Healthy Pasta Substitutes

Who doesn't love pasta?? But we don't always want the refined carbs that come with it. Here are some easy low carb, low calorie options you can cook yourself and still get your pasta fix.

  1. Zucchini & Summer Squash Noodles: You can spiralize your own or find them already spiralized for you at Whole Foods. You can also use other vegetables like carrots or beets. I've found the best way to cook them is to place the noodles on a baking sheet, spray with avocado oil and bake @ 400 for 7 or 8 minutes. Perfect side dish with any protein of your choice!
  2. Kelp Noodles: These are derived from brown seaweed so they're high in minerals and very low in calorie, are gluten and grain free, and have a nice, crunchy texture. You can use any brand - the key is to rinse them off. For a kelp noodle salad, I add olive oil, Braggs organic apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, chopped cabbage, and broccoli & carrot "slaw" (which I found already made at Whole Foods!).
  3. Cauliflower Rice: You can make your own in a food processor or find it frozen like the 365 brand at Whole Foods or at Trader Joe's. Add it frozen to a pan and sauté it until it's cooked - it's that simple!
  4. Better Than Rice: This is made from organic konnyaku flour, which is from the root of the Japanese organic plant konjac. It's great if you need a gluten-free, grain-free option. The whole package is only 45 calories and you get 12 grams of fiber! To prepare: drain, rinse and then dry fry it. Dry fry is just a technique where you cook in a non-stick pan.
  5. Dried Shirataki Noodles and Rice: Also derived from the konjac, these are very low in calorie and very high in fiber and taste great! The Japan Gold USA brand, which can be found in the pasta section at Whole Foods and on Amazon, comes dried and all you do is cook the noodles in simmering hot water for 5 minutes and drain (the rice is 10 min). These are my new favorite - no aftertaste and so easy!
  6. Tofu Shiratake Noodles: These are also derived from the Japanese root vegetable and can be found in the produce section at health food markets. Great to make chicken "noodle" soup: Drain and rinse the Tofu Shirataki noodles and then add them to chicken bone broth (Kettle & Fire makes a good one and you get extra protein from using bone broth) with chicken, carrots, celery and any veggies you want!
  7. Miracle Noodle Kitchen: They have ready-to-eat meals that are already flavored and just need to be heated and served. There are a few different varieties, including tom yum and green curry.

For more on my favorite pasta substitutes and preparations, check out the video below:

Heather Bauer

Heather Bauer is a nationally recognized nutrition expert, author, and entrepreneur.

She brings her fresh and inspiring approach to diet to prime time spots on Good Morning America, CNN, CBS, The Talk, Access Hollywood Live and The Tyra Banks Show. And she's featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and People Magazine. 

Heather is the author of two best-selling nutrition and diet books, The Wall Street Diet and Bread is the Devil, and has regular columns on The Huffington Post and USNews where she writes about the latest trends.

She is the founder of Bestowed, the leading product discovery platform for health-conscious consumers, and has an active nutrition counseling practice in NYC, which she founded in 2001.

Heather is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN). She graduated from The University of Wisconsin with honors and is a member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA).