Italian restaurant Vapiano is piggybacking on Australia’s growing trend for zucchini noodles as a healthy alternative to pasta, now offering “zoodles” on its menu alongside traditional pasta dishes.

Vapiano, known for its house-made pizza and pasta, has rolled out zucchini noodles as a green alternative to pasta across its full menu range. Vapiano Australia Managing Director Will Cooke said the addition of the gluten-free, low carb option was a natural evolution for the brand, which has seven restaurants nationally including four in South East Queensland. “Zoodles are an evolution of our ongoing commitment to giving our customers the ultimate choice and provide another lighter alternative to our famous house-made pasta dishes,” Cooke said. “We’ve always offered our customers options that are easy on the hips, including a range of tomato-based sauces and organic, hand-milled wholegrain pasta. With zoodles in the mix, we’re extending our range of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free dishes, showing our customers that you don’t have to sacrifice flavour for health.”

Mark Jensen from Queensland wholesale fruit and vegetable supplier Jensens Market Supplies, which supplies to a number of leading Australian restaurant brands, estimated a 30 per cent increase in zucchini sales over the past six months. “We’ve definitely seen more restaurants, cafés and the public going for zucchinis, mostly because of the rise in popularity of zucchini noodles. People are going mad for it,” Jensen said.

Queensland nutritionist Paige Redford from the Sunshine Coast’s From the Source Naturopathy, said zoodles provided a vibrant and fresh power-packed alternative to pasta. “Zucchinis are super nutrient-dense and provide dietary fibre that is so important for our digestion and gut health. They are also packed full of antioxidants, which help our bodies detoxify and boost our energy,” Redford said. “Everywhere you look, or any health expert you talk to will say ‘Eat more greens’ and zoodles provide a perfect way to introduce more greens to your favourite dishes.”

Zoodles are now available at all Vapiano restaurants nationally for a $2 surcharge.

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