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10 Healthy Gluten-Free Pasta Alternatives

butternut squash gluten-free pasta idea

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Good news if you suffer from Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, or are one of the millions of Americans who choose to eat gluten-free: you have way more options nowadays when it comes to still enjoying your precious pasta. Not to mention that lots of these newer noodles—including quinoa pasta, black bean spaghetti, and more—have much more nutritional value than your basic white pasta, says chef and dietitian Sara Haas, R.D.N. Here’s how to make the most of gluten-free pasta alternatives. 

Beetroot Ravioli

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Marinating beets can be a great gluten-free way to recreate ravioli, and this recipe, filled with cashew cream instead of cheese, happens to be vegan as well. Plus, beets pack a great nutritional punch: They're known for their antioxidant capabilities and can even enhance your performance in your next race or competition. 

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Quinoa Pasta

gluten-free quinoa pasta

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Lots of brands of quinoa pasta are gluten-free, so if you want to avoid gluten, this is a great choice. (Just check the label.) Make sure you’re picking a pasta that’s mostly made with quinoa because many list corn as the first ingredient. If quinoa is the primary ingredient, you’ll get the added fiber and protein of the superfood, says Haas. (It's one of the best carbs for weight management, too.) 

Swap it in any time you’d use regular whole wheat pasta. The flavor is mild and many people won’t taste the difference.

Spiralized Vegetable Noodles

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Spiralizing is an easy way to pack more veggies into your diet. They're super quick to cook—but one big advantage is that these noodles often don’t even have to be cooked. Try pairing them with lighter flavors, like garlic and oil with herbs and pepper. “Think of how you would dress a salad,” says Haas.

Try out this vegan zoodle pad thai recipe (just sub in gluten-free soy sauce) or any of our other spiralized veggie recipes to get creative with the spaghetti using beets, butternut squash, and more. 

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Shirataki Noodles

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Made from yam starch, these "miracle noodles" essentially have zero calories or carbs. (Which is one reason why shirataki noodles are considered a superfood.)

While some people use these as a gluten-free or low-carb pasta replacement in comfort food dishes like this yummy mac 'n' cheese recipe, Haas prefers to stir them into brothy soups that are packed with flavor. She also suggests tucking them into lettuce wraps or spring rolls, or pairing them with stir-fried veggies. 

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Black Bean Spaghetti

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This spaghetti has tons of fiber, says Haas, so make sure to drink plenty of water with it! (That's one of the crucial things to know about getting enough—or too much—fiber.) The serving size is also a bit larger than is standard for spaghetti.

Since this pasta tastes like black beans, pair it with foods you’d normally eat with beans, like the jalapeno, cilantro, and avocado in this creative recipe. Southwestern spices and herbs work great too.

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Red Lentil Pasta

red lentil gluten-free pasta alternative that's low-carb

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Going for a protein-filled pasta to refuel after a long workout session? Lentil pasta is your answer, and it's jammed with fiber too. But make sure you check the label to guarantee that it's totally bean-based. "If your pasta is completely vegetable or bean-based, then that should be the first ingredient," says Carissa Bealert, R.D.N. (Here's everything else you should know about whether those bean and legume pastas are actually healthy.)

You can sub it in for regular noodles in any of your go-to pasta dishes, with the added bonus of feeling fuller afterward. (Plus, of course, they're gluten-free!) 

Photo: nito/Shutterstock

Buckwheat or Soba Noodles

buckwheat and soba noodles that are gluten-free

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If the noodles are 100 percent buckwheat, they’ll be gluten-free. And they have more minerals and more protein and fiber than white pasta, says Haas.

Traditionally, these gluten-free noodles go really well with an Asian flavor profile. Try peanut sauces, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Thai sauces, cilantro, lime juice, and chili. If you cook them correctly, they’ll hold for a few days—perfect for prepping lunch in advance. (Feeling adventurous with your weekly meal prep? Check out our meal planning tips or join our 30-day meal prep challenge.) 

Eggplant Manicotti

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You don't have to miss out on the Italian cheese-stuffed classic: make gluten-free manicotti by sauteeing and rolling up eggplant. And eggplant is a nutrient-dense, low-carb, great food to help you manage your weight. 

Have extra eggplant in the fridge? Whip up these other eggplant alternatives, like eggplant pizza and chips. 

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Brown Rice Pasta

brown rice gluten-free pasta alternative

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Brown rice pasta is a great neutral base to any hearty dish, and its penne or ziti versions hold up well to traditional pasta toppings and sauces. Most brown rice pastas are gluten-free (but, again, double check the label).

Start brainstorming some brown rice pasta meals with these gluten-free meal planning tricks

Zucchini Lasagna

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Don't stop your zucchini-pasta swap with zucchini noodles; strips of veggies make a perfect lasagna alternative. For example, this gluten-free, vegan no-bake zucchini lasagna, featuring a secret ingredient: pine-nut ricotta. You'll feel like you indulged in an Italian favorite based on the taste, but it'll sit so much lighter than regular pasta after you eat it. 

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