We all know someone who is cutting back on carbs in order to lose weight. While there has been some controversy on the popular low-carb diets of our time, we also know there is some truth to this method of weight loss since so many have seen success. With the Dr. Brown Diet, which is inherently “low-carb,” weight loss is a beneficial by-product not the ultimate goal. Similar to the paleo diet, Dr. Brown suggests emphasizing nutrient-dense real foods and minimizing highly processed, pro-inflammatory ones in order to promote:
- blood sugar stabilization
- proper digestion
- optimal metabolic function
- decreased inflammation
Starchy carbs, such as traditional pasta products, without a doubt fall into that pro-inflammatory category as they are typically made from semolina, a wheat product. So whatever your reason to restrict your carb intake, you may find it difficult to sub out this common favorite. Since we have been creating Dr. Brown approved meal plans for over a year now, we have had to get creative with our Italian dishes and have been through a lot of trial-and-error with our recipes. Through these experiences, we have acquired a pretty good list if we do say so ourselves!
Here are our top 5 Tried-and-True Pasta Alternatives:
We have found cabbage to be an excellent substitute for your typical Asian noodle dish. Cabbage is already used a lot in these types of recipes so the flavor combo is familiar. All you have to do is cut the cabbage into about 1/4 -1/2 in wide rounds and either bake (my favorite) or steam. Then, once cooked, you separate the layers of the rounds to create a bed of “noodles” to lay your favorite Asian stir fry on. Click on the picture below to see one of our favorite cabbage recipes:
Chopping cauliflower into bite size pieces and steaming it can create a macaroni like texture. Smother it in sheep or goat cheese, and you have yourself a Dr. Brown approved Mac N’ Cheese! Check out this cheesy cauliflower recipe:
3. Spaghetti Squash
I like to think of spaghetti squash as “God’s pasta” since it is so similar to angel hair pasta with hardly any work required. All you have to do is cut the squash lengthwise, lay both sides flat on a baking dish, and bake for 40 minutes at 350F. Spoon out the seeds and use a fork to scrape out the “noodles.” Spaghetti squash is the perfect alternative for today’s busy family!
2. Paleo “Pasta”
While this is the most work of all the options, this is definitely the most true-to-texture alternative. Using nut flours that are common in paleo cooking, you can create a delicious homemade pasta of your desired shape and size. The key here is to be gentle when cooking and handling as they are more delicate than traditional noodles.
These vegetable noodles are my absolute favorite substitute for traditional pasta because they are relatively easy, provide a great texture for twirling with a fork, and taste great! All that is needed to make these is a spiralizer like the Veggetti. If you don’t have one of these already, you need to get one! They will change your paleo life. Sidenote: If you don’t want to invest in one of these or if you just want to change it up sometimes, you can still create zucchini or squash noodles without a spiralizer by cutting them lengthwise into thin slices and sautéing. This creates a wide pasta more comparable to egg noodles.
So there you go … I hope you give these recipes a try and see that you can still have your “pasta” and eat it to.