Chicken salad: Griddling the zucchini ribbons gives them a lovely smoky flavour.

Chicken salad: Grilling the zucchini ribbons gives them a lovely smoky flavour. Photo: Octopus Books

Chicken, zucchini and quinoa salad

This dish makes a "simple easy supper with lovely Moroccan flavours", Smart says. Place 200 grams quinoa and 600 millilitres water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove from the heat. Spiralise two zucchinis using a ribbon blade. Coat three chicken breasts in a mix of olive oil, sumac and salt and pepper, then cook on a char-grill pan over medium heat for four to six minutes on each side and set aside. Add the zucchini spirals to the pan and cook for two minutes. Mix the quinoa in a bowl with juice and grated rind of one lemon, with olive oil, mint and pistachios, then gently stir in the zucchini and 150 grams pomegranate seeds and top with slices of chicken breast. Grilling the zucchini ribbons gives them a lovely smoky flavour, Smart says, just be careful not to overcook them or they'll lose their texture.

Spiralise photos from Spiralize Now! and Spiralize Everyday by Denise Smart - asian pear salad, Thai beef salad, Chicken zucchini and quinoa salad,?Salmon en papilotte

The carrot and zucchini will steam inside the parcel with the fish. Photo: Octopus Books

Salmon en papilotte

Here's a clever no-mess mid-week meal. "There's not even any washing up - you just throw away your piece of parchment afterwards," Smart says. Make a sauce with one 2.5cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced, two tablespoons soy sauce, two tablespoons Chinese rice wine vinegar and one teaspoon sesame oil. Spiralise one carrot and one zucchini, then place two large squares of baking paper on a large baking tray. Divide the spirals between the two sheets, adding thin slices of spring onions and a salmon fillet on top of each pile. Spoon over the sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Fold over the paper to seal the parcel, then bake at 200 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with steamed rice. The spiralised carrot and zucchini will steam perfectly in the paper parcel with the salmon and ginger, Smart says.

Beef and broccoli stir-fry

Stir-fries are a great way to use up broccoli stalks, Smart says. Marinate 500 grams thinly sliced rump steak in a mix of thinly sliced fresh ginger, crushed garlic, cornflour, and soy sauce, sherry or Chinese cooking wine. Spiralise two carrots using a spaghetti blade, then spiralise one broccoli stalk using a flat noodle blade. Cook the florets of one head of broccoli for two minutes in boiling water, then drain, plunge into cold water and pat dry with paper towel. In a very hot oiled wok or frying pan, stir-fry the marinated beef for two to three minutes, then remove the meat to rest. Heat more oil in the wok or pan, add the vegetables plus 75 grams toasted cashew nuts and cook for two to three minutes. Return the beef to the wok or pan, add 300 grams cooked egg noodles, and stir in extra soy sauce, sherry or cooking wine; oyster sauce and stock or water. Stir constantly until the sauce has coated all ingredients, and serve.

Spiralise photos from Spiralize Now! and Spiralize Everyday by Denise Smart - asian pear salad, Thai beef salad, Chicken zucchini and quinoa salad,?Salmon en papilotte

Pears work well in a sweet ribbon salad. Photo: Octopus Books

Asian pear salad

This delicate dish is great for entertaining, Smart says. Make a syrup with 100 grams castor sugar, two chopped lemongrass stalks and a piece of ginger, finely sliced. Heat gently with 150 millilitres water in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, simmer for five minutes, and allow to cool. Spiralise four firm nashi pears using a ribbon blade (or apples will do), then drizzle the syrup over the fruit, discarding the lemongrass and stirring in chopped fresh mint and pomegranate seeds. Chill and sprinkle with shaved coconut before serving.

Pork steaks with cabbage "rice"

Spiralisers aren't just great for making noodles or spaghetti, they're also a super quick way to make "rice" from vegetables, says the author of The Spiralizer Cookbook, Carolyn Humphries. "Just make the noodles, then pulse them briefly [in a food processor] or chop them by hand and they make perfect little 'grains'," she says. "They cook more quickly than rice, they have all the nutrients you want from a vegetable and they're a fun way of incorporating your five [vegies] a day."

For this recipe, make the "rice" by spiralising a small white cabbage and one onion using a wide blade, then chop finely by hand or in a food processor. Grill four boneless pork loin steaks for two to four minutes on each side, then wrap in foil. Fry cabbage and onion with butter in a saucepan for a few minutes, then add 150 millilitres chicken stock, sage and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Boil and reduce 150 millilitres dry white wine and 100 millilitres stock in the char-grill pan, adding soy sauce and black pepper to taste. Serve the "rice" and pork on a plate, spooning the jus over the steaks.

Potato hash browns

Can't go past the crunchiness of a hash brown? "These are gorgeous for breakfast with some bacon and eggs or just some grilled mushrooms," Humphries says. "They're also tasty for lunch or supper with grilled meat, chicken or even grilled haloumi cheese." Spiralise a couple of potatoes and an onion then chop finely by hand or in a food processor. Squeeze out moisture, then mix in a bowl with one beaten egg and salt and pepper. Form into patties and fry for three minutes on each side in oil in a large frying pan.

Cucumber ribbons with prawns

This light dish from Humphries makes a delicate summer salad. Spiralise a large cucumber using a wide curls blade, then drizzle with a dressing made from one tablespoon lemon juice, three tablespoons olive oil, half a teaspoon honey and salt and pepper. Toss together with one cup of cooked, peeled prawns and pile in small bowls. Top with a dollop of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of parsley and serve with toasted sourdough bread and unsalted butter.

Potato noodle pancakes

"These potato pancakes are delicious with all sorts of toppings but smoked salmon is my favourite," Humphries says. Pop any leftovers in a lunch box and eat cold the next day. To make the pancakes, spiralise one potato, then snip into short lengths. Boil the potato noodles in a pan with about two centimetres of water for two minutes and drain. Beat four eggs in a bowl, adding nutmeg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, then stir in the potatoes. Spoon one quarter of the mixture into an oiled pan over medium heat and fry as you would a pancake, flipping once. Top with cream cheese and chopped smoked salmon, then fold into a crescent shape and serve with lemon wedges.

Parsnip and vanilla "rice" pudding 

"This is an unusual pudding but really makes the most of this sweet and versatile vegetable," Humphries says. Spiralise a large parsnip, then chop finely in a food processor. Place the "rice" into a saucepan, adding 400 millilitres of evaporated milk and one canful of water. Stir in two tablespoons honey, and the seeds scraped from a vanilla pod, along with the pod. Boil then reduce heat and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until rich and thick. Discard the vanilla pod. Spoon into small dishes and serve hot or chilled. 

Fennel noodle salad

Here's another idea perfect for hot weather, that works well with roast or grilled duck, chicken or oily fish, Humphries says. Spiralise three large heads of fennel (tops trimmed) using a whirl blade. Remove the peel and pith from two oranges and slice into quarter rounds. Mix orange and fennel together in a bowl with small pieces of torn watercress, a can of drained and rinsed haricot or cannellini beans, one finely chopped spring onion, 12 halved green olives and 50 grams toasted toasted hazelnuts or walnut halves. Toss together with a dressing of rapeseed oil, lemon juice, honey, grainy mustard and salt and pepper. Don't waste the stalky fennel tops, they're great chopped and folded into a little mayo or thrown into a soup pot, Humphries says.