Spiralized vegetables, seaweed, and bean sprouts are low-carb alternatives to pasta. These substitutes have the added benefits of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Some people choose to avoid pasta because it is high in carbohydrates or because it contains gluten. Others find that pasta makes them feel bloated or tired.

Overeating pasta can lead to weight gain. While whole-grain pasta contains fiber, white pasta is a refined carbohydrate that raises blood sugar quickly.

This article lists various pasta alternatives and their nutritional content. It also discusses how to prepare and use them.

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People can either spiralize zucchini or use a peeler to cut it into ribbons. Leaving the skin on adds fiber, but people should wash it first. Eat the raw or lightly steamed zucchini noodles with a tomato-based sauce.

Zucchini noodles have become a popular replacement for spaghetti for those who prefer a low-carb meal. With 2.7 to 3.5 g carbohydrates per 100 g serving, zucchini contains less than 10% of the calories in regular pasta.

A spiralizer makes carrot noodles that a person can eat raw or lightly steamed, with a favorite pasta sauce. Pulsing walnuts and nutritional yeast together to resemble Parmesan cheese can make a nutritious, tasty topping for the sauce. It would be suitable for vegan diets, too.

Carrots contain 9.58 g of carbohydrates per 100 g and are an excellent source of beta carotene and fiber.

Learn more about the health benefits of carrots.

Butternut squash slices are a low-carb replacement for traditional lasagna sheets. The butternut squash can be sliced thin and baked in a dish with lasagna sauces.

Baked butternut squash has a third of the carbohydrates of regular pasta. This pasta alternative has the extra benefits of beta carotene and vitamin C.

Learn more about butternut squash.

Spaghetti squash, as its name suggests, is an excellent substitute for spaghetti. People can bake or boil the squash and then use a fork to separate the flesh into spaghetti-like strands. They can top the squash with a sauce or a dressing of olive oil, and use fresh herbs such as basil or parsley.

One cup of cooked spaghetti squash contains 9.7 g of carbohydrates. Spaghetti squash is also a source of fiber, calcium, and vitamin A.

Sliced, raw eggplant can replace pasta in a lasagna meal. The eggplant will bake with the sauce and absorb the flavors. Alternatively, a person can roast slices of eggplant in olive oil before using them to layer the lasagna.

Eggplant is a low-carb alternative to regular lasagna sheets, with 8.73 g of carbohydrates per 100 g.

Learn about eggplant’s health benefits.

Shirataki noodles are long white noodles made from a vegetable that comes from the konjac root. Other names for the noodles are konjac noodles or “miracle” noodles.

Rinsed noodles are easy to cook. Just add them to a heated skillet for several minutes. The noodles work well with Asian recipes or with pasta sauce.

Although some brands contain tofu or yam flour, the main ingredient in shirataki noodles is a fiber called glucomannan. A 2018 study suggests that glucomannan extract given to patients as part of a healthy diet that includes exercise may help some people lose weight. However, research into glucomannan is inconclusive, and there is no evidence that shirataki noodles help people lose weight.

Research is ongoing for other health benefits related to glucomannan fiber, such as reducing cholesterol and blood pressure.

Shirataki noodles contain 2.68 g of carbohydrates per 100 g and make a low-carb alternative to pasta.

Kelp is a seaweed or sea vegetable that some manufacturers make into noodles. People can use rinsed kelp noodles raw, as there is no need to cook them. Some brands sell kelp noodles with additional ingredients such as green tea or other sea vegetables.

Kelp contains 9.57 g of carbohydrates per 100 g and is a source of minerals, including calcium, iodine, and magnesium.

Learn more about the health benefits of seaweed.

A person can serve sliced and steamed green cabbage with pasta sauce as an alternative to pasta that is lower in carbohydrates. People can also use a whole steamed cabbage leaf to wrap a protein source such as cooked beef, or soy and minced onion, and top it with a tomato sauce.

A cup of cooked cabbage contains 9.03 g of carbohydrates, compared with a cup of pasta shells at 32.4 g. Cabbage is also a good source of beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C.

Learn more about the health benefits of cabbage.

Cauliflower can replace pasta in a dish that calls for rice or couscous. A person can grate or chop the cauliflower by hand, or use a food processor. Lightly steam or stir-fry the cauliflower, then add vegetables and spices. People can also use cauliflower to make a pizza base and add a tomato topping. Frozen cauliflower products that are ready to steam or microwave can replace rice, couscous, or pizza crust in recipes.

There are 5.16 g of carbohydrates in 100 g of fresh cauliflower, 84% less than in regular pasta. Cauliflower also contains beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C, calcium, and folate. Cauliflower is part of the brassica family, which contain sulfur compounds that research suggests are beneficial to health.

Learn everything you need to know about cauliflower.

People can grow sprouts from raw mung beans or buy them from a grocery store. They should be stored in a refrigerator.

Occasionally, sprouts may cause illness, although a study from 1996 to 2016 attributed most outbreaks to alfalfa sprouts. Other sprouts in the study included sprouted chia powder, clover, and mung beans. The three most common pathogens were Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Listeria.

Mung bean sprouts are low in carbohydrates and contain only 5.88 g of carbs per 100 g.

They have the additional benefit of containing vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. They work well in Asian recipes.

Learn more about the health benefits of mung beans.

People can use vegetables such as spaghetti squash, zucchini, and cabbage in place of regular pasta. They can also use kelp noodles or bean sprouts. These low-carb substitutes have additional beneficial nutrients and fiber, which may help to balance a person’s blood glucose.

Using pasta alternatives allows people who choose low-carb diets or those who are intolerant to gluten to enjoy their favorite recipes. The alternatives are often easy to prepare, and some are suitable for dishes such as spaghetti Bolognese and lasagna.