Vegetable Alternatives To Traditional Pasta – with recipes

Vegetable Alternatives To Traditional Pasta

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.

Read More About Spiralizing: Turn Vegetables into Healthy – Creative – Satisfying Meals

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

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 Potato

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

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.

Ham Asparagus Alfredo

Summer Squash

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


Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Spaghetti Squash Bake

Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Spaghetti Squash Bake

This quick and easy spaghetti squash recipe is bursting with flavor. It can be prepared as a side dish or a main dish as it contains bacon.

Spaghetti squash is available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors including ivory, yellow and orange.

The yellow squash being the most common to find at market and the orange ones have the highest amount of carotene.


Try This Yellow Squash Alternative For Spaghetti: Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce


The center of the squash contains several large seeds.

When cooked, the flesh of the fruit falls away from the shell or skin in ribbons or strands that look like, and can be used as an alternative to, spaghetti made from wheat grain.

Spaghetti squash is typically harvested in early autumn but is available year-round.

To obtain the pasta-like flesh, the squash must be fully steamed or baked.

Baked Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a good source of vitamin A and also provides vitamin C, B vitamins, and manganese.

The seeds can be roasted and they contain protein and magnesium.

Spaghetti squash is a low glycemic food and as an alternative to traditional pasta made from wheat grain, spaghetti squash can help you cut down on carbohydrates.

Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Spaghetti Squash Bake

1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

6 Hickory Smoked slices of bacon, cooked, crumbled into bits

4 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2-3 green onions, chopped, for garnish, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Brush the inside of each half squash with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place squash, cut-side up on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle Himalayan salt and black pepper on each half to taste.

Bake in preheated oven until squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Cool squash for 10 minutes.

Shred the inside of squash with a fork and transfer to a bowl.

Add 1/2 the shredded Cheddar cheese, all of the bacon bacon bits, butter, salt, and black pepper. Mix until well blended.

Transfer mixture to a large casserole dish.

Bake in preheated oven until heated through, about 45 minutes.

Remove casserole from oven. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese and place under high heat broiler. Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly, 2 minutes.

Garnish with chopped green onion.


Try this this recipe – Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce – for an alternative to traditional pasta.


Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

All squash varieties are members of the Curcurbita family. They come in varying colors, textures, shapes, sizes, and a range of flavors.

The three main categories of the Curcurbita family are:
Curcurbita pepo– include but not limited too zucchini, summer squashes, acorn, and spaghetti squash
Curcurbita maxima– includes but not limited too: banana squash, and pumpkin
Curcurbita moschata– includes but not limited too: butternut squash, and calabaza

Squash is a low carbohydrate food, including a low glycemic index food, between 0 and 35. The low number indicates no spiking of insulin in the blood stream. Most squash have small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, and including the B-vitamins. They also contain trace minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and copper.

Squash is great for heart health and every muscle of the body. Magnesium is great to help the muscles relax, preventing what is called charlie-horse or cramping of the muscles.

As for potassium, one half cup serving of Grey Squash as an example has 603 mg, raw zucchini has 459 mg, cooked has 194 mg, and baked Butternut squash has 289 mg.

Mexican Grey SquashThe squash we are using in our featured recipe is a hybrid of the zucchini squash, and is referred to in Mexico as the Mexican squash or the grey squash.

The grey squash has the same texture and flavor as the zucchini. Unlike the zucchini when harvested at a larger size, the grey squash tends to still have a tender skin.

Now for our featured recipe: Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce. The recipe is simple and easy, as it contains 3 ingredients as follows…

principle ingredients for Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat SauceYou can use any type of spaghetti sauce, but we chose to use a tomato base with cream and vodka included, 2 cups.

One pound of organic pork chorizo, which we purchased on sale at the Whole Foods Market, and 3 Mexican squash, which will make about 2 to 3 servings. Here we have a larger harvested Mexican squash given to us from a friends organic home garden.

makng squash pasta with a julienne peelerUsing a julienne peeler, run it from top to bottom all around the squash until you arrive to the seeds in the center. Set the squash pasta aside.

Pork ChorizoHeat a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of pastured unsalted butter, and when melted add the pork, and cook until done, about 10 minutes. remove from heat, and set aside.

cooking squash pasta in skillet In a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When heated, add the stringed squash and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the oil to cling to the squash strings. If the oil clings then in turn the spaghetti sauce will cling to the squash pasta. Do not over cook the squash, you want a little crunch, and at the same time you want a fork to twirl it, the same as is done with traditional pasta.

sauce and chorizoRemove skillet from heat and transfer squash past to a serving platter. Return the skillet to the heat and add the spaghetti sauce and cooked pork chorizo, and mix together. Allow the heat to warm the meat sauce.

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce - 2

Remove meat sauce from heat and pour it over the squash pasta arranged on a serving platter. Serve with grated Italian cheese, and enjoy.

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Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and SauceMost yellow summer squash is gmo now days, but not the ones we used. We got these fresh from a vegetable garden, harvested from non-gmo seeds. Without the grated cheese, this can be a Vegan meal.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Shaving Squash into SpaghettiThere are several gadgets on the market that one can use to turn a yellow summer squash into spaghetti strands. They can range from $3.99 to about $100.00 depending on the one you buy. We bought a OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler Stainless Steel Blade , and the cost was $9.99 at Macy’s.

You wash the squash, remove the blade protector cap, grab the squash in one hand and the peeler with the other hand, and start peeling until you reach the seeds.

You can mulch the rest of the vegetable after discarding the seeds or remove the seeds and steam the vegetable flesh in a steamer, and enjoy with a little butter and Italian seasonings.

But before you peel the squash into spaghetti strands, let make some sauce. What you will need is:

1 15 ounce can of stewed tomatoes, with no other flavors or added salt

1/2 cup fresh basil

3 cloves fresh garlic

2 tbsp. tomato paste, no added salt

1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt ( or sea salt) optional

5 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

Open can of tomatoes and pour into a food processor. Add basil, chopped garlic, and puree.

Side not: allow garlic to set 10 minutes after chopping before adding to processor. To get the health benefits of garlic, oxygen needs to active the enzymes within the garlic, to give us it s health benefits. When ever using garlic after mincing, or chopping it, allow it to set for 10 minutes before using it, your body will be thankful you did.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Preparing SauceNow add the puree tomato sauce to a medium sauce pot over a med-high heat. You will note that the tomato sauce will be a little soupy. Just add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir in, and see how it thickens. Lower heat to simmer and place lid over pot. Just before pouring sauce over sqauch pasta, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan salt, but is optional.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Sautéing Yellow Squash in Olive OilOn med-high heat place a (1) large ceramic coated frying pan, and pour 4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil into pan. Allow to heat some, then add 1 teaspoon of powdered garlic.

Next, (2) add squash pasta to pan, put timer to 5 minutes, and stir now and again.

Note (3) the olive oil has stuck to the squash, if it hasn’t, then you added to much olive oil. Continue to stir now and again.

After 5 minutes (4) turn squash pasta onto a flat plate or pie pan and set aside for 2 minutes. Then turn pasta squash into a strainer to drain off any water, that may have accumulated, but do not rinse.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce platedPlate squash pasta, top with spaghetti sauce and with your favorite Italian cheese and serve.

Forking Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and SauceIf you can fork the squash pasta like traditional pasta, then it was cooked right. But if  squash cannot be forked and falls apart, it was cooked to long and in too much oil.

 

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