Pasta is a pantry staple for many people, from a broke college student who only knows how to make mac and cheese, to a busy family who comes together over a bowl of spaghetti. The only downside to pasta is that the carb overload can leave you feeling heavy, even if you're doing it intentionally before an athletic event

Even if you don't follow health trends and fads, you've probably noticed non-flour pasta alternatives pop up in your grocery stores. As a self-proclaimed former vegan (Ben and Jerry's Half Baked ice cream was my weakness,) I definitely keep up on all the latest health trends and enjoy baking treats that are vegan, clean, or touted as healthier versions of guilty pleasures. As I saw so many pasta alternatives popping up first in organic grocery stores, and later on in traditional stores, I was intrigued. Non-flour pasta, depending on the type, has more wholesome ingredients such as whole grains that don't spike your blood sugar or vegetables that are lower in carbohydrates and contain lots of essential vitamins. The health benefits vary based on the specific kind of pasta alternative you're consuming. Here are five non-flour pasta alternatives you need to try. Disclaimer: they all taste amazing

Chickpea Pasta

Chickpea pasta is great because it has fewer carbohydrates and much more protein and fiber compared to flour pasta— as much protein as a steak. This pasta is especially great for vegetarians because typically pasta dishes involve meat, but chickpea pasta provides enough plant-based protein to skip the meat altogether. Chickpea pasta definitely has a distinct taste; if you're not a huge fan of the flavor you can mask it with sauce, cheese, or other toppings. Chickpea pasta is a very good substitute because you can use it the same way you would use regular flour pasta and because it has the perfect balance in texture between chewy and soft, which you can manipulate depending on how long you cook it for.


Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are made by spiralizing zucchini so that it resembles long, thin noodles. Zoodles are full of nutrients and vitamins B-6, C, and K, and they're versatile— you can cook them down to make them really soft, or keep them a little more raw, full, and crunchy. Sub these in for any kind of long noodles (I love replacing spaghetti with zoodles.) If you do cook the zoodles down, be careful about the water it loses so your dish doesn't become watery and soggy. If you don't have a spiralizer at home, you can learn how to make zucchini noodles without a spiralizer or buy them in zoodle form (thank you, Trader Joe's.)

Lentil Pasta

Popular lentil pasta variations include red lentil and green lentil (and black bean pasta as well.) The flavors of the different kinds of lentil pasta are mild, so you can easily showcase the flavor and use it to replace flour pasta in most dishes. These variations are gluten-free, high in protein and fiber, contain plenty of vitamins and iron, and they're low in carbohydrates. You can also find pasta that is made by combing lentils and quinoa, which gives it a varied texture.

Quinoa Pasta

If you need a last minute non-flour pasta option in a hurry, try quinoa pasta. It cooks faster than other non-flour pasta options and is full of protein, fiber, and iron, and low in carbohydrates. Quinoa pasta is also easy to cook because it doesn't get mushy as easily as other kinds of pasta do. Be careful that the brand you're purchasing isn't made with a ton of corn, though, because those versions aren't as healthy and don't offer the same benefits.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash pasta is made from squash— the squash is cooked and the fleshy inside can be pulled out with a fork to make it look like spaghetti. Spaghetti squash is much lower in calories and carbohydrates and higher in vitamins and minerals than traditional flour spaghetti, and can have a delicious, roasted flavor. You can use spaghetti squash pasta in pretty much the same way that you would use regular spaghetti pasta, but be careful about the water loss from overcooking the squash.

These alternatives to carb-heavy flour pasta all offer health benefits ranging from high protein and fiber to low carbs and calories. Depending on what kind of pasta dish you're craving or what nutrition you're looking for, you can definitely find a healthier option to indulge in for your next pasta meal.