I think we can all agree that a big bowl of pasta is one of life’s greatest joys. And for those of you who are following a keto, low carb, or gluten free diet, you don’t have to miss out! Let’s review the best pasta alternatives out there. No matter what recipe you have in mind, I promise you’ll find something here to satisfy your cravings.
Ditching carbs and gluten isn’t always easy for the pasta loving heart. Even though traditional wheat pasta is eliminated with low carb, keto, gluten free and grain free diets, there are many pasta alternatives to choose from! This guide will show you some of the most popular low carb noodles, keto noodles, and gluten free noodles plus 14 great recipes to try out!
First, let’s clarify the difference between keto, low carb, and gluten free.
- Keto is a high fat, low carb diet that aims to get your body burning fat as its main source of energy. On a keto diet you will usually limit your carb intake to less than 50g per day.
- Low carb is a term that is more open to interpretation. Low carb diets aim to cut down on carbs such as bread and pasta. This may look similar to keto as people might opt to eat more proteins and healthy fats.
- Gluten-free is a diet that fully excludes all gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat and other grains such as rye, barley, and spelt.
So, is gluten free pasta low carb?
Not always. While a lot of foods that contain gluten are high in carbs, there are still plenty of high carb foods, such as potatoes, rice and oats that are completely gluten free! With that being said, let’s take a look at the best low carb and gluten free pasta alternatives!
Option 1: Chickpea Pasta
- Approximately 40g net carbs per 100g serving
- Best for quick weeknight dinners, and kid-friendly recipes
Chickpea pasta was one of the first gluten free pasta alternatives to hit the grocery store shelves. Made from only 4 ingredients, chickpea pasta is what gluten-free dreams are made of! For those following a gluten-free diet, chickpea pasta is a staple.
Chickpea pasta is easy to prepare, as you can cook it in the same way as regular pasta. It tastes fairly similar to wholewheat pasta, but it can begin to lose its pasta-like texture when it’s over cooked or reheated. Compared to the other contenders on this list, chickpea pasta is relatively higher in carbs. Even so, chickpea pasta has a low glycemic index of just 44 and could fit into your meal planning on a keto diet.
While chickpea pasta might be slightly higher in carbs, it’s also packed with protein, fiber, iron, potassium and lots of healthy vitamins. Basically a superfood!
I recommend Banza chickpea pasta.
Option 2: Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta
- Approximately 72g net carbs per 100g serving
- Best out and out pasta replacement for a gluten free diet
My personal favorite of the pasta alternatives is gluten free brown rice pasta. Made with only brown rice flour and water, these low carb noodles are the real deal.
Although brown rice pasta has much fewer carbs than traditional pasta, its carb count, like chickpea pasta, is still relatively high. Depending on how strict you are with your keto diet, you may want to count this one out. But if you’re looking for one gluten free pasta that’s most similar to the typical pasta you know and love, brown rice pasta is it.
I used brown rice pasta in my carbonara recipe, which is always a hit! Pair it with your favorite sauce and it’ll be sure to impress.
I recommend Jovial brown rice pasta.
Option 3: Zucchini Noodles
- Approximately 2.1g net carbs per 100g serving
- Best for incorporating more green vegetables into your diet
Also known as zoodles or courgetti, spiralized zucchini noodles are by far the most common pasta alternative. You can even get zoodles at Noodles & Co! Zucchini noodles are wildly popular as a keto noodle due to their significantly low carb count and low calorie count.
Zucchini noodles are a great low carb, gluten free option because of their mild taste and a texture that mimics traditional pasta quite well. Zucchini noodles will also absorb the flavor of any delicious sauce you cook them in. The only challenge with zucchini noodles is that they require a little more finesse when cooking to avoid a soggy or watery pasta. Otherwise, these are a great pasta alternative!
The good news is that they are incredibly easy to make yourself if you have a spiralizer. If you don’t mind a few extra carbs, you can use the same method to make spiralized sweet potatoes, carrots or, for summery dishes, cucumber!
This is my favorite spiralizer.
Option 4: Egg Noodles
- Less than 2g net carbs per serving
- Best for lasagnas and soaking up rich, flavorful sauces
Moving onto a great keto option, we have egg noodles. Not to be confused with the curly, ramen-like noodles your mom probably used to feed you, these egg noodles are basically, well, eggs! Not to brag, but my original keto egg noodles recipe is consistently the top hit in a Google search!
