3 Healthy (And Delicious) Alternatives to Pasta

Trust us: These veggie-centric substitutions will make carb cravings disappear.

While nothing can replace a buttery bowl of spaghetti, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy these pasta swaps. With very little prep, unassuming veggies become the star of the plate, leaving you feeling energized instead of overly-stuffed. Be creative with how you layer, fill, and top them—tomato sauce is just one of a variety of tasty options.

1

Spiralized Veggies

zucchini-noodles
Photo by Rocky89/Getty Images

Once you invest in a spiral vegetable slicer ($30, amazon.com), you can pretty much turn any veggie (and many fruits) into noodles, from beets and broccoli to pears and parsnips. The interchangeable blades let you tailor the noodles to your preference, whether you like ribbon-like pastas or angel-hair spaghettis. To prepare, simply swap in veggie noodles for spaghetti in your favorite pasta recipe—zoodles (zucchini noodles), for instance, taste great with everything from Bolognese to pesto. For a pasta salad, try spiralizing cucumbers and dressing with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  

 

2

Spaghetti Squash

As easy to cook as it is delicious, this veggie naturally bakes into buttery, noodle-like strands. To prepare, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Rub the cut sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place face down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 40-50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.  Use the squash as a serving bowl and fill with pasta sauce, or scoop out the noodles to create a casserole or side dish.  Craving Mexican? Treat the squash like a burrito bowl, and fill with black beans, shredded lettuce or cabbage, and avocado. 

3

Eggplant Lasagna Noodles

Cutting back on carbs doesn’t mean bidding farewell to lasagna. Tender, silky eggplant slices are a fantastic substitution for traditional noodles, and once they’re topped with cheese and sauce, you’ll never miss the pasta. We recommend this asiago and Parmesan variation, but you can substitute eggplant into most lasagna recipes—simply replace the noodles with the charred broiled eggplant. Not an eggplant fan? Try zucchini or summer squash.