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 ribbons of zucchini, instead of short shreds?

Hold the grater like a 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) I went for a super green theme with peas and pesto. I also stirred in some 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 croutons 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 DELISH.

Lazy Girl’s Zucchini Spaghetti with Peas, Crème Fraîche and Pesto

4.42 from 12 votes
Print Pin


  • 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.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!

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

  1. Belinda @themoonblushbaker

    such a neat trick. I am prone to those kind of accidents too which is why my food processor sometimes does double duty. I would love to add some feta to this bowl.

  2. Yummm so many good spring flavors! I’m waiting and waiting for the peas in my garden to be ripe so I can add them to everything.

    1. Thank you Katie 🙂 I am not joking around when it comes to fresh peas, I can (and will) consume tonnes of them when they’re in season!!!

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I would have never thought of using a cheese grater! GENIUS! Love this idea!

    1. Thanks Katrina! I only randomly thought of trying it out the other day when I couldn’t be bothered to get the mandoline out, and it worked so well I knew I had to share it with everyone! 🙂

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  5. Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

    I want to faceplant into those luscious strands of goodness.

    And those Parm shavings on top — LAWDY.

    1. hehehe, thanks Stephanie! Omg yes, and I had a few Parmesan shavings left over – you’d better BELIEVE I ate them all 🙂

  6. Courtney @ BakeMeBetter

    Love this! And I agree with you on the mandoline. Annoying. Dangerous. Big.

  7. I can’t get over how GORGEOUS your photography is! Your recipes are amazing (I just made the pretzel peanut butter bars) and you’re so funny! =) Keep up the great work! =)

  8. Sue/the view from great island

    Very cool idea, I love the gif showing the cheese grater, that’s so easy and so perfect!

    1. thanks Sue! 🙂 it really is super easy, I can’t believe I’ve been wasting my time with mandolines this whole time when a grater works so well!

    1. Yeeees I know of thees things, but I don’t want more fancy gadgets that only serve one purpose! That’s why me gusta the box grater because most people have them, they’re cheap, easy to find and are multitaskers 😀

  9. Hey! Was wondering how you get your vids looking… what they look like? haha, clitchy and photo like:P

    1. ahaha, they’re caled .gifs and are made up of a series of images taken at a rapid speed, then put together to form a video-clip type of thing 🙂

  10. AAaaaaaahhhh. it was aaawwwwssssooomme. I just love your way of thinking. It was really easy and great.

  11. Completely agree with you on all of your points about the mandoline (well except for it being across the kitchen 🙂 ). Even when working in a professional kitchen, I tend to avoid it as I’ve sliced off the tips of two of my fingers (they’ve grown back fine, but as you can imagine, not a pleasant experience). I think if you have good knife skills, you won’t need one.

    1. haha thanks Katherine! Yess that is what I’m so scared of, I’ve already had a bad experience with a bread knife, and I don’t want a repeat incident :/

  12. thelittleloaf

    Ooh! I’m sitting at my desk but I want to rush home and try this… I can’t quite believe that it doesn’t just create little short bits of courgettes, but I know you wouldn’t lie 🙂 Is there a very special technique, or is it pretty easy to do?!

    1. I know! I was pretty surprised it worked so well myself! But I’ve done it a few times now and it always works 🙂 If you look at the .gif of me grating it in the post, you can see how I do it 😉

  13. i love zucchini pasta! i’ve never made it myself because i don’t have a mandoline, but a cheese grater trick is perfect! who doesn’t have one on hand?

  14. Oh boy, mandolines. My mom bought me a really nice one for Christmas a few years ago (it came with its own fancy case and everything). I’ve used it on a few occasions, and the fear of the hand guard slipping and me slicing off the heel of my hand never lessens, not even a little. Using a box grater is waaaay more rad!

    And this is pretty much my dream spring/summer meal. Green stuff that looks like pasta covered in more green stuff that usually goes with and on pasta. Plus cheese. YES. (And avoiding injuries from the rage hunger shaky hands — double yes!) Also, this is one of the few things that can get me to deviate from my several-year-long obsession of turning zucchini into pasta sauce. (It’s absurdly good, but I will buy like a thousand mondo zucchini from the market and continue to fill the freezer with bags of sauce. It needs to stop.)

