Who doesn’t love pasta? Most people feel some sort of comfort from consuming noodles for some reason. Unfortunately, most pasta comes with a bunch of calories and not much nutrition to go with those calories. Right away, allow me to mention that I am not telling you to go low carb, I am simply pointing out that you can enjoy pasta in other ways that may add more nutrients. This is about adding more nutrition and avoiding highly processed foods as much as we can.
The typical box of pasta has simple carbohydrates that digest quickly. It can increase blood sugar levels. This can lead to weight gain as more insulin is released. Regularly consuming pasta and in large amounts can be detrimental to health. With an alternative pasta that has more fiber, this could be avoided and do more good for the body.
The healthier pasta alternatives below have natural vitamins and minerals without the blood sugar spikes. I agree that it’s not quite the same as actual pasta, but it can play the part well. However, the chickpea pasta can substitute with almost no difference in flavor or texture. You feel good after eating these types of “pasta”, not weighed down and ready to only sit on the couch the rest of the waking hours.
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Healthy Pasta Alternatives
There are many options better than your typical white flour pasta. Even wheat flour may cause a little less of the simple carbohydrate effect (but try to not eat too much..) Vegetables and bean pastas are great. For low carb eaters, zoodles, kohlrabi, beets and hearts of palm pasta are options that are low carb. All the vegetables options (minus potatoes) have lower carbs than regular pasta. Let it be known, they also may make you feel not as full initially. But it is not necessary to feel super full after meals. Use literally any pasta recipe with these in place for a healthier, nutritious version.
Keep in mind:
- Make sure to use a decent oil like olive oil to cook
- Don’t overcook the vegetables or it will result in smushy dishes
Beans provide fiber, iron, vitamin B6, magnesium. Bean pastas include lentils, chickpeas, and other blends of beans. Such as Banza chickpea pasta. It is loaded with protein and fiber Beans still have carbohydrates, so if you’re aiming for low carb, this is not a good option. Remember to control portion sizes with this type of food as well. This pasta tastes almost exactly like the real thing, so use in any recipe.
Any vegetable that is mostly firm and has a rounder shape, you can probably make into a noodle. Here are some tried and true options. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Just know that veggies have good stuff that you should have in your body often. The spiralizer below has been useful at creating veggie noodles. There are also other options like using a peeler or using some other spiralizer attachment for noodles.
Sweet potato noodles go well with most regular pasta recipes and has a hint of sweetness. The best one are spicier dishes, stir fries, and creamy sauces. These can be cooked in a pan or oven. The oven version takes about 10-15 minutes at 425 degrees. Use a little olive oil and salt before roasting. Cook until it’s to desired softness.
Sweet potato pasta
I like to use butternut squash (the neck part) to make into noodles for a stir fry. It looks the same as a sweet potato so no need to give you another photo for that. You must be careful to not cook them too long or they will smush. Generally, it’s about 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes or on the stovetop until desired softness. Use a little olive oil and salt before roasting.
“Zoodles” are a great option for many people especially low carb eaters. They have almost no taste. They tend to get wet but work well in recipe such as soups or thicker sauces, if drained very well in a colander. These are much better sauteed in a pan, and they only take a few minutes. Don’t overcook or they will turn to mush.
Spaghetti squash is rich in vitamin A. It works well in almost any recipe as well with little taste. No spiralizing involved. To cook, roast at about 400 degrees, cut side down with olive oil, salt and pepper, cook until soft, about 30-40 minutes. Scoop out the squash with a fork.
Hearts of Palm – Palmini
This is something new I have discovered. It takes on whatever flavor of sauce used. It’s found in the pasta section in the grocery stores, but not all have it. To cook, boil in water just like pasta but for five minutes or less.
Eat Palmini – use the store locator to find it
Other Vegetables To Try:
- White potatoes
- Cut up cabbage – Such as in Stir fry
Fresh Idea: Explore a healthy pasta using beans or vegetables.