Keto Pasta Substitutes
Discover these keto-friendly substitutes for pasta, some you might have never known existed!
When starting a low carb or keto diet, people often wonder how they can find replacements for some of their favourite high carb foods such as bread and pasta. Luckily, there are a lot of low carb options out there that mimic these foods so they can still be enjoyed despite any dietary restrictions! In this article, we focus on keto-friendly, low carb pasta substitutes. From low carb vegetables to reduced carb pasta products, there is a whole new world of possibilities to explore!
Below are explanations of different low carb pasta options, and recipes for you to get some inspiration as well. Don’t forget to browse our low carb foods store for ingredients to complete your low carb pasta meal!
Spiralized Vegetable Pasta
Spiralizing your veggies is a great way to mimic pasta noodles while lowering your carb count and raising your nutrient intake. Most vegetables should be spiralized raw so they don’t break apart easily. You can flash cook them once spiralized, so they soften and resemble more of the texture of cooked pasta noodles. But remember, they won’t take nearly as long to cook as dried pasta noodles.
Some of the best low carb vegetables to spiralize are zucchini, cucumber, fennel, red or green cabbage, bell peppers, kohlrabi, onions, turnips, carrots and beets. You could even combine a medley of vegetables to get a variety of nutrients and a beautiful plate of rainbow-coloured noodles! This is also a great way to find a balance between starchier vegetables and others that are lower in net carbs.
We love these recipes that incorporate spiralized vegetables:
- Mediterranean Zucchini Noodle Pasta
- Harvest Turnip Noodle Salad
- Veggie Noodle Pad Thai
- Keto Stir Fry with Cabbage Noodles
- Creamy Tuscan Zucchini Noodles with Sausage
Sprouts are another great vegetable substitute that can be used in place of pasta. Since they are naturally long and thin, they work well in dishes that typically use noodles of a similar length and shape.
Bean sprouts can be found in the produce aisle of your local grocery store or at an Asian food market. They are low in calories, high in essential vitamins and even contain some protein. The texture of sprouts adds a refreshing and slightly crunchy element to spicy, sweet or savoury dishes that makes for a great balance. Bean sprouts are traditionally found in Asian dishes such as Vietnamese pho, stir fry and Pad Thai. If you are making these meals, you could simply swap out the noodles for bean sprouts to make them low carb or keto compliant.
Always be sure to wash and sauté or blanch your bean sprouts in hot water before eating. Bean sprouts can carry the risk of bacterial contamination since they grow in moist, warm conditions, but these cooking methods should safely kill off germs.
You can also use lentil sprouts, pea sprouts, mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts and soybean sprouts. These options are great additions to your noodle dishes, but they can be less substantial-feeling compared to regular noodles. That said, they are powerhouses of nutrition and if you ever see them in season or on sale at your grocery store, pick up a pack to incorporate in delicious recipes such as these:
- Asian Bean Sprout Salad
- Thai Chicken Red Curry with Bean Sprout Noodles
- Low Calorie Shrimp and “Noodles”
- Bean Sprouts with Tofu
- Keto Chicken Pad Thai
Spaghetti Squash Noodles
Spaghetti squash is a low carb vegetable, despite what you might think! One cup has just 5-6g net carbs. Spaghetti squash is also easy to cook; simply cut in half and roast face-down on a baking sheet for about one hour. You can drizzle with oil and add seasoning to give it a bit more flavour. Once cooked, the insides of the squash become soft enough to be able to pull apart the stringy flesh until it resembles spaghetti noodles, hence the name! Then, you can top your squash with sauce and protein for a warm and hearty dish that satisfies pasta cravings.
Below, we’ve listed a few of our favourite spaghetti squash ideas for your inspiration.
- Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
- Low Carb Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi
- Spaghetti Squash Low Carb Taco Bowl
- Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bowl
Cabbage and Eggplant Pasta Alternatives
Both of these low carb and keto-friendly vegetables are great substitutes for large pasta noodles like lasagna. They are also more nutritious and can make a hearty dish like lasagna feel a bit lighter. A lot of the preparation can also be done beforehand, and the lasagna can be refrigerated or frozen for later.