    1. Right, right!? Even with the hand guard I’m still always having premonitions of blood everywhar when I’m using a mandoline!
      Haha, me too! So freakin good 🙂 AND WHAT IS THIS CAREY, I’m searching your archives NOW to find this sauce. Yes that is my search for ‘zucchini pasta’. Ohhhkayyyy, I know what I’m making for lunch this weekend :O

  15. Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen

    Now that is true genius 🙂 Is it ok if I still want a spiralizer though? 🙂

    1. thanks Loretta! hahaha yeah, totes fine! They’re awesome! I can’t really get one myself because I’m going to uni next year and I already have an ice cream maker which takes up quuuittte a bit of room :////

  16. Eva | Adventures in Cooking

    Love it! Sounds delicious and the animated gif is just great. I don’t have a box grater, sadly, I use a cone-shaped grater with a ladies’ head and torso at the top (it’s cute! not creepy like it sounds) but I bet I could prop it up against something on its side to keep it from rolling around while shredding the zucchini. This is a great alternative to spaghetti squash 🙂

    1. thanks Eva! hahahaha, that sounds pretty awesome, yeah I think that might work! 🙂 I’ve always wanted to try spaghetti squash, but I’ve never got round to it. That’s something I need to change…

  17. How many servings does this make? One? Great tip, by the way! I can’t wait to try it.

    1. I made this last night (tripled the recipe) and I couldn’t believe how well the grater worked! Why don’t more people know this secret??? 🙂

      1. awesomeee, yeah the recipe is for one serving (I had it for lunch), but seriously, it’s so low cal, you could each as much as you want 🙂

  18. Zucchini is one of the few veggies I can get my kids to eat on a regular basis, so we always have some extra laying around. I’m going to have to try this.

    1. it’s one of my favourite vegetables (although, I say that about a lot of veg..), let me know what you think!

  19. Bahaha you are hilarious and this is SO GENIUS! If you’re late to the party, what does that make me since I’ve never seen this before? Anyway, I am wayyyyy excited. I’ve been wrestling over whether to buy a spiralizer for awhile now (because yes, my mandolin terrifies me as well) but now I don’t have to! I can’t wait to try this! Watch out zucchini–I’M COMING FOR YOU!!

    Also, the light. The details. That first photo. The lines in the wall. Just stunning. Stunning!

    1. haha, thank yah! ermmm…. I guess you’re just so hipster, that this is just too mainstream for you to have heard of it..(?) 😉 THANK GOD I’m not the only one with the mandoline fear! I eat zucchini like it’s going out of style, seriously one of my staple foods!!

      And thank you, thank you!! 😀

  20. I think that is the best GIF ever and I love all of your commentary. 🙂 Plus, this meal looks delish + perfect for summer.

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  24. Alexandra @ Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker

    I love this idea of using grated zucchini as spaghetti! I’ve got to try it. 😀 This looks seriously yummy, and gorgeous photos as usual!!

  25. You are the second person telling me that zucchini spaghetti could be a nice creation for lunch. First I couldn´t eblieve that. Now I think, I have to buy a zucchini next time 😀

  26. After spending two weeks in Italy (Pordenone to be exact), I not only miss the amazing pasta I ate, I also have a terribly bloated tummy from all that gluten! I’m glad to have found an alternative on your site. Thank you!!!

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  32. Thanks for sharing this! I have shared your link in my Facebook group!

    Great post


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  36. Girl, you rock with this…
    Can’t wait to serve it up to my baby… fiance… as a side dish…

  37. Hi there! I am going to try this out and let you know how it goes – looks so good! I love the mandolin rant – I agree, I agree!!! Enjoyed this post! I am still laughing!

  38. Love this recipe! The only thing I would change is drying the zucchini a bit with paper towels before as they tend to be a bit watery! Overall though love the blog and the recipes, keep up the good work!

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  40. Thank you for posting this! I’m absolutely terrified of my mandolin (due to the unfortunate pickling incident of ’12) but have zucchinis coming out of my ears from my garden. Great way to create zucchini noodles!

