Traditional pasta as we know, is made with refined wheat flour.
Refining wheat grains into flour removes a variety of nutrients that are found in the bran and germ.
However, some plant nutrients such as phytochemicals cannot be replaced.
Phytochemicals are bioactive nutrient plant chemicals found in all plant foods, like fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Theses phytochemicals have been shown to provide desirable health benefits beyond basic nutrition to reduce the risk of major chronic diseases(Science Direct).
Therefore, traditional pasta noodles lack many important nutrients and are mainly just a source of energy.
The Alternative To Eating Traditional Pasta
There is an alternative to traditional pasta that can help replace some of your carbohydrate heavy meals and improve your diet at the same time.
What is the alternative? Vegetables. Yes, some vegetables can be taken and turned into fresh pasta.
Vegetable alternative pastas have become very popular, as many have shown an interest in low-carb, gluten-free and paleo diets.
Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which make them far more nutrient dense than any kind of flour pasta.
Due to the low-calorie content in vegetable alternative noodles, the typical serving size is much higher than the average pasta serving size.
Vegetable noodles will help keep you feeling full for longer because of their high fiber content.
You can buy them in your local grocery store, or you can purchase a vegetable spiralizer to prepare them yourself.
You can also use a vegetable peeler to make your own noodles.
These veggies can be prepared by sautéing, boiling or roasting. Olive oil and seasonings are recommended to add some flavor to the dish.
You can even add in tomatoes, chicken, shrimp or plant-based proteins.
Some vegetable alternatives include, spaghetti squash, asparagus, zucchini, sweet potato, cucumber, turnips and carrot noodles.
Whether you are gluten sensitive or you want to remove refined carbohydrates from your diet, the following pasta alternative recipes will satisfy your hunger for pasta.
Keep in mind, cutting the vegetables noodles into thinner slices will make it quicker and easier to cook.
Spaghetti squash typically yellow in color, is an oblong winter squash with a center cavity filled with seeds.
Like no other squash the flesh of the spaghetti squash after being cooked can be separated into delicate strands comparable to angel hair pasta.
The noodle-like texture and subtle flavor makes it a versatile vegetable (actually a fruit) that pairs well with sauces that include Alfredo, marinara, pesto, and curry among others.
Try this spaghetti squash recipe –
Sweet potatoes are not simply potatoes that are sweet.
They are not botanically related to the standard potato, which is a stem tuber in the nightshade family.
And sweet potatoes are an edible enlarged root of a flowering vine in the morning glory family.
Sweet potato noodles are a healthy low-carb alternative to regular pasta.
Sweet potato noodles cook just like regular pasta, and can be added to salads, stir fried with veggies and a protein, like chicken or shrimp.
Try this Indian dish using spiraled sweet potatoes as an alternative to traditional pasta –
Asparagus comes in a variety of colors, including green, white and purple.
Asparagus is a low calorie food that boasts an impressive nutrient profile, which includes folate, a nutrient striped from wheat when processed into flour.
Folate is vital for many functions in the body including cell growth and DNA formation.
Folate acid is a synthetic form of folate, and is not easily absorbed by the body.
Asparagus is used in recipes including frittatas, pastas and stir-fries.
It is also shaved into strands and used as an alternative to traditional pasta.
Like this recipe – Ham Asparagus Alfredo.
We are familiar with summer squash. These include zucchini and yellow squash.
Try these recipes using summer squash as an alternative to traditional pasta.
Zucchini – Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce
Yellow Squash – Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce