Good news: you don’t have to give up your favorite pasta dishes, even if you’re on a low-carb or keto diet! I’m breaking down the best low carb pasta brands- looking at everything from taste to texture to macros- to help you make informed decisions when it comes to your health (and taste buds!).
I don’t know about you, but traditional pasta has a special place in my heart and there are many low-carb pasta alternatives that just don’t cut it. You might feel overwhelmed browsing the pasta aisle at your favorite grocery stores, which is why I wanted to create this guide to help you decide which pasta is for you.
Full disclosure: I am obviously a bit biased, since I’ve poured my heart and soul into creating Kaizen Lupini Pasta, which I believe takes the top spot when it comes to taste, texture, and nutritional value!
From my low-carb lasagna soup to this air fryer pasta bake and green pasta sauce recipe, you’ve probably seen me mention Kaizen before (Kaizen lupin flour is also featured in this keto tortilla recipe and my lupin flour pizza crust!).
But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at the other low-carb options out there. You might find that some of them deserve a place in your pantry, and have specific qualities that are well-suited for certain types of dishes.
Factors to Consider
When examining the types of low carb pasta alternatives and low-carb noodles, there are several items to consider. Below is a look at what I value most and what I think will also be the most important to you. These factors all played a role in my ranking of the best low-carb pasta brands.
This is, without a doubt, one of the key factors.
Sure, it’s easy to swap in low carb noodles for regular pasta, but if the taste isn’t quite on point, it can be extremely disappointing.
I’ve tried several types of keto noodles and low-carb pasta brands over the years that didn’t hold a candle to traditional pasta. From a bland flavor to an unappealing fishy taste, this is one of those factors that you just can’t work around. Fortunately, there are some low-carb diet friendly pastas that do have a nice, neutral flavor, and I’m excited to share them below.
Texture is another big one. Some low-carb pasta brands have a product with a similar texture to traditional wheat pasta, while others don’t come even close! I look for a pasta alternative that has as close of a texture to regular pasta: slightly chewy with a bite!
Ingredients and Nutritional Value
When it comes to maintaining a low-carb diet, the ingredients in your low carb pasta are crucial and will also affect the total grams of carbs per serving. Some low-carb pastas have fewer carbs than others, and I personally prefer foods with a minimal, clean ingredient list. It can be tricky to find that combination, especially when it comes to pre-packaged foods like pasta.
It’s one thing to find a keto diet friendly pasta, but it’s another to find one that is nutrient-dense and overall a good option if you’re closely watching your macros. This is something else I like to look for when examining the top brands and pasta alternatives, and it goes hand-in-hand with the ingredient list.
Top Low-Carb Pasta Options
Here’s my own review that I hope serves as a helpful guide for you as you consider the top pasta alternatives to fit within your low carb diet!
I’ve spent lots of time thinking about pasta, tasting pasta and developing one of my own top low-carb pasta brands, so I think at this point, I’m certainly a pasta connoisseur of sorts.
Here’s a comparison of some of the most popular options out there, and a look at the pros and cons of each.
1. Kaizen Lupini Pasta
If you’re familiar with my story, it may be no surprise that Kaizen Lupini Pasta is – without a doubt- my personal favorite. After searching high and low for the perfect low-carb pasta alternative, and continuing to come up short, I created my own brand: Kaizen.
This pasta is made with high-protein lupini beans, which pack a nutritional punch! Each serving contains 6 grams of net carbs, 15 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein. I believe it’s the best option if you want macro-friendly dishes that taste like the real thing.
Cooked to al dente, Kaizen has a good texture and a neutral flavor that works with any of your favorite pasta dishes.
- It is gluten free, grain free, plant-based and keto friendly.
- Kaizen’s taste and texture closely resemble traditional pasta.
- Impressive nutritional profile makes this a great choice for those looking for high-protein and low-carb pasta options. Just 6 net carbs with 20grams protein. Its a protein pasta, too!
- It’s made with only four, clean main ingredients (lupini flour, fava bean protein, tapioca starch and xanthan gum).
- If cooked too long, the noodles can become mushy, so don’t overcook (cook to al dente!).
- Kaizen pasta is only sold online, direct on KaizenFoodCompany.com, or via other online retailers like Thrive Market or Amazon.
Below is a look at how my pasta holds up to others. And I also recommend checking out this breakdown of how protein pasta compares to regular pasta!
If you want to give Kaizen lupin pasta a try, make sure to use my discount code!
2. Palmini Hearts of Palm Noodles
Heart of Palm noodles are another low-carb option with the biggest brand being Palmini. These noodles are low carb and gluten free, and made with hearts of palm, a vegetable that is harvested from the core of a variety of palm trees.
They’re sold in a package or a can, and only contain 20 calories per serving, including 4g of carbs. Since each serving contains 2 grams of fiber, hearts of palm noodles are very low in net carbs, with only 2 grams per serving.
- They are gluten free, low carb and keto friendly.
- Palmini noodles are low in calories and carbs.
- The ingredient list is short and straightforward, and hearts of palm noodles are primarily made up of water.
- The texture is close to pasta, but not quite the same.
- Flavor-wise, the noodles strongly taste like hearts of palm, but that can be masked slightly once prepared with your sauce of choice.
- The nutritional content is very low, with super low protein
3. Banza Chickpea Pasta
This pasta brand has made a name for itself as one of the first pasta alternatives. Banza pastas are made of chickpeas, a plant-based powerhouse full of protein and fiber. This type of pasta is sold as dried pasta, and is prepared in a similar way as regular pasta.
When it comes to the nutritional value and ingredients, Banza offers much more than other low-carb pasta brands. A 2-ounce serving of Banza’s Rotini pasta, for instance, contains 190 calories, 35 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein. Compared to traditional pasta, Banza is certainly a better option, but its higher carb count may not be ideal for all keto and low-carb eaters.
