The first thing that many people say when they hear the words ‘low carb’ is, oh I could never give up.. x, y or z. People often have their own vice food that they feel they could never give up, particularly when it comes to carbohydrates. However, one food that many people feel that they just wouldn’t know what to do if they didn’t have it is pasta. I often ask people why this is, as let’s face it, pasta in itself is tasteless. Think about it, would you ever really eat plain pasta on its own? I know I never used to do that and instead, what gave pasta its flavour was generally the sauce or toppings that you were adding to it.

The majority of people choose pasta as a main dish for reasons such as: its quick to cook, its cheap and it fills you up. All of these reasons are really valid and I can genuinely understand people’s reservation and sometimes fear of having to go without this staple food. However, fear not as whether you are a fan of spaghetti with your bolognaise, or like a nice homemade lasagne, there will always be an alternative low carbohydrate pasta option out there! Even better to this is the alternative low carb pasta options, need not cost the earth, will be just as quick to make and can keep you feeling fuller for longer (whilst also preventing blood sugar spikes and lows). See below for

7 sexy low carbohydrate alternatives to pasta

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1. Courgette (otherwise known as Zucchini’s) noodles with a pesto and tomato dressing

Who would have thought that a simple vegetable like courgette could be diced up to resemble that of noodles. These really are a great alternative having exactly the same texture and mouth feel to that of noodles. I personally would also add some chicken to this dish.

Ingredients:

4- 5 medium zucchinis

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp pesto

2 tbsp pine nuts

1 dash of sea salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C
  2. Chop the cherry tomatoes into halves and mix together with the olive oil. Sprinkle them with the sea salt and place them on a baking sheet, seed side up.
  3. Bake in the oven for 90 minutes
  4. To make the zucchini “noodles, use a sharp knife to cut the zucchini into long, thin strips. Or to make this easier, use a julienne peeler to get the desired size. Stop peeling once you reach the seeds of the vegetable.
  5. Blanch the zucchini in a pan of boiling water for around 2 minutes (you can also eat the zucchini raw if desired)
  6. Once you have the “noodles”, mix them together with the pesto sauce
  7. Remove the cherry tomatoes from the oven and serve on top of the zucchini and pesto noodles.
  8. Sprinkle with pine nuts (and for added flavour some grated parmesan) and serve

Also check out this Low carb diet plan for vegetarians

 2. Low Carb Lasagne

This is by far one of the most cooked and therefore staple dishes within many people’s households. Making a lasagne low carb is so easy, instead of having sheets of pasta, you simply replace with slices of aubergine.

Ingredients:
250g ground/minced beef

1 aubergine
1 red onion

3 cloves of garlic

1tsp of olive oil

½ a tube of sun dried tomato puree

300ml of double cream

Half a cup of fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Salt, pepper and mixed herbs to taste

Method:

  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry together in a large frying pan.
  2. Once soft, add the beef and brown.
  3. Next mix in the tomato puree and the double cream and stir well until the meat is fully covered. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  4. Mix in the salt, pepper and herbs to taste.
  5. Cut the aubergine into thin slices using a knife or a mandolin, making them around 6mm in size
  6. Layer up one layer of the aubergine and pour over a layer of the beef mix.
  7. Repeat this process until the dish is full
  8. Place in a preheated oven at 200°C and cook for 30 minutes
  9. After 30 minutes, remove from the over and cover with cheese. Place back in the over for a further 5 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

low carb alternatives to pasta

3. Cabbage Carbonara

There’s nothing more satisfying that sitting down to a large bowl of creamy pasta like carbonara. What is great about this dish is you still get all of the amazingly rich flavours from the meat and cream, without the excess bloating. A complete winner in my books and for extra indulgence, be sure to grate a good serving of cheese on top.

Ingredients:

2 TBSP coconut oil

670g chicken meat, cut into thin strips

225g bacon slices, chopped

1 very large or 2 medium heads Napa Cabbage (3 – 4 lb / 1345 – 1790g), very thinly sliced crosswise

4 eggs

½ cup / 4 fl oz.heavy cream (double cream)

Sea salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan.
  2. Once heated take the chicken strips and fry them until they are cooked through.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a covered bowl to keep them warm.
  4. Next cook the bacon in the frying pan until crispy.
  5. Add the cabbage to the bacon and stir-fry together.
  6. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Combine the egg mixture with the bacon and cabbage and stir well.
  8. Once the bacon and cabbage have been coated well, add in the chicken strips and mix everything together.
  9. Place under a pre heated grill for 2-3 minutes until the top turns golden brown.

