Top 5 Awesome Low-Carb Pasta Substitutes

By on March 10, 2015
Spaghetti squash

You’re serious about sticking to a low-carb diet to increase your energy, lose weight, and improve your health. Or maybe you’re contemplating switching to a low-carb lifestyle, but you notice your old habits tend to die hard, such as your love for all things pasta. You’re in luck. There’s no reason to give up delicious Italian dishes completely. With pasta substitutes, you can stick to your low-carb diet and still enjoy those mouth-watering dishes. They may look and feel a little different, but they’ll taste good and keep you on track to better health.

To feel your best and still enjoy your favorite pasta dishes, consider these low-carb pasta substitutes when whipping up your next Italian meal for yourself or your loved ones.

Low-Carb Pasta

Of course, nothing can really replace pasta, except for pasta. And the best alternative is a low-carb pasta that looks, tastes, and has the mouthfeel of the real thing. Low-carb pasta varieties like the Al-dente Carba Nada Basil Fettucine will ravish your taste buds with flavor and appeal to an on-the-go lifestyle. If you’re rushed for time, try a delicious low-carb substitute like this filled with the flavor you want without all the carbs like regular pasta.

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Top with rich sauces, add veggies for added nutrients and you’ll have a delicious low-carb pasta dish without the guilt. It might even feel like you’re cheating on your diet, but you’ll know the real secret. Chances are, your friends and family won’t realize your little secret either!

Spaghetti Squash

With a name like that, how can you go wrong? This oblong winter squash truly looks like spaghetti noodles once you cook it. Not only is this lovely yellow squash low-carb, but it’s also low in calories and packed with essential nutrients like beta-carotene, Vitamin A, folic acid, and potassium.

To prepare it, use a sharp knife to cut the oblong squash head to tail. Once you have two halves, scoop out the seeds and place both sides of the squash face down in a baking dish. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan to create steam (optionally cover with foil to help the steaming process along) and bake the squash at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Feel free to test the squash with a fork to verify it’s tender and ready to eat.

Once you take the squash out of the oven, flip over both halves and gently scrape the squash flesh from the peel by using a fork. This will create yellow strands that look just like spaghetti noodles. If you rake your fork in the same direction as the strands, you’ll create the longest “noodles” for your spaghetti dish.

This squash can be seasoned with butter or olive oil and seasonings, but tends to have a mild flavor and isn’t something you’d serve on its own. It’s best served with a delicious marinara sauce to make your spaghetti meal complete.


This wonderful green vegetable is also low in carbs and calories and packed with nutrients and vitamins a healthy body needs, like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and potassium. Fortunately, this delicious summer squash is available year-round and has become a favorite for pasta substitutes because of its versatility, flavor, and multiple uses.

Not only can you slice it thin for homemade lasagna, but you can also shred it for noodle-like pasta dishes topped with marinara or other rich sauces.

Chances are you won’t even miss the noodles in a savory meat-and-cheese lasagna when this green machine replaces them. With two or three thinly sliced zucchini, you can replace the normal noodles in lasagna and have a low-carb meal that will keep you coming back for more.


Vibrant, purple and hard to mistake, this vegetable offers another great option for a low-carb pasta substitute. Similar to zucchini, when sliced thinly this gem can create delicious lasagnas or can be cut into strips and sauteed in place of noodles.

Since eggplant can tend to have a naturally bitter taste, it’s recommended that before making noodles you peel the eggplant of its outer purple layer, cut into quarter-inch slices and evenly coat with kosher salt while laying on a rack for 30 minutes.

After the moisture is drawn out, rinse the eggplant pieces with water to remove the salt and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut into thin strips that resemble pasta and sauté on medium-high heat in oil and spices for 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, marinara, or cream sauces and sauté an additional 3 minutes. Serve immediately and piping hot.

Voila. A pasta dish low in carbs and calories, bursting with flavor.

Kelp Noodles

Thankfully you don’t have to forage through the ocean for these babies. Kelp noodles are often raw and made from kelp (a brown seaweed), a salt derived from seaweed, and water.

These noodles of the sea are also high in more than 70 minerals, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Low in carbs and calories, you can find kelp noodles online or in Asian grocery stores as a great substitute for Asian noodle recipes or to add to soups.

Easy to prepare and versatile, these noodles contain the very little flavor of their own, so they easily soak in the flavors of your favorite sauces. They have a mildly crunchy texture which may be similar to an al dente pasta. You might even forget it’s not pasta. 

Being on a low-carb diet doesn’t mean you’re banished from eating pasta ever again. Thankfully there are a number of great substitutes and varieties that can satisfy your pasta appetite in a much healthier way while keeping you on track.

Do you have a favorite low-carb pasta substitute? Let us know, we’d love to expand our tastes!

Elyssa Blissenbach, M.D., is a Board Certified Internist who has practiced medicine for more than 15 years. She is the founder of Blissful Wellness, a medically supervised weight loss clinic within her practice to help patients safely lose weight. She also offers low-carbohydrate food products online at 


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Top 5 Awesome Low-Carb Pasta Substitutes