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7 guilt-Free Pasta Recipes

Pasta is one of the most popular dishes in the world, and rightfully so – it’s easy to make, delicious, and the sauce options are numerous. But between you and me, who’s going to settle for the recommended portion (1 cup)?

We usually gobble down a small mountain of pasta and end up consuming more carbs than the recommended amount. There’s no need to avoid pasta entirely, especially if you use whole-grain pasta, but you can also substitute it for the ultimate low-carb solution: Vegetables! Some of the hard vegetables in your pantry can be turned into a perfect pasta substitute. These replacements are great for both people on a diet and those who are sensitive to gluten. All you need is a vegetable peeler and a good pasta sauce recipe.

1. Baked Spaghetti Squash in Garlic and Butter

Spaghetti squash got its name for the stringy texture its flesh gets when it is cooked, which resembles spaghetti noodles. This makes it a perfect substitute for pasta, and it can be found in most places nowadays. By adding butter and garlic to this already-delicious vegetable, you turn it into a celebration of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped basil / parsley / mix
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt (for taste)

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) degrees.
  • Use a knife to make a few small holes in the squash.
  • Bake the squash for an hour, or until you can easily push a knife into it.
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  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Split the squash in half (vertically) and remove the seeds.
  • Scrape the flesh with a fork to form “noodles” (if it’s difficult, put the squash back in the oven for 10 more minutes).
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  • In a large frying pan, melt a tablespoon of butter and use it to fry the garlic over a low heat.
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  • When the garlic starts to brown, add the parsley/basil, salt, and the squash spaghetti.
  • Stir and add the rest of the butter.
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  • When the whole thing is coated in butter and garlic and the texture is to your liking, you can stop heating it.
  • Set on a plate and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
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2. Zucchini Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Rosemary

Another pasta substitute is the zucchini. The regular zucchini is preferable to the stripped kind.

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchinis
  • 4-5 tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, onion, rosemary and garlic.
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  • Add the olive oil, salt and pepper, and stir again.
  • Put the mix on a baking sheet and bake for two hours.
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  • Remove the mix from the oven and use a peeler to cut long, thin strips of the zucchini.
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  • Add the zucchini strips to the hot mix and stir it. The heat will soften the zucchini strips.
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  • Once the strips have softened a little, you can serve them.
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3. Turnip Pasta in a Vegan Alfredo Sauce and Brussel Sprouts

You can prepare a regular Alfredo sauce if you wish, but here’s a vegan option for those who prefer it. This is a great new twist for the good old turnip.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large turnip, peeled
  • 15-20 Brussel sprouts
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar

  • Vegan Alfredo:
  • 2 cups cashew nuts, presoaked in water
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons beer yeasts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • Blend in a food processor until the mixture is consistent.
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Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 395°F (200°C) degrees.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to cut the turnip into long strips.
  • Cover the turnip strips in olive oil.
  • Place the strips on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Wash the Brussel sprouts and cut them into quarters.
  • In a frying pan, fry the quarters on a low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and the vinegar to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the Alfredo sauce and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve the pasta with a healthy portion of the sauce.
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4. Eggplant Lasagna

So simple and so delicious: While eggplants are popular as an ingredient in many lasagna dishes, you can substitute the lasagna pasta with thick eggplant slices.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggplants
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 14oz (400g) mozzarella slices
  • 4-5 tomatoes, crushed
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (or gluten-free substitute)
  • 1 bushel basil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon hot paprika or chili powder
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Sauce:

  • In a deep pan, heat up the olive oil and fry the garlic until it browns.
  • Add the onions and paprika and fry until it turns brown.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes with some salt and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Discontinue heating and add fresh basil leaves to the sauce.
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Lasagna:

  • Preheat the oven to 445°F (230°C) degrees.
  • Cut the eggplants into slices about a quarter of an inch thick, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake the eggplant slices for 10-15 minutes until the edges turn brown, then remove from the oven and let them cool.
  • Turn down the heat in the oven to 345°F (175°C) degrees.
  • Pour a cup of tomato sauce in a rectangular baking pan.
  • Place the eggplant slices on top of the sauce until they cover the pan.
  • Place the mozzarella slices over the eggplant, and then sprinkle with parmesan and breadcrumbs.
  • Repeat until you’re out of eggplant (or space).
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, until the top layer of cheese is nice and golden.
  • Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it cool down and solidify for about 20 minutes.
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5. Carrot Fettuccini with Mushrooms and Bell Peppers

The carrots add a delicious sweetness as well as vitamins to this dish, making it a guilt-free delight. The dish calls for tomato sauce; you can either make one on your own or use a store-bought variety.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup tomato pasta sauce
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt & pepper (for taste)
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Preparation:

  • In a large pan, heat up the oil over a medium heat.
  • Add the garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper, and chopped basil. Stir lazily for 5 minutes.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 8 minutes.
  • While the sauce is being cooked, use a vegetable peeler to cut the carrots into strips.
  • Add the tomato sauce and carrot strips to the pan and cook for another 8 minutes.
  • Discontinue heating and serve.
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6. Carrot and Zucchini Spaghetti in Spinach Pesto

Now that you know how carrots and zucchinis can replace regular pasta, why not mix them with a special pesto sauce? This dish is so simple; it doesn’t even require you to turn on the oven or pull out a pan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 large zucchinis, peeled
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup natural pumpkin seeds, shelled
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt (for taste)
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Preparation:

  • Cut the carrots and zucchinis into strips and mix the strips in a bowl.
  • Blend all the other ingredients in a food processor until the texture is to your liking.
  • Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve.
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7. Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi is usually made from potatoes, but this variation uses sweet potatoes, which gives the gnocchi fantastic color and flavor. Sweet potatoes are low glycemic when compared to regular potatoes, which means you’ll feel sated for longer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 cups potato starch
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 shallots or 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
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Preparation:

  • Roast the sweet potatoes in the oven and then mash them (45 minutes at 355°F 180°C degrees).
  • In a bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, powdered ginger, eggs, and salt.
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  • Gradually add the potato starch and knead until it becomes doughy.
  • Sprinkle potato starch over your working surface and transfer the dough onto it.
  • Cut the dough in half, form into balls and lightly coat with starch.
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  • Roll each ball into a long “rope”, about an inch thick.
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  • Use a knife to cut each rope into a gnocchi.
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  • Prepare boiling water in a medium pot and pour the gnocchi in.
  • Prepare a large bowl with icy water (but no ice cubes).
  • Once the gnocchi is afloat, remove them from the pot and put in the cold water for 2 minutes.
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  • Remove the gnocchi from the water and let them dry for a bit.
  • In a pan, heat up some olive oil and fry the shallots and garlic.
  • When the shallots start to brown, add the gnocchi to the pan and gently stir.
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  • Serve with or without sauce - and ENJOY!
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