To shake up the vegetable routine, use your noodle.

Many vegetables are easily noodled: Spaghetti squash, once cooked, inherently forms tender, thin strands you can twirl onto your dinner fork; zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise, becomes long, wide ribbons; and, with the help of one of those "as seen on TV" spiral slicers, just about any root vegetable from beets to turnips can take the shape of pasta. (The Veggetti slicer is widely available for about $15, and many supermarkets sell ready-noodled vegetables in quart containers.)

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It's a practical way to shake up the usual vegetable routine. Raw vegetable noodles cook in minutes, thanks to their increased surface area. You can prep them a day in advance, so they make for an easy weeknight dish. You can't go wrong simply sauteing them in a skillet with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add a handful of fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon for an extra layer of aroma and flavor.

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Or take the pasta concept more literally and toss cooked vegetable ribbons with tomato sauce or pesto. You also can combine generous amounts of vegetable "pasta" with regular noodles for a heaping main course that's more healthfully balanced than the typical pasta dinner.