"Low-carb" doesn't mean "no noodles."
As the new year approaches and you start to map out your game plan for healthier living, there’s a good possibility things like less carbs, more whole ingredients, and, sadly, less pasta are on your list. And while you’re probably given noodle-shaped vegetables a try, chances are after a few weeks of churning out mounds of zoodles and stringy butternut squash, you’ll never want to look at a spiralizer again.
Luckily, many brands have hopped on the plant-based pasta bandwagon and created healthier boxed noodle alternatives that are both satisfying and nutritious. Whether your goal is to go completely gluten-free, or to get more protein-packed and vegetable-based ingredients into your diet, these creative options will fulfill your pasta cravings without majorly increasing in your carb count.
Chickpea pastas have experienced a surge in popularity since coming on the gluten-free scene in recent years, and as more cooks embrace this plant-based, protein-filled ingredient, the quality of store-bought products available nationally has gone through the roof. These pastas pair well with rich sauces, like Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce or Vodka Cream Sauce.
Banza assorted chickpea pastas - This popular pasta brand focuses on transforming the same legumes you use to make hummus into protein-packed noodles in a variety of shapes and sizes. Try the spaghetti, which is loaded with 25 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber, in addition to having half the carbs of traditional pasta. Or pick up one of their many other shapes, from Penne, to Rotini, to Mac and Cheese Elbows with White Cheddar.
Explore Cuisine Organic Chickpea Fusilli - For an alternate in the chickpea pasta market, try this veggie-forward pasta company’s fusilli, which rates high with customers and contains 11 grams of protein per serving.
These legumes are the ideal plant candidate for creating alternative pastas. When turned to flour form, lentils act similarly to grains, mimicking traditional pastas while staying gluten-free and packed with protein. These noodles work great al dente in cold pasta dishes like these healthy pasta salads under 300 calories.
POW! By Ancient Harvest Red Lentil Linguini - With 25 grams of protein per serving, this pasta made with a mix of red lentil and organic quinoa flours is a healthy and flavorful change of pace. Try the brand’s Red Lentil Rotini for your favorite pasta salad recipes.
Tolerant Green Lentil and Kale Penne – This allergen-friendly brand’s product contains a full serving of vegetables in each serving and will be right at home on your Italian inspired table.
Edamame Spaghetti –This organic pasta contains 24 grams of protein and is made with just one ingredient: edamame. In addition to being sodium free, this bean-based product is high in iron and contains half your recommended daily fiber intake in one serving. Try this pasta in Asian-inspired noodle dishes like Cashew Cream Pad Thai and Chili-Garlic Shrimp and Noodle Stir-Fry.
Almond Flour Pasta
Cappello’s Almond Flour Fettuccine – Though the price of this pasta is certainly high-end—due to the fact it has to be shipped overnight and kept frozen—this gluten, soy, grain, and dairy-free pasta is the closest you’ll get to mimicking traditional pasta and cooks in just 90 seconds or less, like any fresh wheat-based noodle. These noodles will work perfectly with your go-to Alfredo Sauce.
Black Bean Pasta
Explore Cuisine Back Bean Spaghetti – Naturally sodium free, rich in fiber and iron, and containing 25 grams of protein, this pasta made with 100% black beans will work best in simple but flavorful recipes like Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato-Caper Sauce.
For an alternate black bean spaghetti that cooks to an al dente texture in just 3-5 minutes, try Gold Harbor’s Organic Black Bean Spaghetti.
Thai Kitchen Rice Noodles – These traditional Asian noodles complete craveable recipes like Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken and this Rice Noodle Salad. Completely gluten-, fat-, egg-, and cholesterol-free, these 100% rice noodles are perfect for your Eastern noodle-based dishes.
Delallo Whole Grain Brown Rice Fusilli – For a rice noodle that will work well in your Italian recipes, try out this brown rice-based pasta, which is produced in Italy in a gluten-free dedicated facility, separate from Delallo’s traditional pastas, to ensure complete allergen safety.
Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa Pasta - With a texture similar to wheat-based pastas and a rich, nutty flavor, this organic brand’s super-grain pastas (available in a variety of shapes) will work wonders in hearty cold weather recipes like Pasta with Mushrooms and Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Sauce.
Sam Mills Pasta D’oro Fusilli - This gluten and cholesterol-free, low fat, and kosher pasta made from 100% GMO-free corn is popular with Celiac customers, as it has measured under five parts per million for traces of gluten. Though not particularly high in protein or low in carbs, this pasta will make a great alternative in satisfying recipes like Fusilli with Scallops and Peas.