Pasta is a staple in people’s kitchen. No surprise, as it is relatively easier to cook, plus there is a multitude of recipes where you can cook them, with each satisfying your taste buds and appetite at any given time. However, it’s a guilty pleasure as pasta doesn’t have much health benefits and load your body with carbs instead, more than what your body needs. Fortunately, there now lots of alternatives to traditional spaghetti noodles and pasta. Ahead are some of the healthier substitutes you can use without sacrificing the taste of the best pasta dishes you love.
Asian Rice Noodles
Ranking second rice in the most common rice-products in Asia, rice noodles are packed with zinc, iron, and fiber. Though regular pasta may bestow more benefits, rice noodles’ advantage is that it doesn’t have gluten, perfect if you have kids who have Celiac disease or are gluten sensitive. Same with cellophane noodles, rice noodles are pretty versatile, thanks to the mild flavor. Just make sure to monitor them meticulously while cooking to avoid them from getting soggy.
Fondly called zoodles, Zucchini pasta is brimmed with lots of essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, C, K and B6, copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, protein, and riboflavin. Adding to that, it is low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium, making it a genuinely healthy pasta alternative. You can purchase pre-made zoodles at the grocery store or make them yourself fresh at home using a vegetable spiralizer. It has a distinct taste, which complements anything from topping, sauces to bakes. Thus, you can make it creamy, give it an Asian kick, or turn it into a noodle skillet – all of which will please your appetite.
Same with zoodles, Squash pasta is another nutrient-packed substitute, which contains fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Once cooked, its yellow-orange flesh separates into delicious strands that greatly resembles pasta. With its starchy, neutral flavor blending with various sauces, you can use squash noodles in a lot of delicious recipes and a variety of cooking methods.
Black Bean Noodles
As its name suggests, black bean pasta is black, which can be visually-unappealing, especially for kids. Despite that, it’s rich in fiber, protein, calcium, iron and is gluten-free, which undoubtedly makes it’s hard to miss if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to regular pasta. Plus, it boasts an earthier kick that goes deliciously great with yummy, rich sauces, perfect for your well-loved pasta plates.
Made from quinoa seeds, quinoa pasta is a gluten-free and low-calorie option, renowned for its closest resemblance to traditional pasta in terms of taste, texture, and versatility. It also has tons of nutrients it provides, such as calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and B-vitamins, making it an easy choice for a healthier pasta substitute. You can cook it like regular pasta, add in spinach and tomatoes, or turn it into a pasta salad – just make sure you won’t overcook them to avoid a sticky mess.
Shirataki noodles may have Asian origins but are now making waves in the West. It comes in different varieties, from macaroni, fettucini, angel hair to spaghetti. However, what people relish the most about shirataki noodles is that they are virtually carb and calorie-free. Unlike other pasta, it is sold in a package with liquid, and you can usually find it in the supermarket on the aisle alongside tofu. To cook, all you need to do is drain the liquid, rinse the noodles off, and add richer sauces for a quick pasta dish.
Hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun, Soba noodles are 100% made of buckwheat flour, which possesses a nuttier taste than regular pasta. These Japanese noodles are rich in protein, with a quarter cup already providing 6-8 grams of the macronutrient, pretty remarkable for pasta. You can serve it hot in soups or cold with a yummy, rich sauce.
High in fiber and protein and gluten-free, Lentil noodles are made of (you know for sure) – lentils! Ingredients include chickpeas, black beans, and other beans or legumes. You can cook lentil noodles by placing them on a pot boiling water until it is al dente. Then, add butter garlic sauce, marinara sauce, or a creamy cheese sauce, whichever can satisfy your palate.
With these alternatives, eating pasta can now be made a healthier feat. What’s even great is that these pasta substitutes are easy and fun to make or are available in pre-made or packages options. That way, there’s no reason not to switch for healthier pasta meals!