Do low-carb noodles sound too good to be true? Wait until you try these keto-friendly substitutes that will make you forget you’re on a diet.

Pasta lovers can all relate to the pain of having to say goodbye (or at least cut back on) traditional noodles. They just taste oh-so-good. Not to mention those rainy, stressful days. Or just any day! There’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of savory noodles.

But here’s a fact: Traditional noodles are a source of refined carbohydrates. One study showed that overconsumption of instant noodles causes an individual to be at risk for a cardiometabolic disease 1.

The good news is, you don’t have to give up noodles entirely. There are keto-approved alternatives that can be enjoyed every single day of the week.

Ready for some noodle goodness? Dig in.

1. Zucchini noodles

Zoodles for short, zucchini noodles refer to zucchini that’s cut into long, thin strands. To make zoodles, you’ll need to use a handheld spiralizer.

I love how zucchini can be used to create almost all kinds of dishes, especially pasta. For example, you could throw in some tomatoes, parmesan cheese, garlic, and basil for an Italian-inspired meal.

Nutritional info (1 cup)
Net carbs: 2.4g
Protein: 1.4g
Fat: 0.4g

 

Zucchini isn’t just keto-friendly (since it’s low-carb), but it’s also rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and potassium.


2. Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is another popular noodle alternative for ketoers. You’ll love the fact that it has a great flavor plus flesh that’s just like spaghetti. Amazing, right?

Nutritional info (1 cup)
Net carbs: 5.5g
Protein: 0.6g
Fat: 0.6g

 

There are various ways to cook spaghetti squash. But in order to retain its original flavor, it’s best to bake it in the oven. Once cooked, take out the spaghetti-like strands using a fork!


3. Egg noodles

Those who are uncomfortable using veggies for keto pasta will be delighted with egg noodles. Yep – you’ve read it correctly. Egg pasta is made by blending eggs, cream cheese, and gluten. After blending the mixture, you’re going to bake it and cut into your desired noodle shape.

Nutritional info (1 cup)
Net carbs: 3.5g
Protein: 22g
Fat: 24g

 

Eggs are not just an inexpensive keto-friendly food, but they’re also very healthy. Eggs contain vitamins, minerals, and quality protein 2.


4. Shirataki noodles

Shirataki may sound fancy, but they’re simple to prepare!

These noodles are available in many supermarket chains, which means you don’t need to make them from scratch. Just open a pack and rinse well under running water to remove the plant odor.

Nutritional info (1 cup)
Net carbs: 9.3g
Protein: 0.8g
Fat: 0g

 

Shirataki noodles are made from glucomannan which is dietary fiber that comes from the konjac plant. Study shows that it lowers glucose and triglyceride levels and promotes weight loss 3.


5. Mung bean noodles

Mung bean noodles are commonly known as “glass noodles” because of their translucent appearance. These noodles are lower in carbs compared to traditional pasta.

But because they’re slightly higher in carbs than most of the options on this list, I would recommend being strategic with their consumption.

Nutritional info (½ cup)
Net carbs: 19g
Protein: 0g
Fat: 0g

 

They’re best eaten around a tough, glycogen-depletion workout. If you’re following a Targeted Keto Diet, mung bean noodles are great.


6. Cucumber noodles

Cucumber noodles are what you think they are: Spiralized cucumbers. I love cucumbers because they’re a zero-prep food and pair well with various ingredients. For example, garlic, shrimps, mayonnaise, parsley, and spices.

Nutritional info (1 cup)
Net carbs: 3.3g
Protein: 0.7g
Fat: 0.1g

 

Eating cucumbers is a great way to refresh yourself. They’re low in calories and contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and manganese 4.


7. Seaweed pasta

Seaweed or kelp noodles are great for those who love seafood. They’re also ready-made (available in packs at grocery stores) which makes them a convenient choice. Like shirataki noodles, you need to rinse them with water to remove the liquid they’re submerged in.

Nutritional info (½ cup)
Net carbs: 2g
Protein: 0g
Fat: 0g

 

There are plenty of Asian-inspired recipes to make using kelp noodles. If you can’t resist a good ramen bowl, kelp noodles will come to your rescue.


8. Cabbage noodles

Cabbage is one of the best low-carb veggies on a keto diet. To make noodles out of cabbage, simply cut cabbage into quarters, then cut into strips. As a versatile vegetable, cabbage goes well with any kind of meat.

Nutritional info (1 cup)
Net carbs: 2.3g
Protein: 0.9g
Fat: 0.1g

 

It contains high amounts of vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that may help improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism 5.


9. Kohlrabi noodles

Kohlrabi is of the same species as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Slightly sweet in taste, it’s often used in salads and soups. Trying to meet your macronutrient needs on keto? This vegetable is an excellent choice.

Nutritional info (1 cup)
Net carbs: 3.5g
Protein: 2.3g
Fat: 0.1g

 

To make kohlrabi noodles, use a spiralizer to cut it into thin strips. Mix them with bacon, butter, onions, butter, and parmesan cheese for a delightful meal!


10. Eggplant noodles

Eggplant, anyone? When it comes to low carb noodles, eggplant would be the last thing on your mind. That’s because eggplant has a mushy texture and can be quite challenging to spiralize.

If you’re patient enough though, you can prepare a tasty eggplant noodle dish – Tomato basil eggplant noodles, for example.

Nutritional info (1 cup)
Net carbs: 2.3g
Protein: 0.8g
Fat: 0.1g

 

Eggplant is a wonderful addition to your veggies on keto. Study shows that eggplant contains compounds that reduce inflammation and control blood sugar levels 6.

Summary

When you find yourself craving for pasta (but you know you can’t have it), these low-carb alternatives make healthy and nutritious options. If you’ve got more time for prepping, go ahead and spiralize keto-friendly veggies. Struggling with a busy schedule? Buy a pack of shirataki or kelp noodles instead!

REFERENCES:

  1. Huh IS et al. Instant noodle consumption is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors among college students in Seoul. 2017 May 24 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449380/

  2. Kuang H et al. The Impact of Egg Nutrient Composition and Its Consumption on Cholesterol Homeostasis. 2018 August 23 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6126094/

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