To replicate the vegetable noodles like Hungryroot’s, I thought I’d only need a serrated vegetable peeler. But as the first nest of curly carrot noodles tumbled into the hot pan with one of the orange threads more than a yard long, I realized replication would require heavier artillery.
So at my friends’ home for weekly slow cooker Sunday tradition, I asked if they’d ever heard of a Spiralizer. Jonathan whipped his head around at me from his station at the stove, and Victoria’s eyes widened as she dropped a fork mid-vinaigrette-whisk.
“It changed my life,” she said, emphasizing each word like an infomercial convert. She lifted the Spiralizer’s box from its prime real estate kitchen counter throne that I’d somehow missed. “Our entire lives,” she repeated. Her husband nodded in silent agreement, stirring something.
But as a cook, I know myself. The last thing I need is another appliance, however brilliant. Just as I prefer to buy my infrequent green juice, so too, will I opt to invest in vegetable noodles kit-by-kit, delivered to my door.
So I returned to Long Island City-based Hungryroot’s “noodles.” Each kit is a complete meal but comes with the option to include an added protein, such as chicken or tofu for an additional $3. They’re ready in seven minutes—and often less than that—which means when you come roaring in the door at dinnertime, one of these everything-you-need-in-one-box kits has the ability to feed you in less time than it takes the G train to arrive. Well worth $9 bucks, in my opinion.
And are you a dessert person? We tried their vegetable-based batters and loved them. Read more here.
Best Thai Takeout Substitute: Carrot Noodles with Tangy Peanut Sriracha
This had all the rich satisfaction of peanut noodles without any post-meal lethargy. Pickled daikon gave this gluten-free, dairy-free dish a bright lift. Halfway through the bowl I thought, “How am I already full? From carrots?” It was a passing wonder that didn’t prevent me from polishing off the remainder.
Best Comfort Craving: Celery Root Noodles with Sweet Basil Gremolata
There are some nights when only a big bowl of pasta will do. This kit, with celery root and carrot noodles, checks the comfort food box of sweet tomato sauce and grated parmesan without requiring the pasta part. The celery root noodles were ready in less than seven minutes, so keep close to the stove if you want to keep ‘em al dente.
Best for a Rainy Night: Rutabaga Noodles with Roasted Mushroom Pistou
With toasted chickpeas, a parsley-parmesan pisto and roasted cremini mushrooms, this bowl of rutabaga noodles is the kind of rich umami meal you want when spring rains start pelting the windows. And when was the last time you ate rutabaga? Here the lowly root gets a real, and deserved, star turn.
Best Update on the College Classic: Daikon Noodles with Korean Scallion Gochujang
When Hungryroot suggests this kit take the place of your favorite cup of ramen noodles, they sell it short. Sweet, spicy, and smoky, this is so much better than anything at the corner bodega, and it won’t give you that lip-smacking sodium-overload feeling, either. In addition to daikon and carrot noodles, the kit includes a wee tub of mushrooms and snowpeas, as well as peanuts and scallions, which provided lots of satisfying crunch.