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6 Keto-Friendly Low-Carb Pasta Alternatives

A zucchini, carrot, beet root, and sweet potato next to a plate of "noodles" created from them.
zarzamora/Shutterstock

It’s one thing to kick carbs out of your diet, but the cravings always seem to stick around. These keto-friendly pasta alternatives will satisfy your longing for that bite of al dente.

Everyone’s been talking about the ketogenic diet lately, and for good reason! It works wonders for many people, but if you’re just starting your research on this fad diet, here’s what you need to know.

What Is the Ketogenic Diet?

The keto diet is a tremendously high-fat, low-carb diet with moderate protein consumption. Its goal is to allow your body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis.

In ketosis, your body breaks down stored fat due to the restriction of carbohydrates. During this process, ketones are created. Usually, your body burns carbs for energy, but in ketosis, you get your energy from ketones.

Luckily, there are many free apps available that track your carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake. Having such convenience at your fingertips can help you stay on track and meet your weight goals!

What Can I Eat?

Many of us are accustomed to eating lots of bread, pasta, and other high-carb foods. When you switch to a keto lifestyle, you significantly decrease your carb consumption, but that craving will likely stick around.

Instead of your regular bacon, egg, and cheese bagel, you can nix the bagel and eat a bacon and cheese omelet. Substitute a crisp leaf of romaine for bread next time you make a deli sandwich. The possibilities are endless.

What’s excellent about keto is there are so many healthy and delicious alternatives for what you love most. For many, the downfall is pasta. Here are six low-carb and keto-friendly pasta replacements.

Zoodles

If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer, this diet might motivate you to purchase one. You can create beautiful strips of noodle look-alikes out of summer squash, carrots, cucumbers, and many other delicious vegetables.

Zucchini is used most often as a pasta substitute. It has tons of vitamins and minerals. You’ll love the benefits of this game-changing veggie.

Hands running a zucchini through a vegetable spiralizer over a bowl of zucchini noodles.
Emilee Unterkoefler

To prepare zoodles, wash your zucchini in cold water. Place it inside the vegetable spiralizer with the peel still on. While spiralized vegetables are great on many cold dishes, like salads, to get a pasta-like feel, you have to cook them a little.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add your prepared zoodles. Boil them for three or four minutes, top them with your favorite keto-friendly sauce and cheese, and you’re good to go!

Squash or Zucchini Lasagna

If lasagna is your number one craving, you can easily substitute yellow squash or zucchini for lasagna pasta sheets.

Take your colorful vegetables and carefully cut them lengthwise into thin slices. When you layer your ingredients to prepare the dish, use the veggie slices instead of the pasta sheets. You’ll create a healthy and delicious meal!

Make sure your other ingredients are low-carb, as well—many jarred tomato sauces are loaded with them. They’re usually high in sugar, too, so be sure to check the label.

Spaghetti Squash

When you’re craving a big plate of pasta smothered in a scratch meat sauce and topped with freshly shaved parmesan, you need an alternative for spaghetti. Luckily, our beautiful planet provides us with a fantastic starchy vegetable called spaghetti squash.

When it’s cooked, the inside of squash comes apart and makes thin, spaghetti-like strings. It’s a palate-friendly experience when you need that al dente crunch. You can substitute spaghetti squash for any pasta and enjoy the healthy benefits.

A plate of spaghetti squash covered in a pumpkin sauce.
Emilee Unterkoefler

To make spaghetti squash, preheat your oven to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a chef knife to cut the vegetable in half, lengthwise. Scoop and discard the center seeds with a tablespoon. Grab a cookie sheet and add enough water to coat the bottom.

Place your squash cut-side down on the cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork to pull out the insides.

You can serve spaghetti squash as a replacement for any pasta meal you love and enjoy!

Cheese and Egg Yolk Pasta

This two-ingredient pasta recipe is quite different, but many people swear by it. You can prepare yourself an excellent pasta alternative with just mozzarella cheese and the yolk from one egg.

Place one cup of mozzarella cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for one or two minutes, until it’s melted completely. Let it cool for about 30 seconds, and then use a spatula to fold in the egg yolk. When it’s thoroughly combined, add your mixture to a piece of parchment paper, and then place another piece of parchment on top.

Press down with your hands on top of the paper and flatten the doughy mixture until it’s thin. Remove the parchment, and then cut your “pasta dough” into thin strips.

Refrigerate it overnight, and then boil your pasta for one minute. Mix it very slowly. Add your sauce and any other toppings and enjoy!

Cauliflower Rice or Couscous

Cauliflower has become a popular replacement for classics like mashed potatoes and pizza crust. The fun doesn’t end there, though! If you’re new to keto and looking for a rice alternative, this cruciferous vegetable certainly does the trick.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, and then add them to a food processor. Pulse multiple times until its broken into tiny, rice-sized pieces. For couscous, pulse a few extra times to make even smaller pieces. Add your cauliflower to a hot pan drizzled with oil and cook for about five to seven minutes.

You can add riced cauliflower instead of white rice to stuffed peppers, or make yourself a fun and delicious fried rice to go with a beef and broccoli dinner.

Konjac Noodles

Many people say these “miracle noodles” are a great alternative to pasta. They have the noodle-like texture that many crave. They’re also a convenient low-carb option with soluble fiber that will keep you full.

Rinse the noodles and add them to a hot skillet to remove the mushy texture. As usual, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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