Zoodles, (also known as courgetti or zucchini spaghetti) are becoming increasingly popular with dieters and those who’re looking for low carb or low-calorie alternatives to everyday foods, but are they any good?
In this article, I’ll be comparing zoodles head-to-head against pasta to find out the true difference when it comes to nutrition, uses, preparation, flavor, and texture.
Read on to find out much more about whether it’s worth making the swap from pasta to zoodles, along with some useful tips on how to get the best out of your zucchini spaghetti.
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Zoodles Vs. Pasta Nutritional Comparison
We’ll start off by looking at the nutritional differences between zoodles and pasta, including calories, carbohydrates, and micronutrients.
To keep the data fair and accurate, I’ll be comparing the two food products weight-for-weight (per 100g) and I’ll be using official data from the UDSA FoodData Central (links are at the bottom of this page).
The pasta nutritional information is based on generic unenriched white pasta that is cooked without any added salt. Please note that nutritional information can vary slightly depending on the brand and whether there are added ingredients such as egg.
Zoodles Vs. Pasta Calorie Comparison
One of the main reasons why people choose to use zoodles over pasta is because it’s much lower in calories.
The average calorie content of cooked pasta is 158kcal per 100g, compared to zoodles which contain 17kcal for the same weight. By switching to zoodles from pasta, you can save 141kcal per 100g, which can make a big difference to the overall calorie count of a meal.
|Food Type||Calories Per 100g|
Another reason why consumers switch to zoodles from pasta is because of the carbohydrate difference, which is an important factor for those on a low-carb diet such as keto.
When you drastically reduce a food group it’s common to crave foods that provide bulk and substance such as pasta, and zoodles make a good alternative because they help to provide the bulk to additional ingredients and sauces such as bolognese.
White pasta contains an average of 30.9g of carbohydrates per 100g, compared to zoodles which contain 3.11g for the same weight. So by switching to zoodles instead of pasta you can save around 28g of carbs per 100g.
Zoodles and white pasta are both low in natural sugars and neither are particularly high in dietary fiber.
|of Which are Sugars||2.5g||0.56g|
Zoodles and pasta are both very low in fat with less than 1g per 100g which is naturally occurring.
When comparing the protein content of the two, pasta is higher in protein with 5g more per 100g serving.
Vitamins & Minerals Comparison
When you compare the vitamins and minerals found in zoodles and pasta side-by-side you can see that zucchini is higher in more micronutrients than white pasta, especially potassium and vitamin C.
Pasta does contain a range of vitamins and minerals, but at lower levels. Many brands of pasta are made with fortified flour which means that certain vitamins and minerals are added to help consumers get more micronutrients into their diet.
For information, the data below relates to unenriched generic white pasta:
|Vitamin/Mineral Type||Amount Per 100g of Zoodles||Amount per 100g of Pasta|
If you’d like more information about how much of each vitamin and mineral you should be consuming on a daily basis, take a look at this article over at Medical News Today.
Zoodles Vs. Pasta Uses Comparison
Zoodles (or zucchini) can be used to replace pasta in most situations where you would use certain pasta types such as spaghetti or linguine.
It’s worth bearing in mind that pasta has a stronger structure and zoodles have a high water content which means they can go mushy if they’re cooked too much or they’re cooked in the wrong way.
Zoodles don’t work so well where a robust structure is needed such as pasta bakes, but there are great as a base for added ingredients or sauces.
The list below shows some suggestions on ways to use zoodles:
- Zoodles and bolognese sauce.
- Chinese stir fry with zoodles instead of noodles.
- Greek zoodles with feta cheese, tomatoes, and olives.
- Zoodles with carbonara sauce.
- Shrimp/prawn with zoodles.
- Grilled chicken or fish with zoodles.
- Zoodles tomato sauce.
Zoodles Vs. Pasta Preparation & Cooking
If you’re using dried or fresh ready to cook pasta, then the preparation time needed for pasta is quicker than making zoodles.
Although zoodles take a little more prep using a spiralizer if you have a good machine, they only take a few minutes to prep a good pile of zoodles and enough to feed a family.
You can also buy ready-to-cook zoodles in most large grocery stores which are great if you don’t have a machine or if you just want to save time.
Most kinds of dry white pasta will take around 10-15 minutes to cook, depending on the shape and wholemeal pasta will take a little longer.
Zoodles, on the other hand, take little time to cook and will be ready in around 2-3 minutes.
I have found that pan or stir-frying zoodles give the best results for flavor and texture and prevent them from becoming mushy or slimy, which can happen when they’re boiled in water.
For every 100g of zucchini, 94.8g is water, so keeping it as dry as possible during cooking will help to reduce the amount of water that is released.
Flavor & Texture Comparison
When it comes to the flavor and texture differences between zoodles and pasta, they’re both pretty different and some say that zoodles are an acquired taste, but others swear by them.
Neither zoodles nor white pasta can be considered high in flavor which is why we top them with interesting, more flavorsome ingredients and sauces because the main reason we use them is to bulk out a dish.
Pasta has a firmer more robust texture, whereas zoodles can feel more watery, especially if they’re overcooked. By reducing the cooking and frying in a little oil zoodles will retain more of a crunch and will feel more texturally robust.
We’ve now compared all zoodles (or courgetti) and pasta in all categories, so here’s a summary of all the key differences between the two:
- Zoodles contain 141 fewer calories (in kcal) than white pasta per 100g.
- You can save around 28g of carbohydrates per 100g by switching from pasta to zoodles.
- Zoodles contain higher amounts of most vitamins and minerals compared to pasta.
- Zoodles can be used instead of pasta in most situations.
- Dried or fresh pasta takes less preparation, but zoodles are quicker to cook.
- Flavor-wise, neither zoodles nor pasta are high flavor food, but they’re enhanced by added ingredients and sauces.
- Texturally pasta is more robust and zoodles can become watery depending on how they’re cooked.
More Zoodles Vs. Pasta FAQs
Although most recipes say that zoodles need to be cooked, they can actually be eaten raw, however, they can be quite bitter and vary in texture depending on the size of the zucchini the zoodles are made from.
Zoodles are made from zucchinis which contain more vitamins and minerals than pasta, especially white pasta which if unfortified has little to offer nutritionally.
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References Used for this Article
To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from the USDA; the links below contain the source information: