Pasta is probably one of the hardest foods to give up if you’re trying to lose weight. However, it’s nearly always essential. Traditional pasta is packed with carbs (read: sugar), which we all know isn’t great for us in large amounts.
That’s why there has been a movement in recent years toward pasta substitutes. These seeming wonder foods range from foods manufactured into pasta to foods you can process to eat like pasta. Here’s a roundup of some of the most popular choices.
1. Shirataki noodles
Made from the same amazing yam as your konjac cleaning sponges, shirataki noodles are a popular choice for substituting into Asian recipes. Some people find their scent and texture off-putting, so it’s important to rinse them thoroughly and dry them completely before putting them in a dish. I’ve had the most success using them in soups.
2. Edamame noodles
Like noodles made from vegetables, edamame noodles might offer the most similar experience to eating regular pasta noodles. They’re also packed with protein (but your mileage may vary on this front with other veggie noodles). However, their carb count—usually around 10 net carbs—might be higher than you’re willing to “spend” on one meal.
Making noodles from zucchini is very easy to do. You can invest in a fancy spiralizer, but there are simpler tools that will do almost as good as job and that are available for less than $5. Once you’ve got your spirals, the key to making good zoodles is making sure you get all the moisture out. Admittedly, I’ve not had much luck making good zoodles, but you might have a better time. Truthfully, though, I’ve enjoyed noodles made from yellow squash more.
4. Spaghetti squash
And speaking of squash noodles, spaghetti squash is another veggie option you can make on your own. With these, all you have to do is pop them in the oven for at least 30 to 45 minutes on 400 degrees. Then you just scrape out the flesh for your noodles—no extra equipment required beyond a fork! You can slice the squash in half before you roast it, but these are tough veggies, so you can also roast it whole like I do. Then serve it like you would serve regular spaghetti.