Whether you’re ditching the carbs or merely looking to avoid the occasional post-pasta crash, you’re lucky there are so many healthy pasta alternatives out there.
It’s not often that we see the words “healthy” and “pasta” in the same sentence, but the following options will prove that they can be a perfect match.
Oodles of Zoodles
Zoodles or zucchini noodles are a popular and simple way of making your own wheat and gluten-free noodles. You can even make them at home by using a spiralizer. Simply fit the zucchini into the spiralizer and wind away! You’ll have spaghetti-like zoodles in no time.
Because zucchini are naturally high in water content, don’t want to cook them long or they’ll become mushy. You can make a Grecian-style raw zoodle salad by adding some chopped black olives, ripe tomato segments, a generous crumble of feta and a drizzle of olive oil.
If you prefer a warm dish, a quick sauté is the best way to go. Try chopped button mushrooms and garlic or a lemony-fresh sizzling shrimp with parsley. Simply cook up your topping of choice and add the zoodles for at the last minute — giving them just enough time to warm through and combine all the flavors.
Spaghetti Squash — It’s in the Name!
Another popular healthy pasta option is the plant-based and appropriately titled spaghetti squash. This vegetable got its name from the fact that once baked, you can easily pull the separated strands from the squash using nothing more than a fork.
Simply cut the squash length-wise and bake it with the cut side down for about an hour. Once it’s cooked, let it cool and then scrape out the insides with a fork. You’ll wind up with tasty, pasta-like strands These will be very delicate, even more so than the zoodles, so you should only add them to a light sauce.
We’re not always going to have the time to make fresh pasta alternatives, and thankfully there are a lot of gluten-free options on the market. The most popular alternatives are rice, corn, quinoa, amaranth and chick peas.
When browsing at the grocery store, try to find a pasta made with a combination of ingredients. Using just one ingredient can leave too much of one particular flavor, and sometimes makes it difficult to achieve a nice al dente consistency. Corn pasta, for instance, can very easily go mushy if cooked for too long.
Feast from the East
Another firm favorite is the mung bean-based “glass noodle” often found in Korean japchae and other wok-based dishes. These are perfect for the quick, intense heat of wok cooking, and are delicious when paired with a soy sauce spiked stir-fry of julienned carrots, zucchini, bell peppers and broccoli florets.
Giving up gluten doesn’t mean giving up flavor— there’s a world of options waiting to be cooked, sautéed and baked out there!