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5 Veggie Noodle Recipes Guaranteed to Convert Any Carb Lover

low-carb pasta

When was the last time you met someone who didn’t like pasta? Maybe … never. If ever there was a universally adored food, it’d probably be pasta (with ice cream, chocolate, or pizza running close behind).

But while we can all appreciate a steamy bowl of ziti with mozzarella or linguine with clams, what some of us don’t love so much is the carb overload.

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Summer is the perfect time to sample alternatives to heavy flour-based pasta. So, the next time a craving for a big plate of Bolognese hits, have no fear! You can have your noodles and eat them, too.

There are plenty of low-carb pasta alternatives to whip up for casual backyard dinners and early autumn get-togethers. Best of all, these fresh and healthy options won’t leave you feeling sluggish or sorry for overindulging.

Prepare to fall in love with the voodle (aka the veggie noodle). I promise you, it’s easy to make and even easier to cook with — endlessly versatile and so delicious that no one will miss the rigatoni or ravioli.

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Here are a few of my favorite recipes for pasta-free “pasta” dinners to enjoy this summer and beyond!

Spaghetti Squash in White Wine and Mushroom Sauce

White wine and mushrooms are a delicious swap for your everyday marinara. And while it sounds like a complicated recipe, you really won’t believe how easy it is!

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Spaghetti Squash in White Wine and Mushroom Sauce

Start to finish: 75 minutes

Servings: 4

Did you know?
According to the USDA, a cup of cooked thin spaghetti has 210 calories and 41 g of carbohydrates. Instead, a cup of spaghetti squash only has 42 calories and 10 g of carbohydrates.

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional: shredded cheese for topping

Directions

  1. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise.
  2. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
  3. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F (204°C) for 45-60 minutes.
  4. While the squash is cooking, prepare the sauce in a pan.
  5. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic for 1 minute.
  6. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes to brown them. Add in the white wine. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. When the squash cools, scrape out with a fork and add to the sauce mixture. Add parsley and sauté for 5 minutes and serve topped with shredded cheese.

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs

Put a spin on classic spaghetti and meatballs with this low-carb version. It’s the same homey goodness of Grandma’s dish without the lethargic aftereffect.

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs

Start to finish: 1 hour

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Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 1/2 lb. ground grass-fed beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pasture-raised pork
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. cumin (less or more depending on your preference)
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise

For the sauce

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  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups organic tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Topping: 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

For the meatballs

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  1. To save time, mix the meat the night before and freeze half of it. This recipe makes extra meatballs and I like to freeze half so I can have some on hand in the freezer for next time I make this.
  2. In a large glass bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the egg. Add the egg at the end. I like to use my hands to mix the meat as I find it mixes the best this way.
  3. Form small meatballs and refrigerate them overnight. You can skip the refrigeration part if you’re making them for the same day.
  4. The following day, preheat oven to 450°F (232°C).
  5. Line a greased baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the meatballs. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.

For the spaghetti squash

  1. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. I suggest asking someone at the grocery store to cut it for you. It’s quite difficult and they’ll be happy to do it.
  2. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon and season lightly with sea salt and black pepper. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F (204°C) for 45 minutes, until soft. While the squash is cooking, prepare the sauce in a pan.
  3. Sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove squash from the oven and cool for a few minutes.
  6. Scrape the squash with a fork, which will look like spaghetti strands. Add part of the tomato sauce and mix with the fork.
  7. Place the meatballs inside the squash boats.
  8. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and garnish with basil.
  9. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and broil for 2 minutes so the cheese is nice and melted.

Zoodles with Lentil Bolognese

This is a must for vegetarians and veggie lovers of all kinds! The lentils Bolognese give an added boost of protein to this nutritious dish, so no one misses out.

Zoodles with Lentil Bolognese

Start to finish: 20 minutes

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Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can organic lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar organic tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 zucchinis, spiralized

Optional topping: grated Parmesan cheese

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Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, onions, and carrots to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the mushroom and cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils and tomato sauce to the pan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat and add the basil and parsley to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Using a spiralizer, spiralize the zucchini into noodles. In a separate skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil and lightly sauté the zoodles, until soft.
  7. Plate zoodles and top with lentil Bolognese.

Pesto Zoodles with Grilled Shrimp

Pesto sauce is especially delicious during summer, when you can take advantage of fresh basil that’s in season. The grilled shrimp is equally light and fresh, so you can serve this up for lunch or dinner.

Pesto Zoodles with Grilled Shrimp

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Did you know?
In one study, men and women who were given a low-carb diet for four weeks experienced significant decreases in body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, body fat ratio, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and triglyceride and insulin levels. Another study suggests that low-carb diets could even reduce some low-grade inflammation of type 2 diabetes.

Ingredients

For the pesto

  • 3 cups basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp. Greek plain yogurt
  • 4 tbsp. pine nuts

For the asparagus

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the shrimp

  • 1/2 lb. wild shrimp
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon/lime
  • squeeze of lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the zoodles

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

For the pesto

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. If the consistency isn't smooth enough, slowly add a little more olive oil. Set aside.

For the asparagus

  1. Set the oven to a high broil.
  2. Lay the asparagus on a baking sheet covered with foil and top with the dressing. Cook on a high broil for 6-7 minutes.

For the shrimp

Marinade the shrimp in the seasoning and cook on the grill over medium to high heat, about 2-3 minutes on each side.

For the zoodles

  1. Cut the noodles after spiralized — they’ll be very long otherwise. Place them on a paper towel and squeeze out excess water (they’re 95 percent water-based).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the zucchini and cook for 3-5 minutes, until al dente or cooked to your preference.
  3. Add the pesto and gently toss in the shrimp and asparagus. Turn off heat and serve.

Vegan Kelp Noodles with Pesto

Vegan Kelp Noodles with Pesto

Not only are these noodles delicious and perfect for the vegan diner, research has also shown kelp be full of essential amino acids, vitamin A, and vitamin E. It’s a win-win!

Start to finish: 24 hours to soak kelp noodles, 10 minutes to prep

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the noodles

  • 1 package of kelp noodles (I use Sea Tangle)
  • 1/2 lemon

For the pesto

  • 3 cups basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced

Directions

  1. Wash kelp noodles in cold water and trim them with kitchen scissors. Soak noodles in a large bowl filled with water and the juice of half a lemon for 24 hours in the fridge.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Mix the pesto with kelp noodles and refrigerate until ready to serve. The noodles will soften by letting them sit for an hour or two with the pesto sauce. They taste even better the next day.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms for about 3-4 minutes until tender. Top kelp noodles with mushrooms and serve.

All of these low-carb recipes are phenomenal. Trust me when I tell you, these recipes are so flavorful you won’t even notice you’re not eating the real thing — and your insides will thank you for it!

I absolutely love pasta, but to maintain good health, I can’t eat it all the time. Instead, I like to find ways to get creative and make pasta-inspired dishes like the recipes above. What are your favorite low-carb pasta alternatives?


Neda Varbanova

Neda Varbanova is a certified health coach, recipe developer, and luxury travel expert. Neda believes that healthy eating, regular exercise, and a positive mindset are the keys to feeling your best. You can find her living this healthy lifestyle all over the world. In 2015, Neda created HealthywithNedi.com as a place to share her figure-friendly recipes, nutrition and wellness tips, and luxury travel guides. Follow her on Instagram @healthywithnedi.

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