Saturday, August 5, 2017

Spaghetti with Swoodles

Spaghetti with Swoodles - made July 10, 2017
I have a new gadget. Total impulse purchase which I don’t usually do. Normally I waffle, dither and dink around before I buy myself something. I used to be a shopper and shopped myself to quite a number of acquisitions. Then, after I purged half my stuff, there was a period where I went the opposite direction and hardly bought myself anything at all. That was my “sackcloth and ashes” martyrdom period. Most recently, I’ve managed to (mostly) strike a balance between not overindulging myself and not being a martyr. If I wanted something, was going to use it and it didn’t cost half an arm or a quarter of a leg, I usually would buy it after an extended thinking-about-it period.
I blame my friend Donna for this. She posted a mouthwatering picture of what looked like honest-to-goodness noodles stir fried with chicken and some kind of green stuff (spinach? Basil?). It looked great and was healthy. Turns out those noodles weren’t pasta noodles but instead were made out of white sweet potatoes (Japanese sweet potatoes, my favorite) that had been spiralized. But they looked so real as noodles.
I don’t have a gluten intolerance or anything and I like pasta just fine. But I also love sweet potatoes and was intrigued by this whole spiralizing concept. I looked up recipes on pinterest, I read foodie blogs that showcased fantastic-looking dishes and, like a hapless person staring into the glittery eyes of a cobra, mesmerized by its depths, my trigger finger clicked, depositing the item into my online shopping cart. A few days later, I had a spiralizer sitting on my counter.
At first I circled it like it was a cobra itself, there for a purpose but tentative to approach in case it bit me. It had blades and weird cutouts in those blades that promised different sizes of “noodles”. There were instructions on what to do with root vegetables to get to that spiral noodle stage. Remember that I don’t really cook often or well. This wasn’t a baking gadget per se. It involved cooking. But I can read and the instructions were simple so this turned out to be a pretty straightforward endeavor.
Peel the sweet potato, cut off ends, cut in half, anchor one half on the pointy-wheel thingie, clamp the handle so the sweet potato kisses the blade and start turning. By trial and error, I was able to make angel hair “noodles” or “swoodles” – sweet potato noodles. It was pretty easy and didn’t require as much muscle power as some of the blogs had led me to believe. All that working out with weights paid off.
While, after half a sweet potato, I could spiralize with the best of them, I was a little more inept when it came to actually cooking the swoodles. At first I tried pan-frying them with a little olive oil. That worked decently well but it’s not that easy to pan fry swoodles and not have some of them burn while the others weren’t cooked through. Ask me how I know. For the swoodles made from the second half of the sweet potato (I cooked it in two batches as I had a pretty big sweet potato to start with), I boiled them instead. That sort of worked but you can’t over-boil them or you’ll end up with mashed swoodles, aka mashed sweet potatoes.
To uphold the swoodle look, I made a spaghetti sauce so I could lend verisimilitude to the whole noodle concept. Overall, it turned out okay. If you like a little more flavor or spice, add some additional pepper to the sauce or top the noodles with your favorite sauce. This was pretty healthy, more so than my usual fare. It helped that the swoodles turned out to be more filling than pasta noodles so I was able to eat a smaller portion and still feel satisfied.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 large Japanese white sweet potato, spiralized then sauteed until soft
  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet and saute onions until soft. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add ground turkey and stir until browned. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans spices and sugar.
  2. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Top swoodles with sauce and serve warm.


  1. I love my spiralizer. It's sort of like magic. But what do you do with that stem of zucchini or potato? I chop it it and put it in the dish. I never thought about a sweet potato. This looks awesome.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

    1. I cut the stem from the base and added that to the swoodles, like you do. For the base, I cooked that separately and put a scoop of the spaghetti sauce over it and ate as a separate serving :).