Lazy Girl’s Zucchini Spaghetti [no fancy tools required!] with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto

Lazy Girl's Zucchini Spaghetti [no fancy tools required!] with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto

Am I late to this party? Has the ship already sailed? Does everyone know about not using stupid mandolines to cut zucchini into ribbons?

Ima pretend that this is brand new information and I have discovered the lazy way to make zucchini spaghetti, i.e. without a mandoline or peeler or spiralizer.

No fancy tools required.

We are going to use the humble box grater to create those luscious strands of goodness.

Lazy Girl's Zucchini Spaghetti [no fancy tools required!] with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto

Lazy Girl's Zucchini Spaghetti [no fancy tools required!] with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto

You may wonder why I’m hating on mandolines so much.

No, I haven’t cut myself on one yet (which is pretty strange), but I just find them soooo annoying.

First, you have to be super careful when you’re using them, and when I’m rushing around in a kitchen or my hands are shaking because I’m SO HUNGRYYY, I don’t want to have the added pressure from the impending doom that awaits my hand. If I just ‘ooops’ slip for a second, I could be slicing through flesh. My flesh. No me gusta. (do not tell me about spiralizers. Yes they’re awesome, and yes they also protect your hands but I don’t have the space or cash for such a fancy gadget!)

Second, is the washing up. Again, you have to be careful of that sharp, sharp blade (which, when making spaghetti-style cuts, is also JAGGED), and all the zucchini bits get stuck in the nooks and you have to try to caaarrrefffuullllyyy remove them.

Third, the mandoline is on the other side of the kitchen in a different drawer to the other utensils I’m using and I don’t want to have to be making all these stops around the kitchen when clearing it all up (see, I told you it was the lazy girl’s version)

Fourth, not everyone owns mandolines. Probably because of some of the above reasons, and also because they aren’t really that versatile. Well, not as versatile as a box grater, right?

Lazy Girl's Zucchini Spaghetti [no fancy tools required!] with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto

 The box grater on the other hand, is dull enough for me to feel that my hands are safe from looking like they went into battle, yet sharp enough to cut into the zucchini with ease.

It’s also smaller, so it easier to hold, and lives in the same drawer as the frying pans! Plus washing it up takes 0.5 seconds.

But how can we create long ass ribbons of zucchini, instead of short shreds?

Hold the grater like a freaking mandoline.

You put it on its side, with the face you want to use (the thickest grater) facing up, and use it just like you would a mandoline (minus the pain and fear!!) moving the zucchini along it in long strokes to create the ribbons.

Lazy Girl's Zucchini Spaghetti [no fancy tools required!] with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto

Lazy Girl's Zucchini Spaghetti [no fancy tools required!] with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto

Then I just fry it up with a bit of garlic (or go the lazy way and season w/ garlic salt :) ), and use it like I would normal spaghetti.

As it’s summer time now (I think it is, but the weather is disagreeing atm) I went for a super green theme with peas and pesto. I also stirred in some half fat crème fraîche, and served it on top of some spinach with Parmesan shavings and lemon zest (trust me with the lemon zest, it really makes all the difference). I can imagine how good this would be with some crutons (ahahah I totally just wrote that as ‘crutonays’) thrown in, ooooh but do not get me started on that.

I’ve also made this (with ricotta in place of the crème fraîche) and eaten it atop crostini which was ah-mazeee.

Lazy Girl’s Zucchini Spaghetti with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto
1 medium zucchini, washed
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled + finely minced
2 tsp basil pesto
1 tbsp crème fraîche, cream cheese, ricotta or mascarpone (half-fat, full fat, whatever you want!)
1 handful of fresh or frozen peas
salt and pepper
lemon zest and Parmesan cheese, to finish

Take a box grater and place it on its side with the side with the largest grating holes on it face up.

Cut the ends off the zucchini, then push along the top of grater, in long strokes in order to create long, thin ribbons of zucchini (see the animated .gif in the post).

Heat a skillet with the olive oil, then gently fry the zucchini with the garlic until slightly tender. Stir in the pesto, crème fraîche (or whatever creamy ingredient you're using) and the peas (even if they are frozen. They'll defrost quickly in the frying pan). Stir until coated, season with salt and pepper, then take off the heat.

Pile it into a dish (I served mine on a bed of raw spinach leaves), and grate over some lemon zest and Parmesan.


  1. Lauren says

    Looks really yum! Totally separate question: what are your countertops made of? They look like cement tiles! Please share the details. Thanks!

