In Search of the Perfect Low Carb Pasta

If you are like me, living low carb makes you give up the fattening delight of a big plate of noodles. I’m fond of Italian recipes as my mother was part Italian and growing up we always had ravioli, spaghetti, lasagna, and the like.

You can prep a low carb pasta sauce or buy them – and you can have meatballs (without breadcrumbs), Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, romano cheese, ricotta cheese – but when it comes to the noodles, what can you use as a substitute?

The title of this post is a bit misleading. Frankly, there is no ‘perfect low carb pasta’ – it’s an impossibility because pasta is by definition empty carbs if it’s perfect.

What follows is my list of replacements – each has it’s Achilles heel.

Whole wheat pasta. Ugh. The texture is so wrong. Yeah, you can make it look like just about any pasta, but it still tastes like boiled cardboard. The only reason anyone eats the stuff is because they think it’s healthy. Well, even whole wheat pasta has way too many carbs for induction – and it’s pushing it even if you have reached your target weight and are maintaining. Why waste your carb limit on this stuff? Forget it.

Shiritaki Noodles. Weird. These are an Asian noodle with almost no calories and no carbs made from a plant called devil’s tongue. They are ‘wet noodles’ – you find them in the refrigerated section and they are in a bag usually. They are stretchy and somewhat slimy noodles with no flavor so you can use them without the taste issues I find with the whole wheat pasta. I made a fried spaghetti with them once and it wasn’t half-bad, but their cost and the effort to track them down was a deterrent for me to pick these up very often. You can eat these on induction. There is also a variety made from tofu which I have not tried – anyone out there tried these?

Dreamfield’s Pasta. This is the best tasting of the lot, but you can’t eat this on induction – at least I can’t. I can’t tell the difference between this and regular pasta – except in my wallet because it’s pretty expensive. It’s high carb, but it’s a slow-to-digest carb so it supposedly doesn’t spike your blood sugar. That great, but it’s not enough for those of us in induction. I’ve also heard some people have digestive problems eating this stuff. If it doesn’t give you stomach upset, then it’s a great product if you are in maintenance and can afford it.

Spaghetti Squash. This isn’t bad. It’s pretty good, actually, but the fact is – it isn’t noodles. Unlike the others on the list, it isn’t trying to pretend it’s something it isn’t. It’s squash, and it does have it’s own flavor and it ain’t bad – but it ain’t noodles either. This is the best of the lot as you can have it in induction, it’s good for you, and it’s a decent stand-in for the junk it replaces.

There are others I haven’t tried – there is a soy pasta that looks promising, but with 11 grams net carbs per serving, it isn’t on anybody’s induction menu. I also haven’t seen it locally, and as I have never incorporated mail order food into my lifestyle, I doubt this one will end up regularly on my table even in maintenance.

Really – to ask for a low carb pasta you can eat in induction is like asking for low carb popcorn – it just doesn’t exist. The good news is that when you’ve reached your goal weight you can eat Dreamfield’s pasta for an honest-to-goodness ‘can’t tell the difference’ pasta dish.

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One thought on “In Search of the Perfect Low Carb Pasta

  1. You know, in 2003, after trying what was passing then for low carb pasta, I swore off the stuff and figured the Italian lover in me was going to have to be satisfied with Italian sausage and things like mussels in low carb sauce.

    Then Dreamfields came along. It was so hard to believe the claims they made about only 5 digestible carbs per serving. I read the data on their website. I logged in to message boards where people who’d had it were raving about it. The worst thing I read was that some diabetics who were trying it and checking their blood sugar levels found that, although they didn’t get a spike after eating it when prepared, they seemed to spike some if they ate it as leftovers the next day. As if the composition of the pasta changed either with time, or refrigeration, or reheating, or maybe all three. I don’t know if anyone has continued to find that.

    Never had a problem digesting it, personally. I’d love to try it just once during induction and see what effect it would have, if any. Maybe after I get off this darn plateau.

    I clip coupons (you can also get them on Dreamfields’ website), watch for sales in my supermarkets, and stock up when they hit a good price; this week they were only $2 a box. Gooood stuff. We serve this to guests and they can’t tell any difference from regular pasta, whether served hot or in a cold salad.

    I guess it might seem expensive compared to other pastas, but isn’t almost everything low carb at a premium? I buy Calorie Countdown milk and it’s $3 a half gallon (used to be $3.39 a few weeks ago). Dannon Carb and Sugar Control yogurt is $2.46 for four dinky 4 ounce containers. It’s so easy and cheap to eat all the other garbage out there it’s no wonder we have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in this country.

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