going grain-free can be tough.
When I discovered that kicking grains and dairy to the curb could get rid of my cystic acne for good, I never looked back. And down the road, when I realized my digestion improved and my anxiety all but disappeared, even better.
But many people tell me that pasta is one of the hardest things for them to give up. So I have a few ideas…
If you’re also trying to increase your veggie intake (and who isn’t?!) zucchini noodles are a great place to start. The taste is so mild that it works with any type of sauce. I usually cook mine for just a few minutes in a big pan in a little bit of olive or avocado oil to soften them, then add the sauce. You could even cook them directly in the sauce if you like.
Zucchini is already a staple in Italian cuisine, and the flavor is perfect with traditional, tomato based sauces. You could brown some grass fed ground beef, stir in some jarred organic marinara sauce (Wegmans makes a good one), pour it over some zucchini noodles and have a great meal.
You can make your own zucchini noodles with any number of special tools (Vegetti, Spiralizer, etc.) or you can do what I did for a few years and just use a julienne cutter. Or take the easy way out and just buy the precut ones that most grocery stores carry.
Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C and carotenoid antioxidants. It also contains potassium and B vitamins.
A warning about those precut zucchini noodles…they turn to mush in the fridge pretty quickly. So buy them a day or two before you plan to make them.
Another interesting pasta substitute is kelp noodles. I tried and liked these years ago, then kind of forgot about them. Mark Hyman mentioned them in The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook and I decided to try them again.
Kelp noodles are made from nothing but kelp (seaweed) and sodium alginate, a salt derived from brown seaweed. They are ridiculously low in calories (6 calories per four ounce serving.)
To use kelp noodles, all you have to do is soften them. I put some in a pot, covered them with water, brought it to a boil, and turned off the heat. Then just let them sit for a few minutes before draining.
Kelp noodles have an interesting crunchy texture and virtually no flavor. I don’t really see myself using them with a traditional pasta sauce. They would be perfect for any type of Asian inspired sauce…like Thai peanut, or anything with a little miso or sesame. And I can totally see myself throwing them in salads over the summer.
But for me, the holy grail of pasta substitutes is Organic Edamame Spaghetti from Explore Cuisine. The only ingredient is organic edamame. Now, I avoid highly processed soy. But I don’t feel this falls into that category. The edamame beans are dried and ground into flour, then used to make spaghetti.
The texture is very close to regular pasta, and they taste amazing. Edamame pasta is awesome topped with a generous pat of Kerrygold Butter, or drizzled with Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil. Sprinkle with a little Himalayan salt and you’re good to go! I found the edamame pasta to be extremely filling.
I ate some a few nights ago topped with red clam sauce…sooooo good!
In addition to tasting amazing, the edamame spaghetti contains a whopping 25 grams of protein. It only has 11 grams of net carbs, due to the high fiber content. Bear in mind these are not Whole30 compliant, since they are still a soy product.
So where do you find all these crazy ingredients? Zucchini noodles are widely available in most produce sections these days, or you can easily make them yourself. For my local Central PA friends, I have found the Edamame Spaghetti in the natural sections of Giant and Wegmans, and Thrive Market carries it as well (at a much better price!) I ordered the kelp noodles from Thrive Market, but they are also available on Amazon.
Get creative and see what works for you! If you’ve tried any of these ideas I’d love to hear from you.
Can using pasta made from zucchini, kelp or edamame help you feel happy, healthy and hot? Of course it can!
You’ll be happy trying something fun and new. Zucchini, kelp and edamame all have legitimate benefits that will help you stay healthy, and using them as a substitute for starchier carbs can even help you lose weight. With that awesome body you’ll be hot for sure!
SHOP THE POST
Thrive Market This is my one-stop-shop for happy, healthy and hot essentials. I love having my coconut oil, sardines, and whatever other crazy stuff I’m into delivered right to my door in cute packaging!
The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook Great book from Mark Hyman, MD if you are looking for some new recipes. His health philosophy is very similar to my own, and his books do a great job of explaining the science in a way that makes sense.