- Banza has a texture thats fairly close to regular pasta.
- It’s easy to source and found in a lot of stores.
- It is more nutrient-dense than other pasta and noodle alternatives.
- With about 30 grams net carbs per serving, it is not truly “low carb” and may not work for low-glycemic eaters.
- Some people may not enjoy the subtle, earthy flavor of chickpeas.
4. ZENB Pasta
This gluten-free and plant-based pasta alternative is made from yellow peas. Its structure has been described as springy and durable, with a good resemblance to traditional pasta. You can purchase various shapes, from spaghetti to macaroni to penne.
Nutritionally, it offers 12 grams of protein per serving and 7 grams of fiber, but the higher carb count (36 grams) makes this pasta option a no-go for many following a keto or low-carb diet.
- The pasta has a somewhat neutral taste and a texture thats OK.
- There are no preservatives or mystery ingredients since this pasta is made 100% of yellow peas.
- It is gluten free and vegan-friendly.
- Since each 2-ounce serving contains 29 grams of net carbs, this option may be too high for low-carb and keto eaters.
- The texture isnt as good as Kaizen pasta or chickpea pasta.
- ZENB products are mostly sold online and not available in a lot of stores.
5. Shirataki Noodles
Also called Miracle noodles or konjac noodles, shirataki noodles are one of the most popular pasta alternatives for low-carb eaters. They usually come in a few different varieties, including a spaghetti noodle, a fettuccini noodle and an angel hair noodle. This type of pasta alternative is not sold as a dry pasta.
In fact, the noodles are stored in a package of water and are typically found in the tofu section of your grocery store. Consistency-wise, they are far different than the texture of traditional wheat noodles you’re probably used to. Shirataki noodles are much more delicate, with a squishier consistency that is a bit gelatinous.
Since shirataki noodles are made out of glucomannan, a type of fiber from the konjac root, they’re incredibly low in carbs. One serving contains only 3 grams of carbs along with 3 grams of dietary fiber, which makes the total grams of net carbs per serving 0g. Nutritionally, they also contain fewer calories than many pasta alternatives, so if you’re closely watching calories, this is a plus.
- Low in calories and 0g net carbs per serving.
- Easy to find (available at most grocery stores).
- Quick and easy to prepare.
- Gluten free, vegan and low carb.
- The consistency of the noodles is far from traditional pasta and some people may not enjoy the bouncy, somewhat rubbery texture.
- They are packaged in water and can smell “fishy” once opened. This generally goes away once the noodles are prepared but can be unappealing at first.
- Shirataki noodles do not offer much nutritionally and in fact have very little nutritional content.
6. Zucchini Noodles
I can’t write about low-carb pasta without mentioning the trusty zucchini noodle. This veg-forward, low-carb option is great if you’re looking to add more fresh vegetables to your meal! The biggest thing to keep in mind with zucchini noodles is that they are definitely not pasta, so my recommendation is to manage expectations accordingly.
With that said, they can be a good option if you’re in a pinch or you simply need a healthy vessel to enjoy your favorite pasta sauce. They’re naturally gluten free, plant-based, low carb, and paleo!
Some stores sell pre-made zucchini noodles (or zoodles), but I find that making your own using a spiralizer (Amazon affiliate link) will give you the best results!
- A fresh and healthy alternative to traditional pasta.
- Easy to make- all you need is zucchini and a spiralizer.
- Zoodles have a fairly neutral flavor and can be enjoyed raw or cooked slightly for a more tender texture.
- They do not resemble true pasta in taste or texture.
- Some people may not enjoy the fairly crisp texture or zucchini flavor.
- To make your own, you will need a special tool called a spiralizer.
7. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is another vegetable alternative to pasta that you can certainly enjoy on a low-carb or keto diet. Similar to zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash offers a low-carb, keto-friendly and plant-based “pasta” option that you can serve as the base to your favorite sauce or swap in for many pasta recipes.
Unlike zucchini noodles, you don’t need any special tools to enjoy spaghetti squash. Its noodle-like, fleshy center resembles spaghetti (hence its name!) and once it’s cooked, it’s ready to enjoy.
- No special tools required, you simply cut and roast the spaghetti squash!
- You can usually find this type of squash year round although its peak season is in the fall.
- It has a fun texture and is naturally gluten free, low carb and plant-based.
- Just like zoodles, spaghetti squash does not mimic real pasta in taste or texture.
- It takes longer to prepare since the squash typically needs roasting first.
- Some people may find it a bit mushy or too watery for their liking.
8. Lentil Pasta
Lentil pasta is another one of those pasta alternatives you’ve mostly likely heard of that is touted to be a healthier option. Made of red lentils, it’s higher in fiber and protein than traditional pasta, and boasts fewer carbohydrates.
However, red lentils are very similar to their legume cousin, chickpeas, when it comes to their net carb count. A single serving of red lentil pasta contains 34 grams of total carbohydrates with 6 grams of fiber and 14 g protein. Better than wheat pasta? Sure. But is it truly low carb or ketogenic diet friendly? For some, not so much, but that can depend on your daily carbohydrate goal.
- It’s easy to find at most grocery stores and many traditional pasta brands produce their own red lentil pastas.
- Red lentil pasta is plant-based, gluten free, high protein and paleo friendly.
- It has a slightly nutty flavor and a firmer texture than traditional pasta.
- With 28 grams of net carbs per serving, it may contain too many carbs for some eaters.
Low-carb Pasta Recipes to Try
Now that you’re in the know about the different low carb and keto pasta brands out there (and which ones aren’t really low carb or keto-friendly!), here’s some delicious pasta recipe inspiration that will, in fact, fit into your low-carb lifestyle.