Everyone has a certain food they crave when they’ve had a stressful day, are down in the dumps, or are just plain starving. For many people it’s chocolate. For me – it’s pasta. In my mind there is nothing more comforting than digging into a heaping bowl of noodles drowning in marinara sauce. I don’t even discriminate when it comes to shape. Bowtie, penne, linguini, spaghetti, and elbow macaroni are all fair game. If I’m feeling adventurous I may even throw a few vegan meatballs into the mix. I just can’t get enough.
While indulging in a pasta dinner every once in a while aligns with a healthy vegan meal plan, eating an excessive amount of refined grains is bad for your system. Luckily, there are a number of healthier ways you can fulfill your pasta craving without sending your blood sugar and insulin levels into a tailspin. Disclaimer: I am well aware that nothing compares to the taste and texture of pasta straight from the box. However, you’ll feel lighter and have more energy if you swap refined grains for these plant-based, vegan pasta alternatives. They’re good — we promise. Give ‘em a try!
Spaghetti Squash is one of the most fun veggies to prepare. After removing the seeds and roasting the squash, gently scrape the inside with a fork. “Spaghetti” strands should come loose as you scrape all the way down to the flesh. Sauce can make spaghetti squash kind of mushy, so keep your dish simple by lightly tossing the strands with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and a squeeze of lemon. Add chickpeas and kale to make it a full meal. Love & Lemons has a fantastic recipe, which you can find here.
Made from the konjac yam, Shirataki noodles are low-cal, low-carb, and have a satisfying chewy texture. This recipe from Vegetarian Times is based on Thai drunken noodles. It’s sure to satisfying your every craving for a sweet and spicy pasta dish. You can see the recipe for Spicy Shirataki Noodles here. Shirataki noodles can be purchased through Amazon and at most Asian food stores.
Zucchini was my first foray into the world of vegan pasta alternatives. I used a nifty gadget I bought on Amazon called the Zyliss Julienne Peeler, which resembles a standard vegetable peeler with little teeth on it. If you want to be really fancy you can use a spiralizer. An everyday vegetable peeler will work, too. This recipe for Zucchini Pasta with Avocado Pesto from My Whole Food Life would be a good place to start experimenting.
Black Bean Spaghetti
Black Bean Spaghetti is a great pasta alternative for those with diabetes. With only 5 net carbohydrates per serving, you can fill your plate without worrying about your blood sugar going through the roof. Plus, Black Bean Spaghetti is high in protein and fiber! Top with your favorite sauce or let the flavor of the noodles come through by adding a touch of olive oil, garlic and fresh parsley. You can buy Black Bean Spaghetti on Amazon. I’ve also found it at Whole Foods.