These keto noodles are simply eggs, cream cheese, and xanthan gum. If you eat them plain, they’ll certainly taste eggy, but these egg noodles are unbeatable when it comes to absorbing all the deliciousness of a homemade sauce, whether it’s a marinara or a carbonara! You can whip these egg noodles up in less than 10 minutes, no boiling required!
The best part about egg noodles is that you can cut them into any shape you want. I even use it in my keto lasagna!
There are very easy to make, just follow my recipe.
Option 5: Konjac/Shirataki Noodles
- 0g net carbs per serving!
- Best for Asian dishes, noodle soups, and cutting calories.
Next up on the low carb pasta alternatives list are konjac noodles, also called shirataki noodles. These are plant-based noodles and are commonly found in Japanese and Korean cuisine.
Konjac noodles sometimes receive bad press for their unique texture– they are somewhat gelatinous and definitely chewier than regular pasta or spaghetti. Some variations of shirataki noodles might also be glassy, so they might not be the best for saucy pasta recipes. However, they are especially delicious in Asian dishes like stir-fried noodles or cold noodle salads. I think these are best used in my keto lo mein!
Shirataki noodles are widely used as keto noodles but can also be used for gluten free recipes. Not only is this the one pasta alternative on the list coming in at zero carbs, it’s also zero calorie and 100% gluten free!
These are my favorite konjac noodles.
Option 6: Hearts of Palm Noodles
- Approximately 2.5g net carbs per 100g serving
- Best plant based alternative for when you’re tired of zoodles
Another relatively new kid on the pasta alternatives block are hearts of palm noodles. These are a fantastic keto noodle option because they are extremely low in carbs and completely gluten free.
Photo Credit: Palmini Pasta on Amazon
Similar to konjac noodles, hearts of palm noodles are best when rinsed, seasoned, and cooked properly. You might notice a slight earthy smell when you open a package of heart of palm noodles, but I promise they’re delicious. Heart of palm noodles have a similar texture to zucchini noodles, and are equally great for soaking up all the flavors of whatever you’re cooking.
Heart of palm noodles have a slight artichoke flavor, which I think makes them taste extra sophisticated. Perfect for a pasta puttanesca!
I recommend the Palmini Linguine, they are great.
Option 7: Spaghetti Squash
- Approximately 5g net carbs per 100g serving
- Best for pasta bakes and casseroles
Last but certainly not least is everyone’s beloved spaghetti squash. This wintertime vegetable made its comeback several years ago and it is here to stay!
Spaghetti squash is a popular plant-based alternative that can fit into low carb, keto, and gluten free diets alike. It’s super easy to prepare, and always delicious. Simply roast your spaghetti squash, then use a fork to scrape the squash into strands.
Spaghetti squash does well in the oven or slow cooker, so it’s great for recipes like my Instant Pot spaghetti casserole! I recommend these ones.
I hope this comprehensive list of keto, low carb, and gluten free pasta alternatives is helpful! I’ll keep this list updated as new products come out in the coming times. In the meantime, checkout all of the yummy ways you can use these various pasta alternatives.
Traditional pasta is not compatible with the keto diet. Pasta is a source of carbohydrates that the keto diet doesn’t allow. But you can opt for pasta or noodles that’s made from keto-friendly ingredients. Veggies such as cauliflower, zucchini, cucumber, and squash can all be great alternatives. But if you don’t want to use veggies, eggs can also be a great choice for noodles.
A keto diet consists of high-protein and high-fat food. It also eliminates food that contains carbohydrates to put your body in keto state. Unfortunately, gluten-free pasta is made from high-carb ingredients. These ingredients are rice, corn, or quinoa which are not keto-friendly. Eating these will spike your blood sugar which will kick you out of ketosis. So, stay away from gluten-free pasta if you plan on maintaining your keto diet.
A highly popular legume chickpeas also known as garbanzos beans are naturally high in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Which can be very beneficial for a healthy and balanced diet. But it is also high in carbohydrates even in small portions. This legume will stop your body from going through ketosis. Though chickpea pasta can be a great gluten-free alternative, it is not compatible with the keto diet.
Easy Keto Egg Noodles | Keto In Pearls | Sides
Sunday 21st of March 2021
[…] do have a couple of different pasta options when you need a pasta fix. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post about allllll the different noodle options for a low carb and keto diet. Included in that post are […]
Keto Carbonara Pasta Two Ways (Low Carb, Gluten Free) | Keto In Pearls
Wednesday 17th of March 2021
[…] Check out this blog post for the ultimate guide to low carb pasta alternatives […]