  41. Hi, Izy! Wow, thanks!…..i had just read bunches of reviews for slicers,
    And was seriously thinking of ordering one
    ‘Even though practically every one of them carried a dire warning about finger
    slice-age!!! (My word! Ha ha!). I totally am going to try your box grater
    method! And- yay!- I already have one, of course!

  42. Tried this recipe out. Delish and so simple. Mopped up that amazing sauce with crusty bread. Did my pesto a little different because I’m cheap (used beet greens, walnuts, and golden raisins), but worked great with the creme fraiche.

  43. Tina@foodboozeshoes

    Hmm, I don’t have a box grater either… And I still grate my fingers on those… :/

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  45. Hey! Just discovered you from SortedFood 🙂 love your blog so much, the healthy meals and the cakes are def appealing to me, as are the friends references…

  46. Leigha @ Minougirl

    LOVE this!! I’ve got so many zucchini from my garden, and this is going to happen! Can’t believe I’ve never thought of using a cheese grater to make spaghetti. And I love how low cal this is. Sometimes I just can’t take any more real pasta!

  47. This looks amazing! I was searching for a way to make zucchini ribbons sans mandolin and was thinking the grater might work – glad I found your blog (and that awesome recipe!) for confirmation 🙂

  48. I just finished making this for my lunch tomorrow (didn’t add the cheese though as I can’t have dairy) and added toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds. WOW! Although. now I have no lunch to take with me to work as I ended up eating the entire thing it was that good! Looks like I shall be down the store tomorrow on the lunch break… haha. Thanks for a fab recipe, I can’t wait to do this again x

  49. I have one of those reinforced gloves which I use every time I use a mandoline (and sometimes when I use a grater, because I’m just that uncoordinated.) It really does the trick–no finger-slicing.
    Looking forward to trying this recipe!

  50. Just made these noodles with a thai chicken peanut sauce. SO.GOOD. Thank you for posting a recipe for a lazy college student 🙂

  51. OMG! I just made this last night for dinner, SO DELISH! And, it really is genius (and OH, so easy) using the cheese grater! Thank you, thank you, thank you for that idea!

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

    1. 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!!

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  56. 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.

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  59. Robyn @ simply fresh dinners

    Love this! Fabulous idea, beautiful photos and so wonderfully healthy! So glad I found your site. Happy New Year.

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

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

  62. wow, this looks delicious! Can’t wait to try this!
    just wondering, how many would the this serve.

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  65. 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!!!

  66. If I wanted to make this for dinner for 3 people.. Would I just double the quantity of ingredients listed above?

    1. 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

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  71. 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.

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  79. 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!!!!

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

  86. 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!

  87. 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.

  88. 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!

  89. 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.

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    1. 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!

  95. 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!

  96. 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!

  97. 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!

  98. 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!!

  99. Great idea with the zucchini pasta, need to try this one
    Did spaghetti with zucchini( here’s recipe if your interesed ) but never thought of making pasta out of veggies.

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  105. SO Good, Such a good article, I can relate. No to superfluous gadgets, yes to zucchini spaghetti = THANKS! 🙂

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  108. 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!

  109. This is a very good article. Thank you for a great information.
    Looks really yummy.
    I like to eat Spaghetti.

  110. 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.

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  118. 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 🙂

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  122. 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!

  123. 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

  124. 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 🙂

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  126. Hahaha! “use it like a freaking mandolin!” you’re so funny!

    My new favourite food blog! ^_^

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  131. 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.)

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  133. 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. 🙂

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  136. 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.

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  139. Marianne Guarena

    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 : )

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  143. Zucchini noodles with a cheese grater! Finally, someone’s talking with sense.

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  146. I feel like I’m the only one with a blunt mandoline…it’s about as dangerous for me to use as a grater. XD Maybe cos it’s plastic?? Either way, nice alternative!

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  148. Thank you! Gave my pampered chef mandoline away because after 10 years, I wasn’t in love with it. Have a kitchen aid brand box grater that I am in fact in love with and excited to try this. Someone mentioned letting the noodles air dry a bit to have a more noodle-like texture. Taking the spiralizer off my amazon wish list now!

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