Ultimate Guide to Pasta Substitutes
There are many reasons to avoid eating traditional pasta. It is highly processed, and therefore, not all that nutritious. In a world where many people are trying to get back to whole grains, traditional pasta doesn’t fit in very well. Pasta is also a medium-glycemic food that can only be eaten in small amounts by diabetics and those who have sensitive blood sugar. Too, many people find that pasta, even eaten in small quantities, makes them gain weight. But do you have to omit pasta entirely from your diet?
There are lots of good alternatives out there, and most can be used in your favorite pasta recipes.
What is Vegetable Pasta?
No, I don’t mean store bought pastas made with white flour and some vegetables. I mean using vegetables as a substitute for pasta. For example, zucchini is a great alternative to white flour pasta. Just cut it into whatever shape you desire, boil for about a minute, blanche in ice water, and add whatever sauce you’d normally use for traditional pasta. For dishes such as lasagna, you don’t need to pre-cook the zucchini. Slice the vegetable lengthwise, layer in a lasagna dish, and bake as you normally would.
Then there’s spaghetti squash. Cut the vegetable in half and bake (rind side up) for about 30 to 40 minutes in a 375 F. oven. Run a fork through the meat of the cooked squash, which creates spaghetti-like strands. Add spaghetti sauce. You may also bake the squash whole. First, in several places, pierce the skin with a knife, then bake for around an hour at 375 F.
Cabbage may also be used as a substitute for pasta. Cut it in strips and boil with a little cream to remove the cabbage flavor.
What are Whole Wheat and Multi Grain Pasta?
Everyone should at least try whole wheat pasta. Some people like it, while others don’t. It doesn’t have the taste or texture of white flour pasta, but it is certainly a healthier option. Some chefs compromise by mixing half whole grain and half white flour pasta together in one dish.
Multi-grain pastas are another alternative. With a taste and texture more like white flour pasta, but offering more fiber, protein, and Omega 3s, some people find they actually prefer multi-grain pastas over traditional white flour pastas.
What is Low Carb Pasta?
Many low carbohydrate pastas are tasteless and heavy, but a few – like Dreamfields – taste very close to white flour pasta.
Most diabetics can eat Dreamsfields without spikes in their blood sugar, but a few report the food does affect their blood sugar – especially if they eat it after it’s been reheated.
What are Shirataki Noodles?
Sometimes called “yam noodles,” “elephant yam noodles,” “konnyaku potato noodles,” “konnyaku,” “konjac,” or “konjaku,” this food is made from the roots of the Amorphophallus Konjac plant and is low calorie and low carb.
Many people find Shirataki noodles rubbery, but boiling them for a few minutes can help eliminate this texture. The noodles are flavorless, so you may use whatever pasta sauce you desire with them.
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