gluten free pasta
Dinner, Is It Keto, Low Carb

Is Gluten Free Pasta Low Carb? A Guide to Healthier Alternatives

Pasta is a staple in many households around the world, but with the rising number of people following gluten-free, low carb, or keto diets, traditional pasta dishes are getting a healthy makeover. One popular option is gluten-free pasta. But is gluten-free pasta low carb? If you’re a pasta lover exploring healthier options, this article is for you. We’ll examine the carb content of gluten-free pasta, look into its health benefits, and suggest some low carb alternatives for your favorite pasta dishes.

As with all food items, it’s important to read the labels of gluten-free pasta products to make sure they meet the dietary needs of you and your family. Gluten-free pasta can be made from a variety of alternative flours, such as rice, corn, or quinoa. Although these pastas are free from gluten, they may not be low carb. Let’s dig deeper into the world of gluten-free pasta to find out if it’s the right choice for anyone following a low carb diet.

The Carb Content of Gluten-Free Pasta

Most gluten-free pasta products are made from alternative flours such as brown rice, quinoa, or corn, giving them a similar texture and taste to their wheat-based counterparts. However, this also means that their carb content may be higher than expected for those on a low carb diet. To give you an idea, here are the carb contents of some common gluten-free pasta types:

  • Brown rice pasta: Typically, a 2 oz (56 g) serving of brown rice pasta contains around 43 g of carbs.
  • Quinoa pasta: A 2 oz (56 g) serving of quinoa pasta usually contains about 40 g of carbs.
  • Corn pasta: A 2 oz (56 g) serving of corn pasta can have approximately 43 g of carbs.

As you can see, these gluten-free pastas have almost the same amount of carbs as regular wheat pasta, which generally contains 42 g of carbs per 2 oz serving. So, while gluten-free pasta may be a suitable option for those avoiding gluten due to allergies or sensitivities, it might not be the best choice for someone following a low carb or keto diet. If you’re searching for a low carb alternative to pasta, there are several other options to consider, which we will explore in the next header.

Low Carb Pasta Alternatives

If you’re looking for pasta alternatives that are both gluten-free and low carb, there are plenty of choices available to satisfy those pasta cravings. Here are some popular low carb pasta options:

  1. Spaghetti Squash: With its delicate, stringy texture, spaghetti squash is a delicious, nutritious, and low carb alternative to traditional spaghetti. One cup (around 155 g) of cooked spaghetti squash contains only about 10 g of carbs. To prepare spaghetti squash, simply cut it in half, remove the seeds, and roast or microwave until tender. Then, use a fork to scrape out the tender strands resembling spaghetti.
  2. Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles): Zoodles have gained popularity as a healthy, low carb alternative to traditional pasta, and with good reason. A cup (around 120 g) of zucchini noodles contains just 4 g of carbs. You can use a spiralizer or vegetable peeler to create thin strands of zucchini noodles. Eat them raw or lightly sauté them in olive oil for a more tender pasta-like experience.
  3. Shirataki Noodles: These Japanese noodles, made from konjac root, are naturally gluten-free and extremely low in carbs. In fact, a 3.5 oz (100 g) serving contains close to zero carbs! Shirataki noodles are available in various shapes and sizes to suit your pasta dish, and while their texture may be slightly different from traditional pasta, they are perfect for soaking up flavorful sauces.
  4. Eggplant Lasagna: Instead of using gluten-free or wheat-based lasagna noodles, try layering thinly sliced eggplant in your favorite lasagna recipe. One cup (approximately 82 g) of raw eggplant contains only 5 g of carbs, making it an excellent low carb option for your next lasagna dish.

While gluten-free pasta may not necessarily be low in carbs, these other nutritious and satisfying low carb alternatives can fulfill your pasta cravings without breaking your diet goals.

Legume-Based Pasta Options

Another great option for low carb pasta alternatives is the use of legume-based pasta. Made from beans and legumes, these types of pasta are not only gluten-free but also pack a punch when it comes to protein content. The carb content is usually lower than traditional wheat pasta, but higher than some other low carb alternatives. Here are a few legume-based pasta options to consider:

  1. Chickpea Pasta: A 2 oz (56 g) serving of chickpea pasta contains approximately 32 g of carbs and a whopping 12 g of protein. Chickpea pasta has a slightly nutty flavor and a firm texture that holds up well in various pasta dishes.
  2. Lentil Pasta: Typically containing 28 g of carbs and 11 g of protein per 2 oz (56 g) serving, lentil pasta is a highly nutritious pasta option that is both gluten-free and boasts a lower carb count than wheat-based pasta.
  3. Black Bean Pasta: With approximately 19 g of carbs and 25 g of protein per 2 oz (56 g) serving, black bean pasta offers a substantial protein boost and a moderate carbohydrate count. Keep in mind that black bean pasta’s distinct flavor may not pair well with every pasta sauce.

