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Are you inspiralized?

I like my spiralizer. Of all the kitchen gadgets I own, it’s the one I enjoy playing with the most. There’s something about putting a vegetable or fruit in it, turning the crank, and watching the food form into noodles, ribbons, or (with a few seconds of additional help from your Vitamix or food processor) rice-like bits. Spiralizing is the fastest and easiest way in the world to make pasta, and it’s also a neat way to get more raw fruits and vegetables into your day without a lot of work.

Still, I seemed to be making the same few spiralizer recipes whenever I used the gadget, usually featuring zucchini pasta. I needed to be inspiralized. That’s when I discovered Ali Maffucci’s Inspiralized.com web site. It’s a treasure trove of spiralizer recipes in every category from noodles to dessert, plus special categories such as paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. Ali is a creative cook, and her web site is like spiralizer central. She not only offers a lot of great-looking recipes (she’s an ace photographer too, by the way), she also sells the Paderno spiralizer (looks like the same kind I have), has a mobile app, is publishing a cookbook that will soon be available, and has videos on YouTube and Vimeo that show you how to use a spiralizer and how to spiralize specific vegetables—like this one on spiralizing butternut squash.

Ali’s web site is dedicated to spiralized food, but most of it is cooked. To get her raw recipes you need to look in the salads section, which is where I found this awesome and beautiful-looking recipe for kohlrabi, radish, and shaved asparagus salad with lemon-chive dressing.

There are a lot of things to love about spiralizing vegetables. It’s quick, easy, and fun, and it’s much safer than chopping things up with a sharp knife. Plus, it gives you something that does not need too much else to become a meal.

When it comes to preparing food, inspiration is one of the most important ingredients, and Ali's web site will give you ideas for new raw food combinations you can try. Some of Ali’s cooked recipes can be tweaked a bit and served raw. For her creamy BLT zucchini pasta, for example, she suggests substituting avocado for the bacon, and if you do that and perhaps tone down the spices a little, you can prepare it raw.

For completely raw recipes, check out Ken Rohla’s Fresh and Alive!, a set of two DVDs showing you how to make raw vegetarian recipes with the spiralizer. I have these DVDs, and I’ve tried some of the recipes, and they’re good. There are a number of smoothies, coolers, salad dressings, and other snacks (raw vegan pimento cheese, for example) on disc 1 and a variety of salads on disc 2 (daikon salad, French squash pasta, almond tabouli, and pad thai are a few), plus raw hummus, raw tacos, Tex-Mex pistachios, and more.

You can make my raw carrot cake salad recipe using the spiralizer instead of a grater or grater disc too. Just use Ali's instructions for spiralizing into rice-like bits.

To get a break from the tedium of slicing and chopping vegetables, put away your knives and try the spiralizer. If you get tired of playing with it, you can set it up with a vegetable and let your kids turn the crank. My bet is they’ll be fighting over who gets to do it next.