6 Veggies That Make Delicious Pasta Substitutes
It doesn’t get much better than digging into a steaming plate of noodles. But if you’re trying to watch carbs, or simply increase your daily nutrient intake, veggie noodles can make an excellent substitute for pasta in all your favorite noodle dishes — be it fettuccine or pad thai.
This year on National Noodle Day, take advantage of nature’s tasty, nutritious alternatives to traditional pasta. Your whole body will thank you!
The Most Delicious Veggie Noodles
Almost all grocery stores in San Diego now carry pre-packaged veggie noodles, making it easier than ever to swap healthy veggies for noodles. Here are six favorites:
- Spaghetti Squash – This yellow, oval-shaped squash can be credited with starting the popular veggie noodle movement we see today. As its name suggests, when spaghetti squash is cooked, its interior becomes soft and stringy, like spaghetti. Just cut the cooked squash in half and rake a fork repeatedly over each half to create thin “noodles” that mimic your favorite twirlable pasta. Goes great with fresh marinara sauce, bolognese, or meatballs!
- Zucchini – Zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” have grown fast in popularity with good reason — their mild flavor and slightly firmer texture than spaghetti squash makes a perfect base for all sauces, including cream-based ones like alfredo. Before cooking, let zoodles sit on paper towels for 20-30 minutes to remove excess water.
- Beets – Beet noodles are perfect not only as a main “pasta” course, but as part of virtually any salad or bowl. Try them on top of arugula with creamy parmesan dressing, or as part of a healthy bowl with toppings like goat cheese, pine nuts, almonds, roasted brussels sprouts, Greek yogurt, or shredded chicken.
- Butternut Squash – If you’re looking for a veggie noodle that’s going to add a robust aspect to your meal, look no further than butternut squash. These noodles cook great when you roast them in the oven. Spread them out evenly on parchment paper with a little olive oil. Just 15 minutes on 400 degrees will give you that rich, autumnal flavor that compliments beef or pork particularly well.
- Shirataki Noodles – Shirataki noodles look similar to rice noodles, and make a fantastic base for Asian-inspired dishes. These thin, translucent Japanese noodles are made from konjac — a plant that grows underground in parts of Asia. Shirataki are called “miracle noodles” because they are fiber-rich while containing almost zero calories and carbs. You can find them pre-packaged in most grocery stores in the tofu and meat-alternative case.
- Sweet Potato – Don’t worry, sweet potato noodles won’t make your pasta dish taste like mashed potatoes. And, they look even more like real noodles, due to their orange-yellow color! Be aware that sweet potato noodles are more fragile than zoodles, so use rubber-coated pasta tongs to gently toss them when sauteing so that they don’t break up.
Best Veggie Noodle Spiralizers
If you love to cook, or have a little more time on your hands, you can skip the prepackaged versions and make your own fresh, delicious veggie noodles at home! These are the highest-ranked spiralizing machines around.
OXO Tabletop Spiralizer – Culinary professionals agree that this spiralizer is the best for most people. It has a sturdy base, comes with three different blades for varying noodle thickness and length, and is very easy to use.
Spiralizer Five Blade Vegetable Slicer – Similar in design and capability to the OXO spiralizer, this one is a little cheaper and performs well. The blades are slightly less sharp than the OXO, making spiralizing cuts not as “clean,” but it is a good mid-range option.
OXO Hand-Held Spiralizer – If you’re only going to be making occasional or small batches of noodles for one or two people, this spiralizer is a great choice. It’s less than half the price of the Tabletop Spiralizer and gets the job done safely and efficiently.