Cauliflower-Based Pasta Recipes

Keto Mac & cheese

Cauliflower is known for its versatility as a low carb alternative in various dishes. From cauliflower rice to cauliflower pizza crusts, this cruciferous vegetable has managed to find its way into plenty of low carb recipes. Here are a few cauliflower-based pasta ideas to try:

  1. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: Swap out regular pasta for steamed cauliflower florets, and combine them with a rich, cheesy sauce to create a low carb and gluten-free mac and cheese. One cup of cauliflower contains only 5 g of carbs, making it the perfect replacement for high carb pasta.
  2. Cauliflower Gnocchi: Create a soft and pillowy gnocchi using a combination of steamed cauliflower and almond flour. These low carb, gluten-free gnocchi can be enjoyed with your favorite pasta sauce or simply sautéed in garlic and butter.
  3. Cauliflower Carbonara: Utilize crispy cauliflower pieces as a base for a delicious, creamy, and low carb carbonara sauce. Simply roast cauliflower florets in the oven, fry bacon, and blend with a velvety cream sauce for a hearty and satisfying low carb pasta experience.

The Health Benefits of Gluten-Free and Low Carb Pasta Alternatives

Choosing gluten-free and low carb pasta alternatives not only caters to dietary restrictions but also offers numerous health benefits:

  1. Weight Management: Low carb pasta alternatives often contain fewer calories than traditional pasta, helping support weight management goals. Options such as zoodles and spaghetti squash can satisfy pasta cravings without the high caloric intake.
  2. Nutrient-Dense: Many low carb pasta alternatives are made from nutrient-dense vegetables, such as cauliflower and zucchini, providing essential vitamins and minerals that assist in maintaining optimal health.
  3. High Fiber Content: Legume-based pastas are rich in fiber, promoting healthy digestion and satiety. In addition, most vegetables used for low carb pasta alternatives are also natural sources of fiber.
  4. Suitable for Diabetics: The lower carb content of these pasta alternatives results in a reduced impact on blood sugar levels, making them a safer choice for individuals with diabetes.
  5. Improved Digestion: Gluten-free pasta alternatives are ideal for those with gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease, offering pasta that is easier to digest and less likely to cause discomfort.

Tips for Preparing Low Carb Pasta Alternatives

To ensure the tastiest results when preparing your low carb pasta alternatives, consider these helpful tips:

  1. Salt Your Vegetable “Noodles”: Lightly salting your vegetable noodles like zoodles or spaghetti squash helps to draw out excess moisture, leading to a better texture similar to that of traditional pasta.
  2. Cook with Care: When cooking low carb pasta alternatives, take care not to overcook them. Overcooking can result in a mushy texture – not the pasta experience you desire!
  3. Drain Excess Liquid: After cooking your low carb pasta, make sure to drain any remaining liquid to avoid a watered-down sauce and achieve the best pasta-like consistency.
  4. Pair with Bold Sauces: Low carb pasta alternatives may have milder flavors compared to wheat-based pasta. Pair them with bold sauces for a delicious and robust pasta dish.
  5. Experiment and Have Fun: Trying new low carb pasta alternatives is a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Whether you’re making a classic spaghetti and meatballs dish or trying something brand new, keep an open mind and embrace the joys of cooking.


Ultimately, the world of gluten-free pasta and low carb alternatives is full of delicious, healthy, and satisfying options perfect for pasta lovers following a low carb or keto diet. By exploring and embracing these substitutes, you can continue to indulge in your favorite pasta dishes without compromising on flavor, texture, or your dietary goals. Moreover, the health benefits of these alternatives make them excellent choices for maintaining a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

Are you eager to try your hand at cooking with low carb pasta alternatives? Mama Bear’s Cookbook is here to help you along your culinary journey and keto diet! Join our community by signing up for our newsletter, where we’ll share our favorite low carb recipes, tips, and tricks to enhance your gluten-free and low carb cooking experience. Plus, gain access to exclusive content and first-hand insights into new and exciting recipes and healthy cooking ideas. Don’t let dietary restrictions hold you back from enjoying your favorite pasta dishes – take the first step and unlock the full potential of your inner chef with Mama Bear’s Cookbook today! Happy cooking!

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