Pasta is one of our guilty pleasures that often do not have great health benefits. It loads up your body with probably more carbs than you need, leaving you feeling a little sluggish. Instead of eliminating it from your diet, how about replacing it with a different type of noodle? We’ve found 15 different alternatives to traditional pasta, with a guide to help you understand what they are, how they compare to each other, how to cook them and how to eat them. It’s essentially a guide to loving pasta once again.

1. Brown Rice Pasta

Brown Rice Pasta is exactly what you think it is – it’s brown rice in a pasta form. For a 1/4 cup of brown rice pasta, you can get about 4 grams of protein and it provides the same quality of nutrients as whole wheat pasta. Brown Rice Pasta is also Gluten-Free friendly, but always remember to read the package.

Brown rice pasta can be added to boiling water. Let it boil for about ten minutes and then remove from the heat. Drain with a strainer and run cold water over the noodles for about one minute. Because brown rice pasta is so similar to regular pasta, you can pair it with a meat, tomato or cream sauce.

2. Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole wheat pasta is a wonderful way to enjoy pasta while still having some excellent nutritional benefits. Make with complex carbs, you will get more fiber than in white pasta and about 7.5 grams of protein as well per serving.

Bring water to a boil and add pasta, stirring occasionally. Boil for about 7 minutes and then remove from heat. The noodles may not be completely soft yet but that’s okay! After they are removed from the heat, they continue to cook as the noodles cool down.

3. Cellophane Noodles

Cellophane noodles often called glass noodles, are made from mung beans. They have about the same amount of carbohydrates as regular pasta that mainly comes from starch, which is considered a complex carb. Therefore, it’s a great source of energy for your body.

Cellophane noodles are cooked a lot differently than regular noodles. All you need to do is get a bowl of hot water and add the noodles for twenty minutes. Use scissors to cut the noodles to your desired length and remove from water.

4. Asian Rice Noodles

Asian rice noodles are a great gluten-free option for those who cannot have regular pasta. They are very mild when it comes to the flavor, making them extremely versatile. They also contain fiber, zinc, and iron.

Asian rice noodles are cooked exactly the same as cellophane noodles, making them an easy supper on a weeknight.

5. Shirataki Noodles

Welcome to the 21st century of noodles. Your wildest dreams have become a reality. Shirataki noodles are made of glucomannan flour, water, and lime water. The most incredible part of these noodles is that they contain barely any carbohydrates and are 97% water. These noodles definitely will fit your dietary restrictions.

To cook shirataki noodles, remove the noodles from the water they came in and add to a skillet. No need to add butter or any other kind of fat here. They should be ready in a few minutes. You can top them however you like, but they go extremely well in stir-fries or with some roasted veggies.

6. Kelp Noodles

Kelp noodles are made from raw or dried kelp and then combined with flour or a paste with water. Kelp noodles aren’t overly high in any one nutrient but they are high in sodium. A half cup of kelp noodles has about 186 milligrams of sodium, so make sure you aren’t going over your daily sodium intake with these scrumptious noodles.

To prepare your kelp noodles, submerge them in warm water for approximately ten minutes. Cut them to your desired length and enjoy! These noodles are best enjoyed with a pesto or marinara sauce. You can also add them to soups and stir-fries.

7. Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are a fantastic pasta to enjoy during your day to day life with recipes you already know how to make! They are 100% buckwheat flour which contains about 3 grams of fiber per serving. In about a quarter cup of soba noodles, there are 6-8 grams of protein which is extremely impressive for pasta.

Add soba noodles to boiling water without any salt. Let the water simmer with the noodles for about 5-8 minutes. When the noodles are done (not al dente, fully cooked) pour them into the strainer and add to a bowl of cool water. Reach into the bowl and wash the noodles to get rid of excess starch. Drain one more time and enjoy!

8. Zoodles

Zoodles are a fantastic way to simulate the texture and flavor of pasta without having to worry about too many calories or carbs. You can add them to any type of sauce you would put on regular noodles from tomato sauce to a cream sauce. Don’t forget to add some form of protein as well!

Simply purchase a spiralizer and spiralize your zucchini. Stick it in a bowl with a dash of water and warm it up in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.

9. Sprouted Grain Pasta

Sprouted grain pasta is a high fiber alternative to regular white pasta. It has approximately 210 calories per serving, with 9 grams of protein (impressive!) and 7 grams of fiber. Consider this pasta a fantastic option for your family.

Sprouted pasta is cooked by simply boiling it in a pot of water for about 4-5 minutes, draining and serving. It’s so easy and versatile, you can serve it with any sauce you’d like! Something hearty like a tomato meat sauce would be a perfect match.



10. Lentil Noodles

Lentil Noodles are made from exactly what you think they are made from – lentils! Eating red lentil pasta can help you get up to 30% of your daily serving of folate which helps our bodies create DNA and other genetic material. One benefit is that it can help with weight loss which is never a bad thing.

Lentil noodles can be made just like regular noodles in a pot of boiling water until they are al dente. Drain and serve with any sauce of your choice.

11. Barley Pasta (Orzo)

Barley pasta is more commonly known as orzo and it is mostly made up of carbohydrates. For every quarter cup serving there are approximately 42 grams of carbohydrates with 2 grams of fiber. It is relatively high in protein with about 7 grams of protein per serving!

To cook orzo, boil water in a saucepan with a sprinkle of salt. Add the orzo and boil it for about ten minutes. Drain and serve. Orzo is delicious when paired with some fresh vegetables, feta cheese and a light, oil-based dressing.

12. Black Bean Pasta

Black bean pasta is so delicious and it even looks Instagram worthy! It is a fantastic choice as it is mainly made up of black beans. With about two grams of fat per plate and 17 grams of carbohydrates, this is definitely a pasta you don’t need to feel guilty about eating.

Black bean pasta is added to a pot of boiling water, boiled until it is al dente and then strained. You can serve it with just about anything from tomato sauce to vegetable-based sauces to a cream sauce.

13. Corn-Based Pasta

If you are gluten-free then corn based pasta is a fantastic option for you. It is actually one of those kinds of pasta that holds up best in comparison to other gluten-free pasta options.

To cook this pasta, bring your pot of water to a rolling boil and add the pasta. Once you start seeing some foam forming at the top of the water, stir the pasta until al dente. Strain and serve with any pasta sauce of your choice.

14. Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is absolutely delicious and makes for a wonderful alternative to your typical pasta – especially when it comes to the nutrition facts.

Slice your butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Coat the inside of the squash with olive oil and salt and place face-down on a baking sheet. Roast until soft which will be about 45 minutes. Once out of the oven, use a fork to pull at the spaghetti squash until it starts to look somewhat like spaghetti noodles. Serve with tomato meat sauce for the best results!

15. Quinoa

When you’re skipping out on couscous, select quinoa! It may not be a pasta but it is very similar to the consistency and texture of couscous. There are about 222 calories per cup of quinoa with 8 grams of protein making it a fantastic whole grain to enjoy.

Add a cup of quinoa in two cups of water. Turn the element down to low and simmer until all the water has been absorbed after about 15 minutes.


Lindsay Duncan

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband's sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she's not in the kitchen, you'll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

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