You don't have to be Italian to absolutely love pasta. But you certainly don't have to be a dietitian to know that pasta isn't always the healthiest option. But, there is a way that we can enjoy our favorite pasta dishes and do our body well at the same time. There are actually 5 surprisingly delicious healthy pasta alternatives that we can enjoy the flavor of while also providing healthy nutrients to our bodies.

Traditional pasta is typically made from refined and bleached flour, containing incredibly low amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, as well as being high in refined carbohydrates. This type of pasta can definitely be enjoyed in moderation. But, the 5 following healthy pasta alternatives provide a much healthier option that we can also enjoy!

1. Pastas with Added Veggies

pasta, penne, macaroni, cheese
Jocelyn Hsu

Pastas with added vegetables are gaining popularity. This pasta is typically a traditional pasta recipe with vegetables added in. The vegetables are dehydrated, blended to a powder or paste form, and added to the pasta dough. Then, the pasta is formed and dried. You can cook this pasta as you would any regular pasta. The added veggies in this healthy pasta alternative adds extra fiber and vitamins and minerals. You can trick yourself into eating more veggies by eating this pasta! And you can't even taste the veggies in it. Also, this type of pasta can be found at almost all local supermarkets in the pasta isle so you'll never have a problem finding it.

2. Bean and Lentil Pastas

sauce, pasta, penne, tomato, salad, fork, carb, eating
Caroline Ingalls

Bean and lentil pastas are a relatively new trend that have been gaining popularity with the growing popularity of plant-based diets. These pastas only contain beans/lentils, and/or legumes. That's it! And if you're worried about the taste, there's no need to be. These healthy pastas alternatives don't taste much different than traditional-refined pastas. Especially once sauce or seasoning is added, the difference in flavor is barely noticeable. 

sauce, vegetable, penne, pasta, salad, eating, carb
Caroline Ingalls

The only thing to be aware of is that some of these pastas cannot be overcooked too much or they will mush and begin to disintegrate into your cooking water. However, a quick boil is all you need and it will hold its shape well. Bean, lentil, and legume pastas can be found at most supermarkets and almost all health food stores.

3. Zoodles

Zoodle Spiraliser with Yellow Squash

wuestenigel on Flickr

If you haven't yet heard of zoodles, get ready to be amazed. You can make spaghetti out of just zucchini! You can use a "spiralizer" or fancy tool like this one in the picture above and below, or a more inexpensive one like this one to get a similar result. Or you can simply use a knife to make zoodles like this

Spirulizer Küchengerät mit dünn geschnittenen Gemüsestreifen aus gelber und grüner Zucchini auf Holzbrett

verchmarco on Flickr

And you can also do this with other vegetables like carrots, beets, sweet potato, yams, squash, etc. Whatever veggie you can cut or fit onto a spiralizer can be made into pasta like this.

Zoodles: Zucchini Noodles

wuestenigel on Flickr

This pasta can be eaten raw. But if you chose to cook it, make sure to sautee it only very quickly to prevent the veggies from becoming limp and mushy. 

4. Spaghetti Squash

Taco-Topped Spaghetti Squash Bowls

mealmakeovermoms on Flickr

When I first heard of a spaghetti squash, I was not amused. As soon as I heard squash I figured it was just another sort of pumpkin that was only eaten on Thanksgiving or something. But turns out, it is so much more amazing than I ever even imagined! I found out that this healthy pasta alternative is a vegetable that is already in the form of spaghetti on the inside! Hence the name: "Spaghetti Squash". Actually, when raw, it will be hard and will look like a regular pumpkin or squash on the inside. But, after you cook it, the magic is revealed!

Taco-Topped Spaghetti Squash Bowls

mealmakeovermoms on Flickr

To cook a spaghetti squash, cut it in half, place onto a tin foil-covered sheet pan, and bake at 425 Fahrenheit for 15-30 minutes. 

kirybabe on Flickr

Once it is removed from the oven you can flip it inside-up, position the top and bottom to the right and left, and flake it vertically with a fork as shown below.

my first spaghetti squash

Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos on Flickr

Isn't that the most amazing squash in whole world? The only potential downside of this healthy pasta alternative is that it does taste squash-like, so make sure you season and sauce up this pasta well, and then you'll have a delicious and absolutely nutritious pasta to enjoy.

5. Shirataki or 'Knojac' Noodles

pasta, noodle, ramen, vegetable
Melissa Cannarozzo

Now this healthy pasta alternative takes a more adventurous foodie to enjoy. Shirataki noodles or Konjac noodles are low calorie pastas that are white, almost transparent in appearance. They are often made from Konjac yams that are native to Japan. These pastas have a more rubbery texture and claim to be odorless and flavorless. However, I have found that they sometimes taste and smell mildly of seaweed. The brands that can be found in most health food stores are Miracle Noodles and Skinny Pasta, among other varieties. 

As seen in the video above, this healthy pasta alternative was not my favorite, but Konjac noodles do take up flavor incredibly well. So if you aren't put off by texture, then you'd probably enjoy this healthy pasta alternative because you can flavor it however you enjoy it best.

vegetable, herb, pasta
Angela Kerndl

If you're the adventurous type who loves trying new things, but wants a meal that will fill you up with good-for-you nutrients and give you the energy you need to power you through your day, look no further than these pasta alternatives! With the wide variety, you're sure to find one you like!