healthy pasta alternatives

9 Secret Healthy Pasta Alternatives

We all love pasta, but we don’t necessarily love the carbs and calories that come with it. Luckily, it’s easy to satisfy your noodle fix and stick to your fitness goals with these healthier pasta substitutes that taste just like the real thing!

There are very few people in the world who dislike pasta. This is one of the most common dishes served in restaurants, and we all love it because it can be combined with different sauces and ingredients. The taste is heavenly, but the carbs - not so much! That is why healthy pasta alternatives are a must for lovers of this dish!

Luckily, there are quite a few healthy pasta options that will satisfy your palate and give you a dish with a similar taste. Instead of giving up your favorite flavors, you can just find the healthier alternative and stick to your fitness goals. It is not always easy, but if you find the right substitute, you will forget all about the real thing.

So, let’s explore the healthy substitutes for pasta that will allow you to stay in shape without sacrificing your favorite tastes. You will be surprised by the choices at your disposal and realize there is always a chance to reach your fitness goals! In short, you can have it all if you know the right ways!

What Are Some Good Healthy Pasta Alternatives?

Going for healthy pasta alternatives will not only help you achieve your fitness goals, they are also good when you try to avoid gluten. Many people are reluctant to try them because they believe they do not really taste the same as real pasta, so it is just a waste of money and ingredients. 

While it is true that not all of them work as you expect, numerous low-calorie alternatives to pasta are really close to the real thing. Moreover, they are grain- or gluten-free, which are amazing features when you are looking for a more balanced and healthier diet.  

The worst thing when you decide to live healthier is giving up your favorite dishes. However, with the appropriate alternatives, you do not have to. You just need to get used to the slightly different taste and then enjoy your meals without feeling guilty.  

Therefore, if you are determined to change your ways when it comes to healthy diet choices, here are some amazing options.  

1. Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini is known as one of the greatest sources of protein, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, niacin, and manganese. Moreover, it is low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat. So, as you can see, it is full of nutrients, which is exactly what you need when it comes to healthy choices.

Besides the great nutritious value, zucchini noodles are easily prepared. And, even better, they taste like al dente spaghetti. This means that you can easily use them in any recipe for spaghetti you have and like. Plus, they do not take as much time as spaghetti does when cooking, so you will have a delicious dish in a few minutes.

For the best results, you should combine the zucchini noodles with avocado sauce and get that amazing combination of nutrients in one dish.

Also Read: Easy Overnight Oats Recipe for Weight Loss

Zucchini Noodles

2. Spaghetti Squash

When looking for low-calorie alternatives to pasta, spaghetti squash can be an ideal option. They come with only 30 calories per cup, which is great for staying in shape and losing weight. Moreover, they are easy and fun to prepare, so you will also sharpen your cooking skills.  

After cooking the squash, you will have to remove the seeds. Then, use a fork to scrape the spaghetti and release them like strands. A good combination is solely salt and pepper and some butter. It is a delightful dish full of nutrients, so it may easily become your new favorite!  

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 Spaghetti Squash

3. Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki noodles are considered one of the best healthy pasta alternatives due to their carb-free features. Since they are primarily based on fiber, shirataki noodles have become one of the most popular options for healthy and low-calorie diets.

Moreover, they come in different pasta varieties, such as macaroni, spaghetti, and fettuccine. Unlike other pasta alternatives, shirataki noodles are found in a pre-cooked state and packed in water. However, it is recommended you cook them in boiling water for a few minutes to get rid of the odor that comes with the package. And they taste fresher that way.

Shirataki noodles are perfect for those who like cheese sauces with pasta but avoid them due to their high-calorie content. But, since these noodles are calorie-free, you can combine them with your favorite additions without feeling guilty.

When looking for these noodles in store, head for the refrigerators. They are not sold like other healthy substitutes for pasta, so you will not find them on the “regular” stands. The nearest grocery store to you probably has them, but you have not seen them because you might have looked at them in the wrong place.

Also Read: 8 Healthy Salad Recipes for Weight Loss

Shirataki Noodles

4. Black Bean Spaghetti

Black bean spaghetti is an excellent alternative, but it may be a little bit off-putting due to its black color. However, you will not mind it once you see the nutrient value of this type of pasta. Namely, black bean spaghetti is rich in fiber, protein, calcium, and iron, minus the calories of regular spaghetti. When you think about it, it is a real jackpot regarding healthy dishes. 

This healthy pasta option has an earthy taste but absorbs sauces amazingly. So, you should not worry about the taste because you will get a delightful one. Cooking black bean spaghetti is easy, like all other gluten-free types, but you need to monitor them carefully because they can stick very easily.  

5. Eggplant Manicotti

If you love manicotti pasta, this is an excellent alternative. First, it is very healthy and nutritious due to the eggplant's features. However, it is also easily prepared. Just bake slices of eggplant until they become tender and roll them with ricotta filling. Then, add tomato sauce and put the dish in the oven.