    • ria says

      super idea, love the casual attitude you have to cooking, bit tired of the know it alls these days . Did not want to buy a spiralizer either and will be making the tonight!!

  2. says

    thanks so much for the easy and simple recipe! It will be in my regular rotation of dinners. I’ve never tried zucchini ‘pasta’, but I love how I don’t feel heavy after! And thanks for the box grater tip, it was refreshing to see after looking at multiple sites that required a spiralizer or other specific tool.

  3. Sandra says

    Rather annoying writing style but amazing photography and I love the use of the gif! The recipe is also fantastic.

  4. Pam says

    This is the most entertaining description of preparing food yet; too funny.
    The video is helpful to non-cookers as myself.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Siesha says

    Being a recent “healthy eating” convert, most everything that I have tried has been HORRIBLE. I read all of the “amazing” reviews and think YES. I AM SO DOING THAT! Annnnd than I do. And it’s horrifying. Until I tried THIS. HOLY COW PATTIES this was delicious. Thank you for actually posting a reasonably healthy meal that doesn’t take like poopy face!!!

    • says

      well I don’t find it particularly filling for dinner so I’d say double it for 3 people if you’re having someting else with it, otherwise triple it

  6. Sarah says

    I just made this for dinner. Rarely do healthy things taste this amazing!
    Given that zucchinis are currently on sale at my grocery store I think I’m going to be eating this a lot this week.

  7. Carla says

    Thanks for the demo…One of those tricks where you say” Geeze, of course…Why didn’t I think of that? Your humor is just as pleasing. I guess I will be making this in about an hour. YUM!!!!

  8. Chloe says

    YES! Love this dish and was never smart enough to realise I could make it myself.. with my cheese grater, wahaoo!!!

  9. says

    We’re currently travelling around Europe in our motorhome with our 4 children and need quick and easy meals. I am also trying to cut back on my carbs so I think what you are describing is what our children have renamed……..COURGHETTI!!

    We love it. Thanks for the recipe idea! We’re in Slovenia at the moment and there are loads of courgettes and yes we use the humble cheese grater too. I don’t even know what a mandoline is let alone have one in our camping kitchen!! We steam ours in water then I add the juice to the sauce to not lose all the flavours.

    Ooo am hungry now!

  10. NuMystic says

    End your fear of the mandoline! You just need a cut resistant glove and you can use it with absolute reckless abandon:

    Of course I could use one of these with a box grater as well, but they lull us into a false sense of security with their “safety”. So, the irony is I’ve actually bloodied myself on a grater countless times but have yet to cut myself with a mandoline! 😛

    There’s a reason they’re nicknamed knucklebusters after all.

  11. Heather says

    I just have to weigh in on this mandoline thing. I am so incorrigibly bad with a knife that I bought one (from a company that sponsors goofy cooking gadget parties, no less!) and it has changed my life. Like a previous poster, I use mine with a cut-resistant glove, and now I have vegetables. Cut vegetables that I and my family can eat, as opposed to whole vegetables that sit in bags in the fridge until they go bad. Well, longer, actually.
    So, those of you with zippy knife skills and a just-in-case box grater, please don’t sneer at the mandoline. It might be the veggie equivalent of Bisquick, but it gets the salad on the table!

  12. Victoria says

    Unbelievably delicious and easy recipe! I bake a chicken breast a little bit before and add it to the pan after everything’s done cooking.

    • says

      I think your best best would be to freeze it once it’s shredded, but try it out with a small amount first so you don’t end up wasting the zucchini!

  13. Gerry says

    AWE-SOME! I didn’t want to have to buy a special gadget, so glad I found this post. I wonder if it would work with eggplant too? Just bought farm fresh zucchini yesterday, was going to make veggie lasagna – but I may have to do this instead…LOL.

    Thank you!

  14. Ana says

    Thank you for this super easy and delicious recipe. I’m going to make this at least once a week now. I used ricotta and it’s was great! The cheese grater was easy to clean. I love that this recipe only takes a few ingredients!

  15. Kat says

    We just got back from NYC and this little Italian joint across from our hotel had an amazing zucchini appetizer with apples and toasted walnuts on the menu – we ate there both nights and ordered it both nights… Amazing. This trick is grate! 😉 I have a mandolin I hate because it’s cumbersome and I just ordered the more dangerous kind – but I can use the grater and will tonight! Thanks!

