6 Healthy Pasta Alternatives (and It Doesn’t Include Whole Wheat Pasta)

Black Bean Pasta

This Pasta is exactly what you’d think it is: spaghetti noodles made from black beans. That’s it. The beans are dried and ground into a flour like consistency. There are many different brands that create many different black bean pastas. Perfect for people who are gluten free, black bean pasta has no grains. It eats just like pasta with a definite black bean taste.

Trader Joe’s Organic Black Bean Rotini Pasta
Serving: 3/4 cup
Calories: 200
Carbohydrates: 35 g
Fiber: 15  g
Protein: 14 g

“Zoodles” or Zuchinni Noodles

This is a low carb alternative to pasta. These noodles are very easy and hassle free to make. All you have to do is peel the zucchini using a spiralizer (this is the one I am currently using). Many health foods store now sell ready to prepare spiralized zuchinni in the produce section with other pre-cut vegetables and fruits. If you aren’t ready to make an investment in a spiralizer, try shaving ribbons of zuchinni with a vegetable peeler and using it to subsitute lasagna noodles. Each medium sized zucchini is approximately 33 calories, which means you can even have 2 whole zucchinis as a serving for only 66 calories!

Serving: 1 medium zuchinni
Calories: 33
Carbohydrates: 6 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2.5 g

Spaghetti Squash

When cooked, the inside of the squash can be shredded into long, thin strands similar to angel hair noodles, and can be used in comparable ways. While a cup of spaghetti pasta is about 200 calories, a cup of spaghetti squash is about 30 calories. It has a much milder taste than squash which makes it perfect for delicious sauces and pasta dishes.

Serving: 1 cup
Calories: 30
Carbohydrates: 10 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 0.5 g

Shirataki Noodles

You can find shirataki noodles made from tofu or from the konjac root. The shirataki noodles that are made from the konjac root are also popularly known as “miracle noodles” or “no-calorie noodles” because these noodles are really zero calories! I know that sounds crazy. How can something be zero calories? Well, these noodles are made from a starch called glucomannan which is an indigestible fiber that also conveniently has zero calories. The tofu shirataki noodles on the other hand are going to have a few extra calories (10-15 calories per serving) but this is still very little when compared to a serving of traditional spaghetti pasta at ~110 calories per 1/2 cup. Shirataki noodles can be found in most grocery stores in the refrigerator section next to tofu products. They can be substituted in any dish that calls for noodles and are even offered in fettucine, angel hair, and spaghetti form. Just remember to rinse the noodles well before eating to get rid of the funky smell.

Miracle Noodle (made from Konjac flour)
Calories: 0
Carbohydrates: 0 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 0 g

House Foods Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti
Serving: 2 oz (but honestly, you can eat the whole 4 oz bag since it only adds up to 20 calories!)
Calories: 10
Carbohydrates: 3 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: <0 g

Quinoa Pasta

This pasta is made from the quinoa seed being ground down into flour and used to make different pastas. Quinoa flour contains more protein than any other flour. This pasta is also great for people who are gluten free. Also rich in iron and magnesium, quinoa pasta is one of the healthiest alternatives to regular pasta. Be careful to read the ingredients to ensure quinoa flour is the first ingredient. Many quinoa pastas contain added corn or white flour.

Pereg 100% Quinoa Fusili
Serving: 2 oz
Calories: 210
Carbohydrates: 40 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 8 g

Red Lentil Pasta 

Although this pasta has more calories (281 cal) per serving compared to traditional pasta, it packs a whopping 18 g of protein per serving, which makes it just fine served on its own for a healthy vegetarian meal. No need to add any additional protein. Not only is it high in protein but it also contains 16 g of belly-filling fiber which will fill you up and keep you feeling full for a long time. I’ve spotted the Tolerant brand pasta at my local Target and Costco.

Tolerant Organic Red Lentil Rotini Pasta
Serving: 3 oz
Calories: 281
Carbohydrates: 51 g
Fiber: 16 g
Protein: 18 g

Special content contributions by Marissa B. Gratz, Syracuse University, Public Health Candidate