5 Surprisingly Tasty Pasta Alternatives for Those Who Can’t Do Wheat

Listen, I get it. For those of us who must abstain from wheat, generic gluten-free pasta doesn’t always cut it. Marketed gluten-free noodles either fall a part, have a gritty texture or are weirdly flavored. As a result, pasta nights quickly fade away as a thing of the past. It is pretty sad.

But there is another way! There are so many pasta options out there that are healthy, gluten-free and actually taste delicious. Here are 5 of my favorite pasta alternatives along with some incredible recipes for those of us who need a little more flavor out of our gluten-free lifestyles:


Photo used with permission from The Toasted Pine Nut

Zoodles (or spiralized vegetable noodles)

If you have somehow missed the spiralizer trend that has been progressing for the last few years, let’s recap. Zoodles is a portmanteau for ‘zucchini noodles’, but it’s not all about zucchini. You can spiralize most vegetables into noodles, like beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, butternut squash, zucchini and more. Not only is spiraling a fun and delicious way to get your pasta fix, but it is also an easy way to fit more veggies into your diet.

Looking for a recipe to get you started? Try this tasty recipe for Sweet Potato + Zucchini Noodles with Thai Pesto from the Toasted Pine Nut.


Photo used with permission from Relishing It

Black rice noodles

When I am really craving pasta, nothing hits the spot like black rice noodles. Being the only grain-based noodle on this list, black rice noodles are easily the closest in texture to wheat noodles. They have that chewy texture when cooked al dente, which happens in about 4 minutes due to the narrow noodle shaft. But black rice is rich in anthocyanins, the same powerful blue-hued antioxidants found in blueberries, meaning it is a much more nutritious option than traditional white pasta. It also has a subtly nutty taste, which may or may not pair well with Italian recipes but pairs beautifully in Asian-inspired dishes.

If black rice noodles sound like your thing, try this amazing Black Rice Ramen with Sesame Ginger Scallion Sauce from Relishing It.

Kelp noodles

Even the sea makes a gluten-free noodle substitution! Kelp noodles have practically no calories—it’s like eating celery. They can be consumed raw or cooked and have a subtle, refreshing crispness. They also contain many of the benefits of seaweed, like rich levels of iodine, calcium, magnesium and more.

Try this Summer Kelp Noodle Salad from the Minimalist Vegan if you’re looking for something refreshing. With a dressing of tahini, sesame oil, peanuts, chili, ginger and tamari, you know it’s gonna be flavorful.

Spaghetti squash with seeds

Spaghetti squash

Ah, the good old standby. No fancy equipment needed, just cut your squash in half (the long way), place it face down on a cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until tender. It takes around 40 minutes. Then, take a fork and gently scrape the noodle-like fibers out (If the long way is our north-south line, you want to be scraping east-west, against the grain of the fibers). Viola! Fresh, healthy, plant-based pasta, ready for toppings!

You can choose to keep things classic by topping your spaghetti squash with sautéed basil, olive oil, garlic and tomato, or you could try this killer recipe from the Kitchn for Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai.

Chickpea Pasta -- 5 Surprisingly Tasty Pasta Alternatives for Those Who Can't Do Wheat


Chickpea pasta

This may be the latest in the untraditional pasta trends. You may have noticed a brand of chickpea pasta called Banza popping up in your local grocery store. That’s right, pasta made out of chickpea flour is a thing. It is high in protein and really yummy. Give it a try is you find it on the market shelf.

If you can’t find chickpea pasta, you may be able to find black bean or lentil pasta options more easily. Of course, you could always try your hand at making your own chickpea pasta at home, too, whether you have a pasta maker or not. You could try this recipe from My New Roots, which includes eggs and follows a traditional pasta recipe, or you could try this vegan recipe from Mangia Bene Pasta to make your own chickpea pasta at home.

Good pasta doesn’t always have to have gluten. Try these pasta alternatives and get excited to bring pasta nights back into your household!



John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

John J
John J6 months ago

thanks for sharing

Melania P
Melania P6 months ago

So glad I can eat normal pasta, love it!

Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

thanks for sharing

lynda l
lynda leighabout a year ago

Good pasta doesn’t always have to have gluten.

Kathryn I
Kathryn Iabout a year ago

Great tips; thanks for sharing them.

Olga Nycz-Shirley
Olga Nycz-Shirelyabout a year ago

New ideas. Thanks.

ERIKA Sabout a year ago

thank you for sharing this

Trish K
Trish Kabout a year ago

If I can't put it on Pasta then Rice will do just fine

ANA MARIJA Rabout a year ago

Some of these look delicious :) Thank you.