  16. Courtney says

    Just wanted to chime in and say… I was googling a method of making zucchini noodles without a fancy gadget today, and your site popped up. Worked SO well! The .GIF was particularly helpful to get a sense of the method. My box grater had a rubber thing on the bottom to keep it from sliding, and I just slipped it off so the zucchini went right across. Thanks!!

  17. Dee says

    You’re amazing! I have wanted to use zucchini as noodles forever, but I’m terrified of mandolins! I had one once. It ended poorly. I sliced my finger open down to the bone whlst attempting to assemble it. It was promptly discarded. Spiralizers aren’t available in this country, but I have a box grater! I am adding this to the list of things to try when I get home!

  18. Courtney says

    I just found this by Googling “zucchini noodles with cheese grater,” and I love you. I laughed throughout the entire post. Thanks for affirming my thought that this could work.

  19. Sacha says

    Fantastic! I needed this for dinner tonight. So glad I found your tutorial! AND in fact I do have a mandolin, but I’d rather use the grater for this job :)

  20. Sarah says

    Can’t wait to try this. And I love that you don’t use a mandoline. I don’t own one and I hate buying equipment that I will only use once in a blue moon.

    Laziness Unite!

  21. Joanne says

    Lazy girl! OMG…you have K.I.S.S. down pat!!! Came online thinking about buying the Vegetti and found this. Smart, simple, no fuss….DUH…I have a box grater but am obviously not as smart as I thought I was. Thankyou for the lesson in lateral thinking and for saving me money I can’t afford to spend on ‘gadgets’…..xxxx

  22. says

    this is great!!! I really didn’t want to buy a mandoline, I hate gadgets, plus too many people have told me they’ve injured themselves so I know I would too. This looks much quicker, and safer! I’m recently eating more paleo and want to try zuchinni noodles for pasta, so I’m going to try this. Thanks for sharing…yipee for healthier AND safer dinner :)

  23. says

    Oh my gosh. Thank you. I’ve been wanting to try these zucchini/squash noodles for awhile, but couldn’t justify buying a special, fancy tool for it on a grad student budget, especially when we have like, negative storage space left. (We have kitchen gadgets stacked on top of kitchen gadgets.)

  24. Natalie says

    Thank you so much for this tip! I also hate getting out the mandoline. I don’t even know why I bought it because I DREAD using it, even though I’ve never cut myself. I will be using the box grater method from now on! You’re a friggin’ genius. :)

  25. Artemis says

    Thank you so much for this! My partner’s dad just gave us a bag full of GIANT zucchini from his garden, and I normally hate squash. Noodles seemed like the best thing to do with it, but I don’t have a fancy spiralizer and am terrified of mandolines. Got lovely long noodles, and I’m really excited to try them.

  26. Marianne Guarena says

    Thank YOU!! Seriously, effin THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost bought a spiraler today. In fact, the only reason I did not is that I forgot my wallet and had to go back to the house. I was in line for Pete’s sake. It wasn’t meant to be. And I own a dang mandoline!!!! I hardly ever use that thing and the sharp *ss blades have destroyed the little tool you use to pierce vegetables to guard your fingers from said blades. It literally sheared off the plastic guards. SO now I have to be very careful because yes, you can literally take off a finger. Alas, I DO have a box grater which will be used tonight to make zucchini spaghetti. You brought to light something that all of us are now facepalming ourselves over and thinking, Why. Did. I. Not. Think. Of. This??? So, thank you : )


  1. […] It’s taken me a long time to try zucchini noodles. I’ve probably been thinking about making them for over two years now. You’re probably wondering why it’s taken me so long? Well, I’d always thought that I would need a julienne peeler, a mandoline slicer or spiralizer to get those green strands of goodness in the right form. I’d never thought of something so simple as using a box grater (or in my case a triangle grater) to do exactly that. Thanks Top With Cinnamon. […]

  2. […] – Recipe slightly adapted from The Art of Eating Well by Melissa Hemsley and Jasmine Hemsley* – If using vegetable stock cubes I tend to use less than the packet says (e.g. if it recommends 1 cube for 1 litre of water, I use 1/2 a cube for 1 litre of water instead). This is because they tend to be very salty so use them carefully! -This dish is suitable for pescatarians, however, to make it vegetarian/vegan-friendly: swap the 2 tbsp of fish sauce for 1 tbsp of white miso paste. – If you don’t have a spiralizer I have a guide to show you how to make courgette spaghetti with a box grater right here […]

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