As you begin your low-carb journey, you’re probably preparing yourself to say farewell to pasta. From spaghetti and pasta salad to stir fry and soup, so many of our favorite dishes contain carb-heavy noodles. However, with a little help from a spiralizer and some veggies, you can transform your pasta dinner into a South Beach Diet-approved dish. So, hold your goodbyes and say hello to these creative low-carb alternatives that fit into your weight loss program.
Healthy Hint: After you read through this list of delicious low-carb noodle swaps, be sure to click the link below for eight delicious, low-carb pasta recipes!:
Get creative with these nine low-carb pasta swaps:
Net Carbs: 2.7 grams
When you think of vegetables that make great pasta swaps, the first one that probably comes to mind is zucchini. Zucchini noodles started the “zoodle” revolution that has become so popular today. Not only does it make a great noodle, it’s low in calories and carbohydrates. It’s also rich in antioxidants and supports digestion, heart and bone health, says Healthline. We recommend sautéing your zoodles in a skillet with a small amount of avocado oil to soften them up before serving. The mild flavor pairs perfectly with a variety of ingredients.
If you don’t have a spiralizer, cut your zucchini into thin sheets to make this Zucchini Lasagna >
2. Butternut Squash
Net Carbs: 13.2 grams
If you’re looking for a pasta swap that closely resembles the real thing, try spiralizing some butternut squash! This hearty noodle alternative has a bit more net carbs than the other options. However, it’s also loaded with nutritional value. According to Medical News Today, butternut squash is rich in vitamin A, C, E and potassium. If you have some net carbs to spare for the day, add a touch of sweetness to your meal plan with butternut squash.
Still have questions about net carbs? Click here for everything you need to know! >
Net Carbs: 5 grams
Meet your new favorite vegetable, jicama! If you’ve never had jicama before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its sweet, mild taste that’s similar to a pear, apple and potato. This root veggie is high in fiber, antioxidants and prebiotics that support healthy gut bacteria, says Medical News Today. Putting it through a spiralizer yields a crunchy, sweet pasta swap that’s perfect in salads and stir fry. It’s also great chopped and paired with a healthy dip like hummus or pesto.
Jicama adds fresh flavor to this Tropical Shrimp and Black Bean Salad >
4. Spaghetti Squash
Net Carbs: 5.5 grams
You don’t need a spiralizer to make this noodle swap! Spaghetti squash is natures pasta and probably our favorite option on this list. It’s easy to prepare and has the perfect taste and texture for pasta dinner recipes. Simply slice your squash in half, drizzle it with a little avocado oil and a sprinkle of garlic powder, then bake it face down at 400 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes. You can tell that it’s finished when you can easily scrape out the inside with a fork. We like to cook ours al dente so that it holds it shape when added to different dishes. Bake a couple of spaghetti squashes at a time to make your weekly meal prep a breeze!
Spice up your Meatless Monday menu with our Cheesy Southwest Spaghetti Squash >
5. Bell Peppers
Net Carbs: 7.4 grams
Though they’re not the perfect pasta shape, spiralized bell peppers can act as the base of a variety of healthy meal ideas. Throw them in a soup or stir fry to add big flavor with very little calories. According to Healthline, bell peppers are 92 percent water and provide high amounts of vitamin C. If you don’t feel like grabbing the spiralizer, you can easily slice your peppers very thinly for a similar affect.
Bell pepper strips add fiber and flavor to this Savory Shrimp Stir Fry >
Net Carbs: 2.3 grams
If you’ve ever had coleslaw, you know that cabbage stays crispy and crunchy when cut into thin, noodle-like strands. This nutrient-packed, non-starchy veggie comes in a variety of beautiful hues, such as purple, red, white and green, says Healthline. Enjoy it raw and add a touch of color to your soups and salads or sauté it with other spiralized veggies for a low-carb dinner. Coleslaw is also a perfect side dish to almost any lunch!
Did you know that cabbage is considered a bitter vegetable? Click the link below to find out why bitter is better!:
Net Carbs: 3.6 grams
Broccoli stalks are typically disposed of and thought of as waste. However, they’re jam packed with nutrients and perfect to throw in the spiralizer. According to Livestrong.com, broccoli stems are rich in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K, just like the flower! Turning broccoli stalks into noodles is the perfect way to utilize this underappreciated veggie.
Serve up your broccoli pasta with this Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry >
Net Carbs: 3.3 grams
Some pasta dishes are best served cold. Add a light, refreshing twist to your chilled lunch recipes with pretty spirals of raw cucumbers. Simply swap out the wheat-based noodles in any pasta salad with this versatile, non-starchy veggie. Enjoy the crisp, crunchy texture while loading up on antioxidants and vitamin K, says Healthline.
Add cucumber ribbons to our Zesty Shrimp and Celery Salad >
9. Shirataki Noodles
Net Carbs: 1.4 grams
Next time you head to the grocery store, keep your eye out for a bag of these low-calorie noodles. Healthline explains that shirataki noodles are made “from the root of the konjac plant.” They have a high water content yet are very low in calories and carbohydrates. The texture is very soft. However, the mild taste pairs well with any flavor you’re craving. Swap out spaghetti for this low-carb pasta swap in all of your favorite healthy recipes.
Use shirataki noodles in our Garlicky Shrimp “Pasta” >
Looking for something a bit meatier? Check out our tips for Healthy Low-Carb Grilling! >
*All calories and net carb data is derived from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Information is based on a one cup serving.