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low carb pasta "substitute"

fldhkybnva Aug 10, 2012 08:06 AM

I love cooked sliced mushrooms but also am in the mood for a nice bowl of shrimp alfredo. I was thinking that sauteed mushrooms might be a nice substitute for the penne that I usually serve with alfredo. I thought it would add another texture rather than just eating shrimp with sauce on top. Just wondering if anyone else has ever done this? FYI not a fan of spaghetti squash or shredded zucchini so those aren't really good options for me.

  1. b
    belletricot Sep 29, 2013 01:41 AM

    seperate the leaves of leeks and use them a sheets of pasta for lasagne.

    1. twyst Oct 22, 2012 04:12 PM

      Just skimmed the thread, but has nobody suggested spaghetti squash?

      3 Replies
      1. re: twyst
        Rodzilla Oct 22, 2012 04:55 PM

        lol first post

        1. re: Rodzilla
          twyst Oct 22, 2012 05:01 PM

          Derp. Skimmed the responses but barely read the OP. Ill go kneel on some rice in the corner now.

        2. re: twyst
          mcf Oct 22, 2012 05:52 PM


        3. Rodzilla Oct 22, 2012 03:26 PM

          Chinese squash might do the trick

          1. melpy Oct 22, 2012 08:04 AM

            Not for this particular request but in general: I went to a rest any that used grilled pieces of calamari as a pasta substitute. I would imagine this would be low on carbs..

            2 Replies
            1. re: melpy
              mcf Oct 22, 2012 08:35 AM


              1. re: melpy
                pinehurst Oct 22, 2012 03:49 PM

                I'd order grilled calamari in a heartbeat.

              2. 2
                2foodees Oct 20, 2012 07:33 PM

                Dreamfields brand pasta works great for us. We're in the maintenance phase, not sure if it would work for earlier phases though. Texture, color and taste are exactly like regular/traditional pasta and comes in all standard varieties/shapes. If you can't find it in your grocery, you can buy it online.

                5 Replies
                1. re: 2foodees
                  Rodzilla Oct 20, 2012 11:01 PM

                  I'm never sure of their nutritional claims, the caloric values are about the same as regular pasta.

                  1. re: Rodzilla
                    mcf Oct 21, 2012 07:23 AM

                    Their nutritional claims about most of it not being digested are based on blood glucose tests too soon to detect the blood sugar rise the product causes, which is more than two hours post meal. And they use semolina, same as regular pasta, they just add a fiber blend to slow digestion some.

                  2. re: 2foodees
                    mcf Oct 21, 2012 07:21 AM

                    It's not low carb, though, nor a substitute. And it spikes blood glucose same as regular in many if not most folks, just later after meals.

                    1. re: mcf
                      pinehurst Oct 22, 2012 04:28 AM

                      Yes, the proof is in the meter testing---mcf is right. Both Dreamfields and whole wheat pastas are not the friends of many Type II DM folks.

                      My husband would rather have a larger dish of eggplant "noodle" lasagna than a small scoop of a few penne, so it's a no brainer for him.

                      1. re: pinehurst
                        mcf Oct 22, 2012 06:18 AM

                        I've had better luck with Carba Nada noodles, but not if I take acid blocking meds (very rare), which slow down gut motility. I've tested it hours out, always eat with protein and only at night.

                  3. Rodzilla Sep 22, 2012 03:47 PM

                    The cabbage recombination is a good one, it's really great if you saute for a bit - almost a very, very al dente noodle.

                    I find the tofu shiratki to be much too rubbery, I like konnyaku a bit better.

                    Chinese/loofa squash is a different texture/taste definitely worth a shot.

                    1. b
                      Baskerville Aug 29, 2012 01:31 PM

                      I use cabbage--shredded or coarsely chopped, depending on my mood. Delicious in stir fries. I've even made lasagna with cabbage in place of noodles.

                      1. s
                        sueatmo Aug 20, 2012 05:03 PM

                        A sub I have used is French cut green beans. I developed a lasagna type dish using the beans in place of pasta. It is best for the winter, when fresh veggies become so blah.

                        If you can have some carb, you can locate a good low carb bread, and use one piece toasted as a carb sub. I don't like spaghetti squash as a carb sub either.

                        You can also try to spoon saucy dishes over shredded Romaine.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: sueatmo
                          workintheater Aug 28, 2012 11:35 AM

                          Does anyone know where I can buy dried tofu shredded noodles in NYC? Today I went to Whole Foods and both Asian markets on 3rd Ave in the Village and NOBODY knew what I was asking for. Even took the above pic with me and was met with blank stares. All they could refer me to were the ubiquitous packages of slimy, foul-smelling shirataki noodles. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

                          1. re: workintheater
                            mcf Aug 28, 2012 11:59 AM

                            You should post this question on the NYC boards, maybe a China town food shopping thread already exists? More folks read that than this, I'd guess. I just noticed that the label on the lower package in the pic seems to indicate that it's made in LIC... if you can blow that up and call them, they can tell you who buys it from them. I'm able to get it on Long Island, you *must* be able to get it in NYC!

