How to Substitute Pasta with Vegetables
Once we leave winter behind, pasta dishes start to feel too heavy and difficult to digest. It's time to turn a new leaf. Spring sprouts, summer squashes and fall roots will feel like a fresh start - and turning them into a substitute for pasta is surprisingly easy! You can reduce the pasta you would use by half and substitute it with veggies, or simply forget pasta altogether.
An excellent base for all kinds of sauces, vegetables are good for all kinds of people and energy requirements, to control blood sugar and even for paleo diets. Plus, they are lower in carbs but higher in nutrients and fiber, so they are a healthier option. Read this Onehowto article to learn all the different ways to substitute pasta with vegetables.
Zucchini and Summer Squash
Zucchini and other varieties of summer squashes are the easiest option to substitute pasta with vegetables. They are easy to ribbon into noodles or wider fettuccine with a mandolin, a vegetable peeler or a julianne peeler. The spiralizer is very useful to create thin, long stripes that will make you forget you're not actually having spaghetti! However, there are easier ways to make zucchini noodles without one.
Once ribboned, you can boil the zucchini or squash for a few minutes and use them as a substitute for pasta with your favorite sauce; make thin sheets for lasagna or roll and fill them for cannelloni. They also make a great base for salads, with cheese dressings or simply drizzled with olive oil.
The easiest way to substitute pasta with vegetables is turning to the spaghetti squash, which doesn't require any kitchen tools. It can be cooked before or after cutting it into noodles (boil for 20-30 minutes, depending on your method). After the seeds are removed, the center can be ribboned by hand or with a fork. If uncooked, it can last for a very long time.
Cauliflower and Cabbage
Once boiled, cauliflower takes a texture similar to rice. It can be boiled and then baked with cheese, or used as a healthier substitute for pizza. It works with all toppings, and it's tastier!
Cabbage, shredded and steamed, works especially well with stronger sauces like pesto, bolognese, alfredo, mushroom - and basically any other sauce you can imagine.
Eggplants can be peeled like zucchini; sliced and roasted, they can even substitute bread in low-carb diets. They are also delicious when stuffed with meat and sprinkled with cheese and baked, or in moussaka.
Just like carrots and turnips, they can be roasted and spiced to make an excellent side dish.
To make the most of your ingredients, go beyond substituting pasta with vegetables and find the cooking style that fits your vegetables the most. Adding Italian-style sauces works well, but try stir-frying your vegetable noodles or simply sautéing them with olive oil, garlic and a pinch of salt. Vegetable pasta is also a good base for casserole.
Fresh veggies like cucumbers or carrots can be marinated with sweet and sour sauces, and you can take inspiration from Southeast Asia by adding cashews or peanuts. Roasted pumpkin or sesame seeds are also delicious.
Beans - from black to fresh sprouts - will add protein to your dish. They can substitute lean meat for complete veggie-ness.
Ready-made vegetable noodles
If you don't want to prepare your veggie noodles yourself and are looking for even easier ways to substitute pasta with vegetables, most big stores or supermarkets will have ready-made East Asian vegetable pasta. You can try shirataki noodles, made from konjac yam, which comes in jelly and are good if a bit rubbery. There are also tofu noodles, kelp noodles and mung bean noodles. They work especially well with Asian recipes - fried, with more other veggies, or maybe with chicken. They are all healthy and delicious!
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