It doesn’t matter where you came from, chances are you’ve grown up on some form of pasta, spaghetti, noodles, vermicelli, you name it! Noodles are such a staple in almost every culture’s diet, but obviously don’t mesh with a keto lifestyle.
It’s hard to enjoy all the fine cuisine out there when your carb intake is restricted. Luckily, there are a ton of great low carb alternatives to noodles, allowing you to enjoy your favorite dishes with a keto-spin to it!
If you need something to smother in marinara sauce, look no further. What I like about the squash is its ability to absorb flavor of whatever sauce I’m using. Since it is a vegetable, don’t expect the noodle strands to come out al dente. I’d say spaghetti squash is the best substitute if you’re looking for an italian dish!
The squash is simple to prepare, but takes a bit of time. All you have to do is cut the squash in half, roast in an oven, let it cool, and then tear out noodle like strands with a fork. Before you know it, you’ll have a bowl full of easy and delicious keto noodles!
Spaghetti squash being a bit on the sweeter side, does have about 2.8 grams of sugar per 100 gram serving. Overall, 100 grams of spaghetti squash will yield approximately 5.5 grams of net carbs which is far less than your normal noodles would net!
For more detailed instructions on how to prepare the squash, check out this link.
Zucchini is another vegetable that can be used for noodle dishes. Using a vegetable peeler, or spiral slicer, you can cut the zucchini into thin strands for a spaghetti substitute.
Alternatively, you can cut them into slices and use them as the “noodle” layer of lasagna dishes. Here’s a great low carb lasagna recipe from Skinny Taste.
If you’re not a fan of zucchini, you can also substitute eggplant slices for your keto lasagna.
One medium sized zucchini is about 196 grams which has about 6 total carbohydrates (4 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber) making it overall lower in net carbs than the spaghetti squash.
Ever crave a big bowl of Vietnamese pho? Bean Sprouts are already a staple garnish for the rich broth, but why not add even more as a replacement for the rice noodles? While the texture and taste certainly don’t come close to rice noodles, bean sprouts are a low carb alternative that will add more volume to the dish!
Bean sprouts can go a long way to fill you up without hampering your diet. Per 100 grams of bean sprouts, you’re only looking at approximately 0.2 grams of net carbs!! You can easily fill up by tossing a couple of handfuls into a bowl of hot broth and letting them wilt down into a keto noodle alternative.
I’m personally not a fan of cabbage, but shredded cabbage can be an alternative to your noodles. Fry off some cabbage in the frying pan and then top it off with your favorite sauce and meats. Sure it might not have the same texture or shape of noodles, but they serve as a healthier alternative.
One cup of shredded cabbage only has about 2 grams of net carbs (4 grams total carbs and about 2 grams of fiber) making it easy to squeeze into your diet. Veggies are an excellent alternative to pasta and noodles while on a keto diet since they tend to be rich in fiber and have very little calories.
I’ve only seen these in a few Asian supermarkets, sometimes labeled as “tofu noodles”. They aren’t the most keto friendly substitute, having around 5-10 net carbs per serving, but you can consume it in moderation. I recommend boiling them for a few minutes before serving. The noodles have a rough texture to them, but I feel that it fits well with soup based dishes. If you don’t have an Asian supermarket near you, you can order them on Amazon.
Be careful with your portions for these noodles though, since too many carbs can lead to plateaus in your weight loss!
Made from konjac yam, these noodles have a gelatinous texture and are often shaped like noodles. The nutritional value of konjac consists almost entirely of fiber, making the net carb count close to zero. Not only will they fill you up, but they’ll barely add any calories to your diet, making them a great substitute to carby noodles!
I believe most varieties that I have come across have between 5-10 calories per serving with 2-3 grams of fiber. One pack is usually all I need for a meal, along with some sort of meat or veggies and it fills me right up without any of the guilt!
They’re made in a variety of shapes, ranging from small glass noodles, rice noodles, and even macaroni shaped noodles. With such a wide selection, you can make a variety of common dishes keto friendly! I personally love to use them in asian style cooking (stir-fry and “ramen” dishes).
Be aware that these noodles don’t absorb much flavor, and you may want to season your sauces or soups well!
When preparing shirataki noodles, all you have to do is drain the package, and rinse the noodles under warm water before cooking it. A common complaint with these noodles is that they carry a fishy odor. I find that the odor has no actual effect on the taste, and the smell disappears after cooking.
You can find these amazing noodles in just about any Asian supermarket, or order them off of Amazon! They also have a tofu shirataki variety which I find have a closer texture to your regular noodles or pasta (but without all the carbs!). The tofu shirataki packages have more range of low carb noodle and pasta types (such as fettuccine or spaghetti).
I had to update the list after my latest discovery of kelp noodles! For a direct substitute I’d rank this up there with the shirataki noodles, without the fishy odor that many find repulsive. Being made from kelp, water and sodium alginate, these all natural noodles are an excellent source calcium, iron vitamin K and fiber.
These kelp noodles hold their shape well, but do carry a bit of a crunchy or squeaky texture (imagine seaweed sort of). which can be a bit off putting. However, they have a more neutral flavor and can be paired well with any sauce or marinara, making them an excellent filler for your meals.
All you have to do is rinse the noodles and then boil or toss them with your favorite sauce and they’re ready to serve!
Each serving is an astounding 6 calories only (1 gram of fiber), making them an amazing addition to increase the volume of your meals.
There you have 7 great alternatives for noodles when it comes to low carb dieting! Sure, none of these will taste exactly like pasta, but you can still enjoy your favorite dishes, just without the noodles. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that you like the alternative version even better!