Fitness Nutrition Forums

10 Keto-Friendly Pasta Alternatives

Are you following a keto diet or are just trying to cut carbs and think you can't have pasta?

If you are trying to limit your carbohydrates, you may think you have to completely give up pasta dishes. However, there are a variety of lower-carb pasta swaps out there these days.

Palmini Noodles

These pasta imposters are fairly new to the low-carb scene. They are simply made of hearts of palm sliced into linguine shapes and canned in water and salt. This plant-based pasta substitute is ready to eat (already cooked, just needs to be rinsed), gluten-free, and non-GMO. A 75-gram serving contains 20 calories, 0 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Kelp Noodles

These low-carb noodles are free from the top 8 allergens. They are made from sea kelp, which is rich in minerals. They are a bit different from the other noodles on this list in that they keep their firm texture even when cooked. They are ready to eat directly from the package. I would recommend them for salads, casseroles, and stir-fry dishes. They can also be consumed by those following a raw foods eating plan.

A four-ounce serving contains only 6 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, 35 milligrams of sodium, and 15 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C.

Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles)

As their cute name implies, zoodles are just zucchinis that have been shaped into noodles using a spiralizer. You easily place the washed zucchini into your spiralizer and keep turning it clockwise so that you end up with noodles. Because zucchini is so mild tasting, it will take on the flavor of whatever sauces, herbs, and spices you add to it. Considering a large zucchini (11.4 ounces) contains only 55 calories, 1 gram of fat, 11.3 grams of carbs, 3.2 grams of filling fiber, and 3.9 grams of protein, these easy-to-make pasta replacements can be seamlessly incorporated into a healthy eating pattern.

Mung Bean Noodles

This filling, nutritious alternative to regular pasta is made from mung beans, green soybeans, and water. Not only is it lower in carbs, it’s also high in fiber and protein and is gluten-free. Mung bean noodles are sold under the brand name Zeroodle (Zeroodle also makes black bean fettuccine and soybean fettuccine, as well as shirataki noodles). A 50-gram serving (1/4 of the package) provides 188 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrate, a whopping 15 grams of fiber, and an impressive 21 grams of protein. Talk about a nutrient-powerhouse!

Almond Flour Pasta

This pasta is made much in the same way that regular pasta is prepared except you use almond flour instead of all-purpose or wheat flour. Almond flour pasta is low in carbohydrates but high in heart-healthy fats. To make all of your favorite Italian dishes a little more slimming, try this easy four-ingredient pasta recipe at home. All you need is almond flour, tapioca starch, eggs, and water.


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 cups tapioca starch (you'll need extra for kneading)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water


1. Whisk almond flour and tapioca starch together. Create a well in the center. Crack in two eggs and a small bit of water. Using a fork, whisk eggs together and slowly incorporate flour until dough is thick enough you can hand-knead it. If dough is too dry, add water (1 tbsp at a time).
2. Transfer dough to clean workstation, dust area with tapioca flour. Knead dough until smooth. If the dough is sticky, add a little tapioca flour and knead more.

3. Roll into a ball and let rest about 30 minutes. Roll out thinly with a rolling pin and cut into strips.

4. Boil in salted water for 1 minute. When pasta floats to the top, drain and top with sauce.

Shirataki Noodles

You may see these advertised as “zero calorie noodles.” Shirataki noodles that originated in Japan are made from konjac yams. The konjac jelly these noodles are cut from is very common throughout Asia but they are becoming increasingly popular among those following a keto diet because they are naturally gluten-free, low in carbs, and low in total calories. These noodles contain glucomannan, a fiber that helps you feel full. A 3-ounce serving contains 0 calories and less than 1 gram of carbohydrate.

Cucumber Noodles

If you already have a spiralizer (and if you don’t, what are you waiting for?), these are super easy. One large cucumber (301 grams) contains just 45 calories, zero fat, 2 grams of protein, 11 grams of carbohydrate, and 1.5 grams of fiber. Cucumber noodles are best served cold and taste delicious with a vinaigrette dressing. Try a mixture of sesame oil, white wine vinegar, and a little soy sauce for a quick yummy dressing to drizzle over cucumber noodles. Top with crushed peanuts for some crunch and you've got a healthy side dish.

Spaghetti Squash

For a low-carb pasta alternative that is incredibly easy to make and easy to find in any local grocery store, pick up a nutrient-dense spaghetti squash. You simply cut it in half, bake it, and scrape out the noodle-like flesh on the inside and top it with your favorite sauce. One cup of cooked spaghetti squash contains only 42 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 2.2 grams of fiber, 0.4 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and also provides some vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and B vitamins.

To prepare, simply wash and cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place flesh-side down in a baking dish and fill with about 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Scrape out the flesh and use in any place you’d use traditional pasta. A pro-tip for leftover spaghetti squash: sauté in a skillet with a small amount of oil until golden brown for a low-carb hash-brown replacement.

Butternut Squash Noodles

You can quickly spiralize the flesh of a butternut squash for more nutrient-dense, lower-carb version of noodles compared to traditional pasta made from flour. Butternut squash is loaded with vitamins A and C as well as potassium, folate, and fiber. For the best results, pick out a long, straight squash. A one-cup serving (140 grams) of butternut squash contains 63 calories, zero fat, 1.4 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of filling fiber.

Tofu Shirataki Noodles

These are sold under several brand names, including Miracle Noodle and House Foods. Tofu shirataki noodles are made from soybeans (hence the name tofu) and konjac yam root flour. A four-ounce serving contains 10 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of protein. If you eat the entire bag just double those stats as the bag does say it contains two servings (still, 20 calories in the whole bag is amazing). They come packed in water and need to be thoroughly rinsed before you use them as they do have a funky smell at first. I promise they do not taste like they smell. They can be used in both hot and cold recipes, but I suggest stir-frying them for about a minute first for best flavor and texture, even if you do plan to serve them in a cold dish. You can buy them in a variety of styles, including angel hair, fettuccine, spaghetti, and macaroni.

[Image via iStock/Getty]

{{ oArticle.title }}

{{ oArticle.subtitle }}