For over a year, my spiral slicer sat tucked away in a cabinet, unused. I originally bought it back when I was neck-deep in a lot of paleo insanity, briefly interrupted by a few weeks of some random raw vegan diet I tried to follow. I wanted to make noodles out of zucchini with it. I did, multiple times. They were tasty, but they left me hungry, and they definitely weren’t a direct replacement for pasta, gluten-free or not.
During the last year, however, I’ve worked hard to regain a healthy relationship with myself and with food. I’ve healed my digestive system, but healing my relationship with food has taken a bit longer. There are certain foods that I equated with restriction; things I made myself eat in the name of health for so long that I stayed away from them for the past year. I’ve moderated my intake of vegetables, for example. I love veggies, but forcing all-vegetables-all-the-time made me enjoy them less. (Recently, I’ve started embracing them more once again.) Along with this process, I tried to ignore my spiral slicer.
For me, that spiral slicer equaled a time of restriction. A time where I wanted pasta, but instead settled for this lacking representation of what I really craved. So I decided I hated it for a while. I considered it a useless tool to encourage orthorexia. I meant to get rid of it several times, but never got around to it. Poor little spiral slicer – the recipient of so much hatred.
But now, I’ve put enough distance between that old line of thinking and today. I can’t say I’m perfect (who can?), but I’m happy and healthier than I’ve been in a long time. So the other day, I decided it was time to make amends with this recently-despised little tool of mine.
I was making spaghetti for dinner the other night, and a friend had given me a ton of zucchini from her garden. I actually wanted to enjoy the taste of zucchini in my spaghetti, so I drug out the spiral slicer, and made some zucchini noodles. I then opted to pile regular pasta on my plate, top it with zucchini noodles, and then my meaty sauce. While I’m not really a fan of zucchini-only “spaghetti”, zucchini noodles in addition to regular noodles was delicious, fresh, and filling. I’d decided that perhaps my spiral slicer wasn’t so bad after all.
So then, I started to brainstorm on what else I could make with my spiral slicer. The following morning, I was making breakfast, and thought to make hash browns. However, rather than shredding the potatoes, I instead opted to “spiralize” them. I figured that making them in these fine “noodles” that I’d have a better chance of making them crispy and brown in a few minutes’ time.
I wasn’t wrong. After a good squeeze to get all the water out (I use my potato ricer for this – it’s more effective at squeezing the water out than any other method I’ve tried), I spread these potatoes out on a good, hot pan, and they crisped right up. They were brown and delicious, and perfect for breakfast, especially with a drizzle of Sriracha and a side of eggs. They’re also a great option for a Father’s Day brunch (hint, hint – it’s this Sunday!).
This healing of my relationship with food thing? It’s a journey for sure. I’ve been actively working on it for more than a year now. But it’s certainly been worth it. Because now, my journey includes my spiral slicer. And hash browns.
Spiralized Hash Browns (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)
1 lb red potatoes, peeled
2-3 T butter or your oil of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley and Sriracha to garnish (You can certainly top with anything you like – cheese, sautéed onions, bacon, ketchup, etc.)
Using a spiral slicer, cut all of the potatoes into “noodles”. Lightly sprinkle salt over the potatoes, toss, and place in a potato ricer and squeeze the water out well. Allow to sit over a bowl for a few minutes, and squeeze again. Do this until you’re no longer getting a stream of water when squeezing.
Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter to the pan and allow to melt and start to foam. Add the potatoes to the pan, spreading out in a single layer. Don’t move the potatoes for about a minute, allowing them to brown. Use a spatula to “cut” them a bit shorter (typically the spiral slicer makes some long noodles!), and then flip and spread out again to brown the other side. Do this until these are sufficiently browned all over. Season to taste and serve immediately, garnished as you desire.
Makes 2-3 servings.