Sweet Potato Noodles with Spicy Pepita Gremolata
I've had a spiralizer for about a year now, but have only used it one other time before I started testing this sweet potato noodle recipe out.
The other occasion I used it was actually documented in photos, because I made cucumber noodles to go with these potsticker meatballs (which are sooo good, BTW). I'd like to bring this handy contraption out more often because it really shouldn't be one of those things that collects dust. It's a kitchen gadget that is actually awesome.
It's me, spiralizer. Not you.
I'll do better.
How to Make Sweet Potato Noodles
Sweet potato noodles are so versatile. Vegetable noodles in general, actually. But I especially enjoy sweet potato noodles because they hold up so well in the cooking process, don't require any salt-drain-dry business (like cucumber and zucchini noodles do) and they are really versatile when it comes to sauces and variations.
I've spent a little time testing spiralizer sweet potato noodle methods and landed on a few ground rules to make sure they turn out perfectly every time.
- Buy a good spiralizer. There are really janky ones out there that don't adhere properly to the counter or have a million parts or are really hard to clean. I did a lot of research before I bought mine (this one!) and it works like a charm so far.
- Peel the sweet potato before spiralizing. You don't need to do this with some other veggies, but potato peels will mess with the noodle-y texture of this dish. Depending on your spiralizer, you will also want to cut off the end of the potato so that the spiky attachment gets a good grip.
- Use the right attachment. My spiralizer does spaghetti cut (1/8th inch), fettuccine cut (1/4th inch) and ribbon cut (thin, but fatter noodles). I tried fettuccine cut first and the noodles were just too large. I wound up landing on the thin spaghetti cut as my favorite for sweet potato noodles.
- The oil and the sauté pan have to be sizzling-hot before you add the sweet potato noodles. This is essential.
- Don't crowd the pan. If you have to cook them in batches, do that. You can always turn the oven on to keep them warm if you are cooking for a larger group.
- Turn the noodles oh-so-gently with tongs to make sure they are cooking evenly.
- No more than seven minutes! You want to make sure the sweet potato noodles are cooked through, but not overdone. The sweet potato can handle the heat for a maximum of seven minutes (maybe less) or the noodles will start to get mushy and break.
What is gremolata?
GremoWHAT? Gremolata a very, very easy Italian condiment made from just three simple, fresh ingredients. This flavor booster only takes about two minutes to whip up.
2. lemon zest
The word "gremolata" sounds like such a schmancy-fancy thing, but it's the furthest thing from it — it's basically a poor (wo)man's chimichurri. I love gremolata because it's an extremely uncomplicated way to add lots of fresh flavor to any dish without a ton of ingredients. It tastes great on grilled or roasted meats and vegetables (just like chimichurri), scrambled eggs and also on these sweet potato noodles.
I wanted a little more spice and texture in this particular recipe, so I added some cayenne and chopped pepitas (roasted squash seeds) to amp up an otherwise very traditional gremolata. If you want to keep it classic, just leave those out.
Sweet Potato Noodles with Spicy Pepita Gremolata
paleo, gluten-free, whole30-approved, vegetarian, vegan | serves 2-4
- 1/4 cup pepitas, roughly chopped
- zest of one lemon
- 1/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- ~1 tsp fresh garlic, finely minced (~1-2 cloves)
- a dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
- a big pinch of salt
Sweet Potato Noodle Ingredients
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
- 2-3 T olive oil
- salt, to taste
- Mix all the gremolata ingredients together and set aside.
- Use a spiralizer to turn the sweet potatoes into noodles. (See above for some additional spiralizer/noodle tips.)
- Pour olive oil into a large pan on medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot enough to sizzle, add the sweet potato noodles in a single layer, turning gently as needed. You may need to cook them in smaller batches to make sure they cook evenly.
- After about 7 minutes in the pan, they should be tender but not so soft that they are falling apart. Sprinkle with salt.
- Serve the noodles warm with a heap of gremolata spooned on top (you might have some gremolata leftover — put it on anything!). If it's not spicy enough for you, top with a shake or two of crushed red pepper.
- Make sure your garlic is fresh — raw garlic isn't forgiving.
- If you eat dairy, this is awesome with some freshly shaved Parmesan cheese on top.
- Can't find pepitas in your local grocery store? They sell them on Amazon. Or you could substitute cashews or another nut/seed of your choice.