Whether it’s because you’re trying to lower your carb intake, or simply because you are gluten free, food substitution is a natural place to start. Sometimes it can be hard to completely eliminate meals from your diet, so finding that middle balance is a great way to maintain consistency and success. Here are some ways you can substitute pasta, that are actually super tasty:
1. Eggplant Noodles
Eggplant is low in calories, but high in fibre making it a great option for substitution. Start by peeling the eggplant, and cutting of the stem. Finely cut or use a mandoline slicer until they are of a noodle thickness. Rinse the eggplant thoroughly, squeeze out excess water and pat dry using a thin cloth. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, and set it to a medium heat. Add garlic or seasonings of your choice and then add the eggplant. Toss until the noodles are soft (approximately 10 minutes), and then transfer to a bowl. Add your choice of sauce and season to taste.
Quinoa is a great option to swap in for pasta because it has such a long shelf life. You don’t have to purchase quinoa and use it right away. In order to cook it, start by rinsing the quinoa under cold water for 2 minutes. Next, put the quinoa in a pot and add salted water. Make sure that the water to quinoa ratio is doubled. For every cup of quinoa, you should add 2 cups of water. Set to a medium heat, and wait until the water begins to boil. Reduce to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed into the quinoa. Transfer to a bowl, add your choice of pasta sauce and season to taste.
3. Rice Noodles
While rice noodles are easy to make, they are cooked slightly differently than your typical wheat noodles. Start by adding 4 cups of water in a pot and placing it at medium heat. Put the noodles in a separate pot without heat. Once the water begins to boil, pour the water into the pot with the noodles and allow them to cook (without any heat.) Stir frequently and keep an eye on the noodles as it usually only takes 7-10 minutes to cook depending on their thickness. Taste a noodle before removing from the water to make sure they are properly cooked. Drain water, and add the noodles to a serving bowl. Lightly pat noodles to dry, add pasta sauce and the seasonings of your choice.
4. Spaghetti Squash
One of the more underrated vegetables, but extremely delicious to cook. Start by preheating the oven to 400ºF. Poke holes in your squash with a fork and place it in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Once it is soft enough to cut, remove from the microwave and slice the squash in half. Place both halves on a baking tray and remove the seeds from the squash. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Rotate the squash so that it is cut side down for approximately 40-45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, and then use a fork to scrap out the squash flesh. Use the squash as your bowl or alternatively, place spaghetti noodles in a separate serving bowl. Add the sauce and seasonings of your choice.
Zucchini is a source of potassium and a great alternative to pasta noodles. To make these noodles, start by spiralling 4 zucchinis by using a vegetable spiralizer or a knife and cut finely. Note: it’s best to not to peel the zucchini because otherwise the noodles have the potential to turn mushy. Place the noodles in a colander, and let them sit for about 25 minutes in order for an excess moisture to drain. Remove the noodles from the colander, place them on a cloth and pat dry. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan at medium heat. Add the zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes while tossing them in the pan. You don’t want to cook them too long, otherwise they will be too soft. Place the zucchini in a serving bowl and add the sauce and seasonings of your choice.