Quickly, you will get one of the greatest healthy pasta alternatives. If you want to continue the creativity in your kitchen with healthy options, you can use eggplant to replace noodles in lasagna. This is an alternative to the Italian classic but without the high amount of carbs.

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Eggplant Manicotti

6. Quinoa Spaghetti

Quinoa spaghetti is the closest alternative you can get to regular noodles. If someone serves it to you without you knowing that it is a substitute in question, there is a high chance you will not notice any differences.

However, while it is gluten-free and considered healthier than the regular kind, this type of spaghetti is still high in carbs. So, if you are looking for gluten-free options, this is a great pick for your diet. But, if your goal is losing weight, you may need to opt for low-calorie alternatives to pasta.

When your goal is to avoid gluten but still get the taste of pasta, quinoa spaghetti works the best. But, you need to remember that is not the best choice when looking to prevent yourself from consuming carbs. 

Also Read: 7 Day Lazy Keto Meal Plan

Quinoa Spaghetti

7. Chickpea Pasta

When we talk about chickpea pasta as an alternative, there are a lot of divided opinions. Chickpeas are quite delicious, so when they are used as a substitute for pasta, you get unique flavors. Considering the unique taste of chickpeas, this is not an alternative that everyone loves. But, it is definitely worth trying!

Many people prefer chickpea pasta as an addition to a salad rather than combined with sauces. However, you would have to try different combinations to see which one suits you most. Also, when cooking chickpea pasta, it is recommended to take less time than stated in the direction to achieve better texture.

This is a great option for plant-based diets. Since chickpeas are rich in protein, opting for such a pasta alternative is a great idea. You may love it or hate it, but you absolutely have to try the chickpea pasta first and experience the flavors on your own.

Chickpea Pasta

8. Lentil Pasta

Lentil pasta has quite similar features to chickpea pasta. And again, it is a matter of taste whether you will like it or not. It is definitely a healthy pasta option since lentil is a rich source of protein, making it ideal for people following plant-based diets. You will surely get more fiber and protein than from regular pasta.

The taste may be odd to some people, but what might confuse you the most is the texture. During cooking and processing, lentil pasta becomes mushy and gummy, which is not something everyone likes in a meal, especially when the meal is supposed to be something similar to pasta.

Personal preferences play a huge role here, so we cannot tell you whether you will like it or not. You will simply have to try it and see for yourself. You never know; you might just discover your new favorite healthy dish!   

 Lentil Pasta

9. Edamame Pasta

Edamame pasta is something different! It has a unique taste and exceptional nutritional value, meaning you need to add it to your meals at least once. Some say it is even better than regular pasta, and the fact that it is a healthier option makes it a rockstar among healthy dishes.

However, edamame pasta might not be something a picky eater would want to try. If you are one, you may have mixed feelings about this alternative. But do not miss out on a chance to try it. Many people are surprised by the taste, and you might be one of them!

How to Make Your Pasta Alternative Even Healthier?

As you can see, many pasta alternatives can help you keep a balanced and healthy diet. But, if you want to take your food game to the next level, you can also opt for healthy sauces that will provide you with additional nutrients. Believe it or not, there are always options to make your meals more nutritious!  

When it comes to healthy substitutes for pasta and improving their flavors, you should opt for heavenly nutrient-rich toppings. Below, we have added some examples to give you an idea of what you can do with your healthy dishes.  

  • Veggies: Vegetables will always be considered the best option of all, especially when it comes to pasta toppings. Veggies are the most nutritious and healthiest combinations, so considering them in your balanced diet is a must. Take into account broccoli, mushrooms, peas, spinach, or tomatoes. All of these are rich in vitamins and will create a perfect blend of flavors when combined with pasta alternatives.  
  • Cheese: If you are one of those people who cannot imagine pasta without cheese, we have some good news. There are types of cheese that are low in fat but rich in protein and vitamins. Such cheese kinds are feta, mozzarella, and parmesan. You will get the creamy texture you want, but your meal will still be healthy! 
  • Meat: Meat is a great source of protein, so adding it to your alternative pasta can enhance the nutritional value of your meal. Meat like tuna, chicken breast, and ground turkey are great additions to pasta. Plus, it improves its flavor!  
  • Sauces: Sauces are the most common additions to pasta. However, you should be careful when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet because some of them can be quite unhealthy. Opt for lemon garlic sauce, avocado sauce, or pesto to keep your pasta dishes healthy.  
  • Herbs and spices: Herbs and spices are always a good idea for enhancing the taste of pasta. They do not contain any calories or fat, so you can add them any time you want stronger flavors in your dishes. Oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and rosemary work amazingly in pasta!  

As you can see, there are many healthy pasta alternatives. So, if you are a genuine pasta lover but want to stay in shape, you do not have to give up the dish altogether. When it comes to healthy diets, there are always options. You just have to find the one that works best for you and get creative in the kitchen! 

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