Let’s be honest, who wants to live without pasta?? It is delicious, versatile and so easy to make! But, with pasta comes with a price. Pasta is calorie-loaded. I looked at a few pasta boxes in the grocery store the other day and I found that just ONE CUP of cooked pasta (depending on the pasta of course), had about 155-190 calories, comprised of almost 40 grams of processed carbohydrates. And that is just ONE CUP, without sauce and additional toppings. And who can honestly say they are satisfied with eating just one cup of pasta?
10 years ago, I began my health journey and went completely gluten-free. This opened the doors to endless opportunities of gluten-free pasta options. I wanted to be able to eat my favorite foods without compromising my health. So, to eat my favorite foods and keep my calorie, carb and processed-food count down, I started experimenting with different vegetable-based pastas. The results I saw in my own health inspired me to learn more and help others as well! So, I have taken my experience and knowledge in what I call “pasta-less pasta” and compiled it all in this awesome blog post to help you make healthier, guilt-free pasta dishes in your own kitchen!
Without further ado, here are my favorite pasta-less pastas!!
1. Hearts of Palm Pasta
Hearts of palm pasta is, without a doubt, my favorite pasta-less pasta (a picture of my pesto pasta in the image to the right using Hearts of Palm Pasta)! Hearts of palm is a vegetable that is harvested from the inner core of certain palm trees. You can find this “pasta” sold in bags, boxes and cans. Aside from being so versatile, tasty and similar to actual pasta, what I really love about them is their calorie content. There are only 20 calories PER SERVING. You can eat an entire container of hearts of palm “pasta” for only 60 calories. AMAZING! These are my “go to” for pretty much all of my pasta dishes. I use them especially in my spaghetti, Alfredo and pesto dishes. My favorite brand, Natural Heaven, even makes lasagna noodles out of them as well!
Where to buy: I have found hearts of palm pasta in cans and in bags at Walmart and Publix. They are also often sold at health food stores, and of course, on Amazon!
2. Kelp Noodles
If you haven’t heard of kelp noodles, now is the time! Kelp noodles are semi-transparent noodles made from edible kelp. They have a texture similar to sweet potato glass noodles but have more nutritional value. An article by Very Well Fit discusses their nutritional value, highlighting them to be a great source of iodine, calcium and iron, with only 6 calories per 4 ounces. Impressive!!
Where to buy: I have only found kelp noodles online. Many online health stores have them, as well as Amazon!
3. Sweet Potato Noodle Glass Noodles!
Sweet potato glass noodles are another one of my favorites! Personally, I use these noodles for all types of pasta dishes. I have had success with using them in my Japchae, Pad Thai, Curry, Vegan Alfredo and Spaghetti recipes, and they all turned out so delicious! However, because of their gelatinous consistency, most of my clients find that they work best in Asian cuisines and Buddha Bowls.
Where to buy: You can find these noodles on Amazon, or at World Market. They make a lot, so a 12-oz bag should last you a couple meals, depending on how many people you’re feeding.
4. Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are another one of my favorites! Shirataki noodles are traditional Japanese translucent noodles that come from the Konjac Yam. And if you’re wondering what the heck that is, the Konjac Yam is a Japanese root vegetable! My favorite brand, Nasoya, sells these in both spaghetti and fettuccini form. I have used both types to make spaghetti, my homemade vegan mac n cheese (pictured on the right, and vegan Alfredo and had great success with all of them! One of the biggest selling points with this pasta is the calorie count. There are only 15 calories per serving; only 30 calories for an entire bag of the Nasoya brand. That’s pretty impressive, if you ask me! I will be honest though, because of their gelatinous consistency, they are not for everyone. With that said, I have had a lot of success with them and I highly recommend giving them a try. What do you have to lose??
Where to buy: I have found these noodles at Walmart and Publix, and as always, you can order on Amazon as well!
5. Last but not least, spaghetti squash and spiralized zucchini/yellow squash!
Spaghetti squash and spiralizing zucchini/yellow squash is another favorites of mine! This is the least processed version with the most fiber, as it comes directly from the vegetable itself! The only downside is that it requires a little more prep time, but the added fiber (you’ll get full fast), the taste and the sweet crunch of the noodles makes it all worth it! The spaghetti squash can be made by baking and using a fork to peal out noodles from the inside of the squash. To spiralize zucchini and yellow squash, simply purchase a spiralizer (which can be found in most stores like Walmart and Target and online) and spiralize them as you go!
I hope this article has opened your eyes to the endless possibilities of still being able to eat your favorite foods, without the added processed calories! Healthy eating does not have to come at the expense of taste, and that is what I am here to teach you!
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Happy healthy eating! God bless!