With summer coming, many of us are on the search for those fresh and light dish ideas that will keep us looking trim and feeling healthy. A great change-up you can apply all year round is swapping out your typical pasta noodle for a veggie noodle – veggie noodles check all of the boxes when it comes to healthy, happy, and flavor!
What makes veggie noodles a great substitute for regular noodles? Here are just a few reasons that will have you tossing out those carb packed pasta noodles today.
Veggie Noodle Health Benefits
- Lower in carbs & sugar – veggie noodle substitutions wont heavily impact your blood sugar levels and waistline like that common pasta noodle might. You may not notice a difference right away but your metabolism will thank you later.
- Lower in calories – Less calories means you can indulge and eat a little more. Now you can enjoy that “Spaghetti” Alla Carbonara without feeling guilty.
- High in vitamins and minerals – You aren’t just getting necessary calories with veggie noodles, you are also nourishing your body. More vitamins and minerals will help support the healthy function of bodily processes like metabolism. The less empty calories in your diet the better.
- High water content – Vegetables contain large amounts of water, so eating your veggie spaghetti is also helping your hydration levels. This is especially important when the weather gets warmer and we tend to lose water faster!
- Lower in fat – the most commonly used veggie noodles (zucchini, carrot, palm hearts, spaghetti squash) are all low in fat but just as filling and delicious as normal pasta.
When you choose veggie noodles, you’re adding more vegetables to your diet without sacrificing flavor or eliminating your favorite dishes. Veggie noodles are also naturally gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto, low-carb, low-fat, and paleo so they can be added to almost everyone’s diet. Super easy & quick to make with a spiralizer they can also be purchased at most local grocery stores!
Now that you know “WHY” veggie noodles are so great here are 5 great recipes to incorporate them into your diet!
Guilt-Free Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta
- 4 medium zucchini (about 2 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 to 4 cloves)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like the pasta
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped, see note (about 12 ounces)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving, see notes for alternatives
- 1 cup basil leaves, torn into pieces
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- Salt, to taste
- Trim and spiralize the zucchini. Cut extra long noodles so that they are about the length of spaghetti.
- Add olive oil, garlic, and the red pepper flakes to a large, deep skillet. Turn to medium heat. When the oil begins to bubble around the garlic, add the zucchini noodles. Toss the noodles with pasta tongs and cook until al dente — they should be wilted, but still have a crunch; 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the noodles cook any longer or else they will become mushy. As they cook, keep tossing so that all the zucchini noodles have a chance to hit the bottom of the skillet.
- Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese. Cook for one minute. Use pasta tongs to transfer the noodles, tomatoes, and basil to a serving dish. Leave the liquid in the skillet.
- Bring the liquid left in the skillet to a simmer.
- Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl then whisk into the simmering liquid. Cook, while whisking until the liquid thickens to a sauce; about 1 minute.
- Taste the sauce and season with salt. Pour the sauce over the zucchini, tomatoes, and basil.
- Finish with more parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.
Original recipe and nutritional info can be found at https://www.inspiredtaste.net/29992/garlic-zucchini-pasta-recipe/
Keto Carbonara with Palm Heart Noodles
- 2 cans (225g) drained heart of palm noodles
- 6 slices bacon
- 2 medium eggs
- 50g (1/3 cup) parmesan cheese
- In a pan over medium heat, cook your bacon until your desired crunchiness or softness.
- While the bacon is cooking, stir together the eggs, parmesan and some salt/pepper in a small bowl.
- Thoroughly rinse the noodles.
- Once the bacon is done, set it aside but KEEP the grease in the pan.
- Pour the noodles into the pan with the bacon grease and stir to make sure all the noodles get coated.
- Cook until any extra liquid has been evaporated.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit a minute.
- Pour the egg mixture onto the noodles, stirring constantly so the egg does not scramble. If the pan is too hot, lift it up off the heat.
- Your egg will cook as you stir and become creamy.
