Pasta is a very gluten and carbohydrate heavy food. While it’s absolutely delicious, there is not much nutritional value to it on its own. If you depend on a gluten free diet, sometimes finding good pasta alternatives can be difficult. However, there are more food companies that are creating plant based, gluten free, and sometimes protein heavy pasta alternatives that are nutritious and delicious. Here are some of the best gluten free pasta alternatives to help you recreate your favorite pasta dishes.
Although this recipe requires a ton of ingredients and preparation, this dish is incredibly nutritious and makes an excellent substitute for your typical ravioli. Beets are incredibly nutritious and are packed with antioxidants. In order to turn a beet into a pasta alternative, marinate it for at least an hour, or you can marinate it overnight. In order to dilute the flavor of the beets a little bit, you can marinate them in ingredients such as lemon juice, olive oil, and seasoning to help bring out a more savory flavor. This will create the perfect base for your beetroot pasta and will help you create a delicious dish.
Quinoa is known for being a superfood, with plenty of nutritional value, including protein and fiber. Quinoa is a gluten-free food, which makes it a perfect alternative for your standard pasta. Make sure you are purchasing a pasta that is mostly made with quinoa because many list corn as the first ingredient. That way, you will be sure to get all of the nutrients that quinoa packs. Simply replace your standard pasta within any dish with quinoa pasta to create a nutritious, gluten free dish.
Rice Pasta With Chia Seeds
This superfood based gluten free pasta is another great alternative for you to try out. This rice pasta is packed with extremely nutritious chia seeds, which are packed with omega-3s and antioxidants, making them significantly healthier than your standard, carb heavy pasta. Rice noodles are excellent at absorbing flavors, so you can expect flavorful dishes when using this pasta. This pasta is an excellent addition to your homemade pad thai, or any other delicious pasta dish you want to cook up.
Shirataki Ziti Noodles
Made from yam starch, these “miracle noodles” are extremely low in calories and carbohydrates. If you want to have a guilt free dish with some delicious gluten free pasta, this is the perfect alternative for you. You can incorporate this pasta into mac and cheese, or your alfredo sauce for a healthier alternative to these staple pasta dishes.
Black Bean Spaghetti
If you’re looking for a protein packed, gluten free alternative to your traditional spaghetti and meatballs, black bean pasta is a perfect option to fulfill your pasta needs. This pasta is packed with fiber and protein, and also offers a larger serving size than most regular spaghetti. However, be careful not to eat too much fiber within this pasta without drinking an appropriate amount of water. This pasta contains a slight flavor of black beans, so you can also pair this pasta with ingredients that you would normally pair with black beans, such as a southwestern ingredients.
Red Lentil Pasta
If you need another protein packed, gluten free pasta alternative that is also high in fiber, this is another delicious option. Just like black bean spaghetti, this pasta is a great source of plant based protein. Since there is not much of a dominant flavor in this pasta alternative, you can sub this pasta in for any dish you would make with regular pasta. However, be careful when purchasing bean based pasta, and make sure that beans and lentils are the first ingredient listed.
If the noodles you are purchasing are made from 100 percent buckwheat, they’ll be gluten-free. They contain more minerals, fiber and protein than your typical white pasta. Traditionally, these gluten-free noodles go really well with an Asian flavor profile. Try pairing buckwheat noodles with peanut sauces, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Thai sauces, cilantro, lime juice, and chili. These noodles are also excellent for meal preparation, if you store them correctly, so you can eat them throughout the week.
This is by far one of my favorite pasta alternatives on the market. Chickpea pasta does an excellent job of mimicking the flavor and texture of your standard pasta, making it the perfect substitution. You can pair this pasta with practically any dish, and several brands make and sell boxed chickpea mac and cheese in stores. This pasta is jam packed with protein, making it a perfect dish to have after a workout and will keep you full for a long time.
Brown Rice Pasta
If you want a pasta alternative with a completely neutral flavor, this is an excellent choice. Brown rice pasta is filled with good, hearty carbohydrates which make a great addition to any traditional pasta dish. While most brown rice pasta is gluten free, it’s best to check the packaging and ingredient list to make sure. The penne or ziti versions of brown rice pasta hold up well to your favorite traditional pasta toppings and sauces, making it an excellent alternative to your standard white pasta.
Edamame And Mung Bean Fettuccine
If you want a pasta alternative that is another great source of plant based protein, this is an excellent option to try the next time you want some gluten free pasta. This pasta is made from edamame, which is a young soybean, which is packed with protein. Edamame and mung bean fettuccine is fairly bland on its own, so you can pair it with any sauce or ingredients. Make sure you cook the pasta with olive oil, as it tends to stick together once it’s cooked completely.
As vegan and gluten free diets are rising in popularity, there are more and more gluten free and vegan pasta alternatives available in grocery stores. Whether you want a pasta with more flavor, more nutritional value, or with heartier nutritional values, hopefully this list gives you a solid idea of what options are available.
Lara Hill is a senior Public Relations major at Emerson College from Groton, Massachusetts. She has contributed to several college publications, holding multiple editing positions and focusing mainly on sports journalism. When she is not in class or writing, she loves to sail, watch sports with her friends and family, sing with her sisters, and play with her dog, Cassie.