4. Spaghetti Squash Bolognaise

Like lasagne, spaghetti bolognaise has been a staple dish within many people’s homes. For most people who eat low carb, just having the bolognaise on its own with some cheese on top is a better option. However for those that miss the spaghetti part of this dish, spaghetti squash really is an amazing alternative

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

salt & black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 stalk of celery, finely diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

4 slices bacon, chopped

1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk

3 ounces (1/2 small can) tomato paste

1/2 cup dry white wine

salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and inner portion of the squash, and then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Place both halves face down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes—until the flesh of the squash becomes soft.
  5. Once soft, scoop the “noodles” out into a separate bowl.
  6. Next, in a large pan, melt the butter and cook the onion, carrot, and celery until they soften. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  7. Add the ground beef, pork, and bacon, and cook until no pink remains.
  8. Stir in the coconut milk, tomato paste, and white wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  9. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste before removing the sauce from the heat.
  10. Serve over the roasted spaghetti squash.

5. Zucchini Ravioli

For those that really want to wow their friends with just how amazing low carb cooking can be, then this is the dish to do it with. Using zucchini (or courgette) as the ravioli shell works well as an alternative to a flour packed dish. You can customise the filling to your tastes.

Ingredients:
110g Zucchini
85g  boiled chicken
1/8 cup ricotta
1/8 cup mozzarella
1 tsp. freeze dried basil
sprinkle of parmesan for flavour
1tbsp of cream cheese

Instructions:

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini into thick strips.
  2. Make a plus sign with two of the strips going horizontally and two with noodles going vertically.
  3. Place the mozzarella and chicken in a blender and pulse together. Addin the ricotta, basil and parmesan
  4. Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and place in the centre of the zucchini “sign”.
  5. Fold up the zucchini covering the filling.
  6. Place under a pre-heated grill and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

6. Cucumber Pasta Salad

With the longer nights now upon us, that also means the dawn of summer days. Sometimes on those hot days the last thing you want is a hot. This alternative to pasta salad is a really light and refreshing dish and would make a great staple and accompaniment to any BBQ.

Ingredients:

Pasta Salad:

2 Cucumbers, cut into noodles

1 cup Tomatoes, chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

½ cup Olives

Dressing:

1 Tbsp Basil, chopped

1 Tbsp Oregano, chopped

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

½ tsp Black Pepper

½ tsp Sea Salt

Instructions:

  1. Wash the cucumber and strip into noodles avoiding the centre and the seeds. You can use a julienne peeler or mandolin for this as well.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the cucumber with tomatoes, garlic and olive olives
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together basil, oregano, balsamic vinegar, pepper and salt.
  4. Pour the dressing over the cucumber “noodles” and toss together so it is well combined.

7. Cheesy Alternative Pasta

As well as being a really quick dish to make, normal cheesy pasta is many people’s comfort food out there. It is often believed that this kind of dish will be completely off the menu when you follow that of a low carb diet. However, this below recipe shows how you can still get all of the flavours and comforts of your cheesy pasta without the high carbohydrate intake.

Ingredients:

1 medium spaghetti squash

1 tbsp butter

½ yellow onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup plain goat’s milk yogurt, or greek yogurt

85g cheddar, shredded and divided

1 tsp sea salt, or to taste

black pepper, to taste

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Scoop out the seeds and inner portion of the squash, and then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Place both halves face down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes—until the flesh of the squash becomes soft.
  4. Once you have removed the cooked squash from the oven, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat
  5. Cook the he chopped onion and garlic until tender and slightly golden
  6. Transfer the cooked onion and garlic to a large mixing bowl, and combine with the yogurt and 2/3rds of the cheese and season
  7. When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the noodle-like strands into the bowl, and mix together with the cheese.
  8. Place the mixture into an oven proof baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown

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