Our Favorite Plant-Based Pasta Dupes
Just because you're dieting or trying to improve your health doesn't mean you can't indulge in a bowl of comforting, delicious pasta. Check out some of our favorite healthy pasta subs below.
Just because you're watching your carbs or calories doesn't mean you can't enjoy pasta. Below, we've outlined some of our favorite substitutions for traditional pasta and spaghetti, from low-carb veggie-based options to pasta made from nutritious ingredients enriched with protein, fiber and other nutrients traditional spaghetti products don't contain. Remember that when substituting traditional pasta for something else in a recipe, it's important to take into consideration how the dish will be served (hot vs. cold, heavily or lightly sauced, etc.) so that you can make the right choice. For some of these options, you may want to look into investing in a julienne peeler or a spiralizer, which will make your alternatives more noodle like.
Zucchini is a great pasta substitute because it is so versatile. It can be sliced thin and long in place of lasagna noodles, or you can use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make it into spaghetti-like noodles that can be topped with your favorite sauce.
You can either leave the zucchini raw or cook them for a warm dish. For the lasagna, roast the sliced lasagna in a 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes until the zucchini is tender. For spaghetti-like noodles, heat a large skillet with a bit of oil and sauté the noodles until al dente.
Carrots are also a great vegetable-based pasta alternative. They're packed with beta-carotenes, a powerful antioxidant which protects the body's cells against free radicals, as well as tons of vitamin A, which supports healthy vision and skin. They're also incredibely easy to julienne, producing delicious veggie pasta in no time.
Lentil pasta contains about 37 carbs per cup, not that much lower than traditional pasta, however it's gluten-free and packed with powerful nutrients that traditional pasta doesn't contain, such as plenty of powerful protein and fiber, that will keep you full for much longer than white pasta.
Spaghetti squash is one of the easiest vegetable substitutions for traditional noodles because it is so easy to prepare. Simply cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds, season with salt & pepper, then roast it in a 375-degree oven for about an hour. You'll know it's done when the flesh of the squash easily pulls away in strands.
These roasted squash ‘noodles’ can be used in warm or cold pasta dishes, topped with everything from a classic tomato sauce to a Thai peanut sauce and vegetables.
Soba noodles still contain a good amount of carbs, at about 24 g of carbs per cup, but that's still way less than traditional pasta, which contains around 42 g of carbs per cup. Plus, soba noodles are packed with nutrients that regular white pasta doesn't contain, such as tons of fiber, which means the carbs will be digested much more slowly, which will lead to fewer energy spikes.
Not only are beets a nutritious (they’re high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals) noodle substitution, they will also add vibrant color to any dish. The other great thing about beet noodles is that they are ideal for packing lunches, as they will not break down if you dress them the night before (they actually become more flavorful.)
You can either roast the beet noodles or leave them raw for a delicious salad. To roast them, simply place noodle-width strips of the beets on a lined baking sheet with a little oil, salt & pepper, then just pop them in a 425-degree oven for 5-10 minutes.
Shirataki noodles are a great pasta alternative if you're watching your carbs and calories. Made from glucomannan, a specific type of fiber, shirataki noodles contain only 20 calories per cup, with the same bite as traditional noodles. They generally come pre-cooked at the store-- simply warm them up with your favorite sauce or ingredients for a great low-cal pasta dish.