                            1. re: mcf
                              BEACHAHOLIC Aug 28, 2012 04:25 PM

                              just wanted to offer my tasty ideas to the mix:
                              I love to use low carb wraps cut up into strips mimicing lasagna noodles, then alternate fresh finely chopped basil, italian parsley, grated cheese, part skim ricotti, and whatever tomatoe sauce base you desire....add all the ingredients to a lasagna pan and bake @350 degrees till warmed all the way through, or crispy on top if you desire it that way. Everyone gobbled it when served as part of our holiday meal. The wraps absorb all the liquid and fluff up like a noodle and absorb all the taste of the meal.so yummy!

                              Just wanted to add my two cents re the Dreamfields low carb pasta, not sure if anyone is aware but if not served al'dente the pasta is NO longer a low carb pasta.....there are plenty of articles on google to back this up...

                              1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
                                mcf Aug 28, 2012 06:24 PM

                                Dreamfield's isn't low carb no matter how al dente it is; it has the exact number of carb grams as any semolina pasta.

                                I always cooked it very chewy, crunchy almost at just over half the time the box says to cook it. It's got all the carbs, and a fiber component added to slow down digestion. The problem is that they only tested the glucose rise at two hours, and the fiber blend makes it happen later and longer, so it's more damaging than regular semolina pasta. Hours after eating.

                                I know some folks who get a higher spike from Dreamfields than from regular pasta.

                                1. re: mcf
                                  BEACHAHOLIC Aug 28, 2012 07:28 PM

                                  It's my understanding that this is not an issue in Italy, but rather the way we process our pasta here in the states...It's a shame

                                  1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
                                    mcf Aug 29, 2012 06:24 AM

                                    Carbs, especially from wheat, are an issue everywhere, and I'm pretty sure Italy has a big diabetes problem, too.

                                2. re: BEACHAHOLIC
                                  sueatmo Aug 29, 2012 10:21 AM

                                  The pasta problem is hard for low carbers. I really don't know of a realistic sub for pasta. I do like you use low carb wraps though. I wonder if you are preparing food for yourself, 2, more? How many wraps per serving? And, wouldn't the tomato sauce add extra carbs into the dish?

                                  1. re: sueatmo
                                    BEACHAHOLIC Aug 29, 2012 12:02 PM

                                    sueatmo i am able to cut 1 wrap and use it as a portion(about 3layers-2/12"piece).....depending on the wrap used, your getting 6 to 7 carbs from the wrap..and the tomato sauce is minimal....if using fresh it's 1 oz =1 carb...so when on my plan it's truly minimal. i have 30gr/carbs with 14+gr/protein per meal, so i'm usually getting the rest of the carbs from fruit, seeds and nuts in a side salad.
                                    hope that helps ;)

                                    1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
                                      mcf Aug 29, 2012 12:09 PM

                                      The thing about tomato sauce and tomatoes is that for some reason, they spike blood glucose levels out of proportion to their carb content. Like wheat, tomato products are just very spikey. Ricotta has signficant carbs, too, and it's the meal's total that counts. I know a lot of low carbers use LC wraps as a lasagna sub. I use Barilla no boil noodles, make two, not three noodle layers, and add a good deal of browned sausage to the cheese mixture, which is most of the dish. Barilla no boil noodles are very thin and tender, but I still peel off at least one layer when eating and leave it on the plate.

                                      1. re: mcf
                                        BEACHAHOLIC Aug 29, 2012 12:48 PM

                                        i do agree that tomatoes can be spikey, however thru many years, i have come to learn from my patients that every person is unique when it comes to what triggers their blood sugar spikes. i have also found that portion control and protein balancing is often to blame. often patients can have a 'trigger"food and will not experience that same surge after having had the proper protein/carb ratio, coupled with being mindful of their true portion size...even if that means utilizing a food scale. i am not certain of the ricotta cheese brand that i picked up, but it was part skim and was low in carbs...and was a name brand. i do not use jarred sauce or anything with sugar added, and i usually add ground pork, turkey, lean chop meat, sausage, shredded low fat mozz, and grated cheese.....plenty of herbs, like parsley and basil add to the flavor...and i am always well under my 30carbs for the meal, hence adding the salad with seeds, nuts, fruit...always weighed. it has been almost 2 years since i have started this "weigh" of life and it has truly helped me feel much better. i had put on 45lbs in 3 months of taking medication, and have lost 84lbs since on this plan. i can't remember weighing 128lbs and feeling so much less sluggish. This "weigh" of life has been something i have maintained with minimal exercise, due to joint issues...and i have had much success with everyone that has given it a try....however, you must be honest with yourself and avoid the portion guessing game whenever possible...until it becomes second nature.... My only regret is that i wish i had been aware of this sooner in my life...

