Switching to a low-carbohydrate diet doesn't necessarily require sacrificing flavorful Italian meals for bland alternatives. We already know that there are a ton of mouthwatering recipes that use zucchini, squash, and other delicious veggies in place of the traditional flour-made staple. If, however, you don't have the time to chop and spiralize your main ingredients, fear not: There's a low-carb pasta substitute for every type of dish.
Take note that many low-carb diets vary in their intake requirements.
For instance, the Atkins diet recommends eating less than 100 grams of carbs a day, while any diet is considered low in carbs if it falls under the Dietary Guidelines for Americans' recommendation to consume 130 grams of carbohydrates per day (or 45% to 65% of your total calories, based on a 2000 calorie diet).
In addition, not all carbs come in the form of white bread, fluffy pizza crusts, and other wheat products. The Harvard School of Public Health explains that beans and fruit are also sources of good carbohydrates, so keep that in mind before you decide to completely carve out carbs from your diet. With that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best pasta swaps that don't taste like cardboard—in fact, some even taste just as delicious (or better) than the real thing.
Below see seven low-carb pasta substitute brands worth trying.
Explore Cuisine is all about maintaining that filling, wholesome deliciousness that makes us crave pasta while also packing in plant-based protein and fiber. It's organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan. Intrigued? This Gather and Feast Mushroom, Walnut, and Lemon Spaghetti is the perfect recipe to complement the edamame flavor, and a healthy weeknight recipe to boot!
These are called "Miracle Noodles" for a reason. They literally have zero calories in them. Made from non-GMO ingredients, Miracle Noodles have less than one gram of carbohydrates and work with a variety of diets, including vegan, keto, paleo, and gluten-free. Try them with this Vegan Basil and Artichoke Shirataki Fettuccine Pasta by The Healthy Family and Home.
No, we did not just include these noodles because of their epic name, "Carba-Nada." Puns aside, these fettuccine-like noodles are fiber-rich, which means you'll be keeping your digestive system flowing. These are a favorite in the Weight Watchers community (a cup and a half are only 3 points!), and, bonus: they cook in three minutes. We'll be trying this Shrimp and Peas Fettuccine Alfredo ASAP.
If you love spiral pasta and want to cut back on the carb-heavy classic, opt for this low-carb option instead. It's only 100 calories per two ounces and is perfect for mac and cheese, cold pasta, casseroles, and more. Take it for a spin with Half Baked Harvest's Caprese Pesto Pasta Bake.
Thanks to this low-carb pasta alternative, you can have your spaghetti and eat it too. It's made with 50% fewer carbs than the average noodle. Plus, these noodles pack a punch with high protein and fiber. Try it with Pinch of Yum's Filipino Spaghetti recipe for extra fiber and no guilt.
These pasta shells are made of chickpeas instead of wheat, so they contain 25 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber, and about 50% fewer carbohydrates than the traditional variety in each serving. The rich, nutty flavor goes swimmingly with cheesy pasta recipes, like this Pasta Carbonara with Cabbage and Mushrooms.
This low carb pasta is free of dairy, grains, soy, and gluten, and is as buttery and silky as it is healthy. Plus, it cooks in 90 seconds, making it perfect for hangry evenings after work. Each serving size is about 290 calories and 31 carbs, which is ideal to balance out the rich, creamy sauce in this Tuscan Sausage Pasta by Salt + Lavender.
This red lentil pasta is made purely of legumes, and its health stats prove it. This plant-based protein keeps flavor high and carbs low—just the way we like it. Pair this flavorful pasta option with a creamy, sundried tomato garlic sauce on top, like Sprouting Zen to make a well-rounded and incredibly satiating dish. Major bonus: according to Barilla, legume crops are one of the most sustainable on earth.
Another winner in the bean pasta category! This black bean spaghetti from Explore Cuisine is loaded with 25 grams of plant-based proteins. The dark color makes it an invigorating change to the regular pasta routine and is perfectly suited as a low carb replacement for this Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes from Platings and Pairings.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The nutrition source: Carbohydrates.