Low carb, paleo, and gluten free diets are becoming more and more popular and whether you follow these diets yourself or are just trying to cut calories (or please a dinner guest), having some good low carb pasta options up your sleeve is a win-win. Personally, I often opt for these low carb pastas instead of traditional pastas, or replace half of the regular pasta with a lower calorie alternative. What are your favorite low carb, Paleo, and gluten free pasta?
1. Spaghetti Squash, 0 PointsPlus, 20 calories
Perhaps the most loved alternative to pasta is spaghetti squash (or at least mine). Spaghetti squash is a consistently great substitute. Even better, it can be microwaved and ready in the same time as traditional pasta. Pierce it all over with a fork and place it on a microwave safe plate. Zap it for 10-12 minutes until it feels soft to the touch. Carefully cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and shred with a fork. Top with any of your favorite pasta sauces. One more tip, don’t be afraid to use spaghetti squash in cold pasta preparations. Just add a touch of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together.
2. Zucchini Noodles, 0 PointsPlus, 20 calories
Lately I have really started to love zucchini noodles. They have a but more bite than spaghetti squash and taste really delicious with any tomato or cheese based sauces. There are three common ways to make them. First, you can just cut them really finely into strips if you have a really sharp knife. Secondly, you can use a mandoline to get really fine slices. Thirdly, you could use a product specifically designed for “veggie noodles” like this spiral slicer or this veggie noodle peeler. Also feel free to substitute zucchini here for summer squash, Japanese eggplant, or even carrots.
3. Kelp Noodles, 0 PointsPlus, 7 calories per serving
These are my favorite new low carb noodles on the market. They are made with kelp (as opposed to yam or tofu) and have a much milder smell and taste than the other low carb refrigerated noodles out there. They are basically clear and have 7 calories per serving or 28 for the whole bag. I find they make a delicious replacement in most Asian noodle dishes and I also really love them in soups. I have also found that these noodles work really well in cold preparations. Just make sure to rinse them, quickly parboil them to soften them up, and cut them into smaller pieces so they don’t get too tangled.
4. Shirataki Noodles, 0 PointsPlus, 20 calories per serving
Honestly, these are not my personal favorite low carb / paleo pasta, but I know so many people who love them it seemed smart to include them. These noodles come in all shapes and sizes and can actually be found in most main stream supermarkets these days. They are usually kept with the tofu and vegetarian refrigerated items. It is very important to wash these noodles well and then cook them for a couple of minutes to eliminate some of the “fishy” smell. (They contain no fish, just smell sort of fishy.) From there they can be used in almost any dish that calls for pasta. In case you are wondering why I don’t love these it’s the texture. They are a little too gummy for me, but again, I know tons of people who swear by them.
5. Tofu Noodles, 0 PointsPlus, 14 calories
The newest low carb noodle on the market are noodles made of tofu. These noodles used to only be available in Asian markets but have started to pop up in more places. Different from the traditional shirataki noodles made of yam, these noodles are made of tofu. To ensure they are low carb, look for one that is made almost completely of tofu. House Foods, the brand behind Shiratki, just began making tofu versions of noodles as well. I personally like these better than the yam noodles. They work great in Asian stir-frys, soups, and pasta dishes.