To make lasagna using cabbage, simply tear off the leaves and use them instead of regular pasta noodles to make the layers of the lasagna. See this recipe for Cabbage Lasagna with three types of cheese and Italian sausage – sounds mouth-watering! We also found this recipe for Skillet Cabbage Lasagna, which allows for shorter cooking time and less dishes used in preparation.
For eggplant lasagna, slice the eggplant into thin rounds that you can use to layer the lasagna fillings. You can experiment with different thicknesses of eggplant slices and decide which one you like best depending on your preferences! More layers create visually stunning slices, while thicker slices might allow you to fit more fillings between the layers! It is completely personal to you how you decide to use these vegetables to create a new family favourite recipe. We suggest using this recipe for a basic guide on how to make Eggplant Lasagna.
Cauliflower Pasta Substitute
Cauliflower is a great substitute for things like rice, orzo, couscous and quinoa because it can easily be broken down into small pieces that resemble these little grains. Cauliflower is a great substitute in dishes with thick sauces such as stews and curries, because the cauliflower is able to soak up the delicious flavours! It is also great for things like fried rice and side dishes. Given its relatively bland taste, you can use it in a variety of recipes and get creative with spices, seasonings and sauces.
You can buy dry-riced cauliflower like this one from Keto and Co. Or, if you have a food processor at home, you can make your own. Simply wash and cut your cauliflower into chunks removing the stems and leaves and allow the food processor to do the rest of the work!
We hope these recipes inspire you to use more cauliflower in the kitchen:
- Keto Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice
- Roasted Shrimp and Cauliflower Salad
- Low Carb Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous
- Keto Moroccan Stew with Cauliflower
- Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice
Shirataki and Konjac Noodles
Shirataki and konjac noodles have become a huge hit in the low carb and keto diet world! These fibrous noodles are made from the konjac plant, native to East Asia. They have shown many benefits for people wanting to manage their blood sugar levels, cholesterol and lose weight due to their high fibre content, low calories and low glycemic index. People also report feeling fuller for longer periods of time after eating shirataki noodles, again thanks to all that fibre!
At The Low Carb Grocery, we have a wide variety of Shirataki Noodles and you can incorporate them just as you would in any of your favourite pasta and noodles dishes. Just follow the cooking instructions on the label because they cook differently than traditional pasta noodles.
Tofu noodles are usually made from a blend of shirataki noodles and tofu for a higher protein pasta alternative. Tofu has many essential nutrients and amino acids which are great to consume on a regular basis. Many people on low carb or keto diets often rule out vegetarian sources of protein; however, these can be a nice break from animal proteins, which tend to contain more unhealthy fats and get very expensive to consume regularly.
Seaweed or Kelp Noodles
One serving of kelp noodles has 2g net carbs and just 6 calories – making them a great low carb noodle replacement! In addition to being low carb and keto-friendly, kelp noodles are also high in vitamins and minerals from the sea. Kelp is the richest natural source of iodine, which can alleviate thyroid problems and also help with metabolism and weight loss.
Kelp noodles have a very crunchy texture, due to their high-water content. This is somewhat comparable to al dente pasta. They are mostly bland and will absorb the flavours you add. That said, they can taste slightly salty and bitter, but with thorough rinsing, this can be minimized. Plus, once they have been rinsed, they don’t require any further preparation! You can quickly sauté them with vegetables, protein and sauce or serve them cold in a salad. They also work great in stir fries, broth-based soups and casseroles.
Check out our selection of kelp noodles.
Here are also some recipes to help get you inspired to start cooking with kelp and seaweed noodles:
- Pesto Kelp Noodles
- Kelp Noodle Beef Soup
- Summer Kelp Noodle Salad
- Keto Sesame Chicken Kelp Noodles
- Vegan Keto Kelp Noodle Tofu Bowl
Explore Traditional Pasta Alternatives
We hope that you enjoyed learning about these low carb pasta alternatives and are excited to start experimenting in the kitchen! If you try any of the recipes or from this article, we’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook or Instagram. We also connect with customers with our Weekly Newsletters where we share updates on the latest products and special sales.
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