- Once it’s hot and creamy, crumble in the bacon and mix.
- Top with extra parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and any other herbs like green onions!
Original recipe and nutritional info can be found at https://www.thehungryelephant.ca/2019/08/01/keto-carbonara/
3. Drunken Cucumber Noodles
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon Thai chili paste (I used sambal)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 8 ounces ground chicken
- 1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced root to stem
- 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 pound cucumbers, cut into noodles with a spiralizer on a medium setting
- 3 tablespoons fresh Thai basil leaves
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water, making sure there are no lumps. Stir in the hoisin, chili paste and sesame oil.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sauce mixture, bring to a simmer and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Reserve the sauce in a small bowl for later.
- Wipe out the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the peanut oil and when hot, add the chicken and cook until just browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet, stir in the sauce, tomatoes and scallions and cook for 1 minute more.
- Place the cucumber noodles in a large bowl and toss with the hot chicken mixture from the skillet directly before serving. Sprinkle with torn basil and serve.
Original recipe and nutritional info can be found at https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/drunken-cucumber-noodles-8597351
4. Spicy Spaghetti Squash Noodles
- 2 cans (or 27 oz) full fat coconut milk if you use lite coconut milk, add more arrowroot to thicken the sauce.
- 2-4 tablespoons arrowroot flour for thickening
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning I use Frontier brand
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 small white onion chopped in 1/4″ peices
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 medium cooked spaghetti squash see notes on how to cook
- 6 oz canned tuna salmon or chicken
- How to bake spaghetti squash: cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, use a large spoon to scrape the seeds from the center, lay face up on a baking tray, and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake on 450F for 25 minutes.
- In a fry pan, sauté chopped onions with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes until golden. Then add rest of sauce ingredients (except the arrowroot flour) and stir. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle arrowroot flour into sauce and whisk until sauce thickens (do not over cook, because the sauce will become too thick), then remove from heat.
- Add cooked spaghetti squash and tuna to sauce, combine, and serve!
Original recipe and nutritional info can be found at https://paleoglutenfree.com/recipes/spicy-spaghetti-squash-noodles/
5. Parsnip Shrimp Lo Mein
- 1 lb fresh parsnips
- 4 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 carrot (chopped, optional)
- 1 onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 cups green beans (fresh or frozen, chopped)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 2 TBSP coconut aminos
- 2 TBSP fish sauce (or oyster sauce)
- 2 TBSP honey (or maple syrup, optional)
- 1 lb shrimp (cooked)
- Cut the parsnips into curly noodle shapes using a spiral slicer. If you don’t have one of these, you can use a peeler, or just very thinly slice the parsnips.
- Melt the coconut oil in a large pan or wok.
- Add the chopped carrots and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the thinly sliced onion and green beans and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add parsnip noodles and continue sautéing on medium heat for 5-8 minutes until all ingredients are starting to soften.
- Add the garlic powder, pepper, salt, coconut aminos, fish sauce and honey and stir well.
- If shrimp are frozen, add them now and put a lid on the pan.
- If using defrosted pre-cooked shrimp, wait an additional 2 minutes and then add.
- Continue cooking until shrimp are hot and vegetables are all tender.
- Serve immediately.
Original recipe and nutritional info can be found at https://wellnessmama.com/13190/parsnip-shrimp-lo-mein/
By choosing veggie noodles, you’re adding vegetables to your diet without sacrificing flavor or eliminating your favorite dishes. Veggie noodles are naturally gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto, low-carb, low-fat, and paleo. They can be added to almost any pasta dish, and they are an excellent way to avoid empty calories.
Substituting unhealthy foods in your diet with healthy foods is an excellent way to improve your health! At Weight Loss Direct we encourage our community to actively look for healthier alternatives to their favorite foods. By making healthy food substitutions you get the satisfaction of eating your favorite foods without
Will you be willing to give veggies noodles a try? Share your results and tag @weightlossdirect on Facebook and Instagram! We want to see and share your delicious dishes!