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


Coconut and Butternut Squash Soup

Coconut-and-Butternut-Squash-SoupButternut squash is a summer and winter squash, and has an orange flesh that is sweet and  tastes a little like sweet potatoes. Like all squash, butternut squash is a warm weather crop and needs a long, hot summer.

There are several varieties of butternut squash. The first ones to harvest are the Early Butternut, Ponca and Supreme. The Ultra bears fruit with the most weight, between 6 and 10 pounds. The Zenith variety has attractive fruit and high yields.

There are several different ways to make soup with butternut squash, including the variety of spices and herbs used. Such as garlic, parsley, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, chives, including kale leaves, leeks, and jalapeno chilies.

Storing Butternut Squash

Butternut squash can store for longer periods of time than their summer squash counter parts. Why? Because their skin is hard and thick. After purchasing it, you can store it at least a month in a dry, cool place. If the squash has been cut into pieces, place into a glass or food grade ceramic bowl, place lid and refrigerate up to 5 days.

The Benefits of Butternut Squash

One cup of mashed squash contains 80 calories, 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, with the B-complex group of vitamins folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid. It also contains vitamins A and C and the minerals iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.

There is a correlation between eating foods high in the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin like butternut squash, and a reduced rick of lung cancer.

Folate can protect against birth defects, and also helps to prevent a heart attack by working against elements that break down blood vessel structures in the body. Folate intake has shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Options To Prepare Butternut Squash

There are several ways to prepare butternut squash. Our favorite ways to prepare it, and still contain the highest nutritional value are:

  1. Stir-Fry: tender when pierced
  2. Bake: 400 degrees, uncovered 30 – 40 minutes
  3. Steam: Cube and steam for 6 – 8 minutes
  4. Roast: 400 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes

We advise against boiling the squash or microwaving it. With both methods, you will lose its nutritional value.

Now for our featured recipe: Coconut and Butternut Squash Soup, and here is what you will need.

Ingredients for Coconut and Butternut Sqaush  soup

3 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

4 cups chicken broth, divided

1-15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk

1 stalk celery, diced

1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree

½ butternut squash (about 2 ½ cups) peeled, discard seeds and sliced up

1 tsp. Fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp. salt (optional)

roasting butternut sqaush while baking biscutsBake butternut squash, 30 minutes or until tender. Let cool.

pureeing butternut squash with chicken brothIn a food processor place 1 cup chicken broth and the baked butternut squash. Puree until creamy, and set aside.

sauteing onions and garlic in olive oilPlace a medium stock pot over medium heat, and add 2 cups of chicken stock. Do not bring to a boil, just allow to heat. In a large skillet over medium heat, when pan is heated add 3 tbsp. olive oil, and add chopped onions, minced garlic,  and sauté, but do not brown or carmelize. Just allow to cook and the two sock up or retain olive oil flavor.

adding diced celery to soupPour sauted onion mix with olive oil into stock pot that contains the warmed chicken broth. Take the last cup of chicken broth, and with one hand pour into frying pan while holding it by the handle with other hand, and swirl frying pan gently, and add to stock pot. Next add coconut milk to broth and stir until incorporated. Then add the diced celery to broth and stir.

spooning in butternut sqaush to soupSpoon in pumpkin and butternut squashes, mix till well incorporated. Next add ginger and stir in. If desired, add salt. Allow to simmer on low for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Coconut-and-Butternut-Squash-SoupServed garnish with a dollop of sour cream, chives and shredded coconut.

What Others are Saying About Butternut Squash:

Honey-Basil Summer Sqaush

Honey-Basil Summer Sqaush

My mother always made a large sauce pot of green summer squash with tomatoes, tomato sauce, ground hamburger, and other seasonings. Us kids, my brothers and sisters and I, always looked forward to summer, but not the pots of summer squash, we dreaded those meals.

But now as an adult, summer always arrives, with no break from work like we had from school when we were kids. I have acquired a taste for squash. It seems the adult taste buds are a lot different than that of a child’s taste buds.

Our featured recipe is Honey-Basil Summer Squash, and can be a side dish to any main dish platter of beef, chicken, pork or fish.

One cup of summer squash has the following minerals:

Potassium

Phosphorus

Magnesium

Calcium

Sodium

Iron

Manganese

Selenium

Zinc

Copper

All of these trace minerals have many functions in the body. Such as potassium for blood pressure and heart health, and magnesium for muscle relaxation, and calcium to BRAGGS Liquid Aminos soy saucemake the muscles work. All three of those minerals need vitamin B-1 to work properly. Zinc is great for the skin and collagen. Vitamin-C is needed so zinc will be absorbed well.

We also used Bragg’s soy protein sauce in our recipe. It contains 16 essential and non-essential amino acids. Bragg’s soy sauce is made with non-GMO soybean protein only.

Now for the featured recipe and here is what you will need:

wet and dry herb mix for Honey-Basil Summer Sqaush

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoon dried basil or ¼ cup fresh basil, minced

6 tablespoons soy sauce (Brigg’s amino-acids)

2 tablespoons Lime juice

¼ cup rice vinegar

¼ red wine  vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons honey

To make the sauce, combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl, mix up well, and set aside.

steaming squash for Honey-Basil Summer Sqaush

For the summer squash you will need:

2 small yellow squash, sliced diagonally into 1 inch slices

2 small green squash, sliced diagonally into 1 inch slices

1 small Mexican squash, sliced diagonally into 1 inch slices

Add sliced squash to a steamer with already boiling water. Steam the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring them twice to evenly steam them. They should still be crunchy when steamed after 5 minutes.

mixing cooked squash with herb mixture

Place steamed vegetables in to large bowl with the sauce ingredients. Mix the vegetables till well coated.

Honey-Basil Summer Sqaush

Spoon vegetables into a serving bowl and enjoy as a side dish with your favorite main dish selection.

 

What Others are Saying About Summer Squash: