Okay, let's get one thing straight. I love pasta. Who doesn't? Oh, I know. People who are trying to keep their carb and calorie intake in check. Seriously, why do the best things in life have to be brimming with those hard-to-manage little things called calories? I guess because the best things in life generally fall into the "delicious food" category. Sigh.
In order to feed my pasta-loving soul, maintain my calorie intake, and nourish my body with veggies, I turn to these alternatives. From spaghetti squash, to zoodles, to swoodles, and more, I honestly can't get enough. They're so incredibly satisfying, and for the most part (ahem, spaghetti squash) take next-to-no time to whip up. Not that traditional pasta is difficult or very time consuming, but after making them so many times, I can actually make my favorite veggie noodles faster than I can boil water and cook traditional pasta. So, grab one of these veggies, invest in a spiralizer (seriously), get twirling, and dig into these low-carb, high-nutrient alternatives.
Warning: Once you swirl into the veggie noodles you may never go back to traditional pasta.
If you are a lover of lasagna, then this dish is right up your alley. Don't be fooled by the lack of actual noodles. These lasagna boats are incredibly hearty and filling because of how fibrous the "noodles" are. That's one of the best aspects about swapping out traditional noodles for veggie ones. Spaghetti squash takes the longest amount of time to prepare of the veggie noodle alternatives. It can take up to an hour, but it's so worth it. You can either cook it in the oven on 350° for about 50 minutes, or pop it in the slow cooker for about 4 hours.
Zoodles are the mildest tasting, and the fastest cooking of the veggie alts, which makes them a great option for a quick and easy side or base for a main. They're also the lightest when it comes to calories, so make sure to pair with something a little heartier like chicken parmesan or salmon. I especially love Zoodles because you can enjoy them completely raw tossed in a simple vinaigrette (like a pasta salad) or a rich avocado cream sauce.
Sweet potato noodles are a wonderful addition to your weeknight routine, especially given that they cook up much faster than a traditional baked sweet potato. Pair them with Brussels sprouts and shrimp, then toss them in an almond butter Thai dressing for a comforting fall dish that's packed with good-for-you nutrients.
The fun just keeps going. Beets, yes beets, and butternut squash are two of my other favorite veggies that can be transformed into noodles. They taste wonderful and bring a gorgeous pop of color to your dining room table. You don't even need to turn on the stove for these. Just pop them in the microwave and nuke them for a few minutes to help them soften them up.
Here's a no-cook version of veggie noodles that only gets better with time. This dish uses zucchini and carrots to help you enjoy a creamy Pad Thai for less than 330 calories. That's pretty amazing by me considering some restaurant Pad Thai dishes can be triple that amount. Don't think you'll be disappointed or feel like you're eating a "diet" Pad Thai either. This dish is five-star rated and full of that creamy, comforting goodness we all love.