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These low carb pasta options are just as delicious

Treat yourself with these low carb pasta alternatives

zucchini noodles
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We all love pasta. From the delicious bite to the flavorful sauces on top, pasta is a hearty go-to dinner option when we’re craving comfort food. However, as delicious as pasta is, it’s also extremely high in carbohydrates. Just one cup of cooked spaghetti is about 40 grams of carbs (and most of us are eating more than one helping). The carbohydrates in pasta are quickly broken down right after we eat pasta, causing a rise in blood sugar levels that can impair weight loss and cause more hunger.

If you’re looking to start a cut in time for summer or adhere to a low-carb diet, pasta is certainly not your friend. Yet this does not mean you have to ditch pasta entirely. These low carb pasta substitutes are perfect for staying on track with your diet goals while still enjoying a delicious dinner.

Zucchini noodles


Zucchini noodles are one of the best pasta alternatives thanks to their low-carb content and versatility. As a low carb pasta, zucchini absorbs the taste of the sauce and seasonings you put on it — making it an option for nearly any dinner recipe. Zucchini noodles have become so popular as a go-to food on the keto diet that they are often sold pre-spiralized in many grocery stores and available fresh or frozen.

Making your zucchini noodles is also super simple with a hand spiralizer or an electric spiralizer. Many spiralizers also offer different thickness settings, allowing you to create thick zucchini noodles or super thin noodles, based on your personal preferences. Just one cup of zucchini noodles contains only about 20 calories and about 2.5 net carbs.

Zucchini is high in fiber content too, which will help to keep you full. Since zucchini noodles are so low in carbs and calories, this high-volume food is perfect for eating a hearty portion. Zucchini noodles taste delicious pan-fried or raw. This low-carb pasta can be enjoyed with butter, olive oil, pesto sauce, or any other low-carb pasta sauce.

Hearts of palm pasta

Pasta carbonara
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Hearts of palm is a unique vegetable that is harvested from the inner core of palm trees. This veggie is similar to artichoke hearts or white asparagus and is extremely low in carbohydrates. The mild flavor combined with the low carb content makes hearts of palm a perfect substitute for pasta to make keto noodles.

Many brands offer hearts of palm in cans or pouches in common pasta shapes such as linguini or spaghetti. A 100-gram serving of hearts of palm pasta contains only 5 carbohydrates, 3 of which come from fiber. Not only do hearts of palm pasta make for great low-carb noodles, but they’re also a popular gluten-free pasta alternative since they are free of wheat.

Shirataki noodles

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Shirataki noodles are another keto pasta option made from Japanese konjac root. These thin noodles have an extremely high water content, made up of about 97% water. The rest of the composition of shirataki noodles is made of glucomannan fiber that is found in the root of the plant. These noodles have a different bite than traditional pasta and are translucent in appearance. While the rubbery or “slimy” texture may seem unappealing at first, these noodles lose their texture once cooked.

To cook shirataki noodles properly, they must be thoroughly rinsed under cold water before cooking. After double washing and straining, shiratiki noodles can be cooked on the pan over medium heat until the excess moisture evaporates. With only negligible calories and carbs, consuming shirataki noodles is a great substitute for traditional pasta while on a cut or diet.

Chickpea pasta

A close-up of roasted chickpeas.
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While not low enough in carbs for a traditional keto diet, chickpea pasta is still lower in carbs than traditional pasta. If you’re looking just to cut back on carbs a bit, chickpea pasta contains about 40% fewer net carbs than wheat pasta. Chickpea pasta is made from ground chickpeas which contain lots of protein and fiber.

This type of pasta comes in all different shapes and is boxed similarly to regular pasta. Since chickpeas are much lower on the glycemic index than wheat pasta, chickpea pasta is a great alternative for diabetics to still enjoy pasta without as much of a blood sugar spike. However, chickpea pasta still contains 30 to 35 grams of carbs per serving, making it a less attractive option for use as a keto pasta.

Trying low carb pasta alternatives

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Although no substitute will taste exactly like wheat pasta, these low-carb pasta alternatives deliver a delicious bite without the guilt. People on a keto diet can start by trying zucchini noodles, shirataki noodles, or hearts of palm pasta as a tasty carb alternative, while those on a moderately low-carb diet may prefer chickpea pasta. Try them all until you find your favorite!

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Emily Caldwell
Emily is a full time freelance writer with a special focus on health, fitness, lifestyle, food, and nutrition topics. She…
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