                              2. re: workintheater
                                goodhealthgourmet Aug 29, 2012 01:54 PM

                                ask for dried yuba stick or fǔ zhú; or if you can't find the pre-cut strips, just get the whole yuba sheets and cut them yourself. you may actually be able to find what you're looking for at HMart on West 32nd.

                            2. e
                              Enso Aug 17, 2012 05:18 AM

                              Are tofu shirataki noodles the same as dried tofu noodles?

                              I've never noticed these and might like to try them?

                              Are they refrigerated? In a bag, box, or can?

                              And, most importantly, just how low carb are they? Fresh tofu is pretty high, as I recall...

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Enso
                                mcf Aug 17, 2012 06:16 AM

                                No, they're not the same. They're "dried" tofu noodles or even sheets you can cut into shapes. They're in the refrigerator case in Asian groceries, not in liquid and you don't boil them, just saute or add to hot sauce or dishes. They're extremely low carb/high fiber. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2232/2...

                                1. re: mcf
                                  seamunky Aug 20, 2012 05:48 PM

                                  Do you have nutritional info for the tofu noodles?

                                  1. re: seamunky
                                    mcf Aug 21, 2012 06:34 AM

                                    I don't have a package to reference, but if you scroll down to "tofu skin" this wiki has nutrient data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tofu#Chinese_.22dry_tofu.22

                                    Here's some cooking info: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                    1. re: mcf
                                      fldhkybnva Sep 22, 2012 02:30 PM

                                      Success - I was finally able to find both tofu sheet and tofu shreds at H Mart. Do you think these would be good in an alfredo sauce or more suited to Asian style stir frys?

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                        mcf Sep 22, 2012 02:34 PM

                                        You'll have to experiment. Also, maybe read up on some low carb web sites to see how to use them with various sauces. I used the noodles and just sauteed them and added them to sauce, but there might be times you want to moisten them first or something, like for alfredo, though warming them in the sauce as you make it, as in table side service might work. I think they work with all sorts of prep but you have to adjust technique.

                                        1. re: mcf
                                          fldhkybnva Sep 22, 2012 03:11 PM

                                          Thanks. How would you describe the texture vs regular pasta? I'll soon find out but just want to have some idea beforehand.

                                          1. re: fldhkybnva
                                            mcf Sep 22, 2012 03:13 PM

                                            Hmm... a bit more toothy, but not rubber like shiritaki and not gritty like soy pastas... the noodles are close to Chinese egg noodles in texture. A tiny bit of graininess, I think. No serious off tastes, and since you don't boil them, you can kind of soak them with the flavors of what you cook them with.

                              2. fldhkybnva Aug 16, 2012 09:46 AM

                                I did try the mushrooms although I forgot to account for the shrinkage factor and so next time will use more. It was very tasty but then again I love mushrooms. I have tried the tofu shirataki noodles but for some reason I just can't seem to eliminate the slimy texture.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                  mcf Aug 16, 2012 01:50 PM

                                  I hate shirataki noodles. I like dried tofu noodles; you don't boil them, just saute them in your sauce or add to your broth.

                                  1. re: mcf
                                    fldhkybnva Aug 16, 2012 01:58 PM

                                    Do you think it would work in an alfredo or marinara sauce dish?

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                                      mcf Aug 16, 2012 02:02 PM

                                      Sure, just don't boil them, saute them in the sauce or warm them in some butter or oil then add the sauce. They're closest to the Chinese egg noodles that come with sesame or peanut sauce. Dryer, firmer, no slime or fishy smell, no rubberband texture.

                                2. Elster Aug 16, 2012 09:36 AM

                                  I often use a white canned bean, like butterbeans or cannellini beans, as a pasta sub - I know they contain some carbs but are more nutritionally 'useful' than pasta, so to speak. Could that work? I'm not a low-carber so this is from more of a 'how can I make this pasta dish more nutritious' perspective...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Elster
                                    mcf Aug 16, 2012 01:47 PM

                                    Delicious, but not low carb... I used to love them as a snack. Low carbing by it's very nature increases dietary nutrient density, so adding beans for nutrient value when they're high carb isn't really a plus for someone eating low carb.

                                    Cannellini are actually higher in carbs and lower in fiber than other beans.

                                  2. s
                                    sedimental Aug 10, 2012 08:20 PM

                                    I really like the tofu shirataki noodles for things like this (not the regular shirataki).

                                    I also use the dreamfields pasta once in a while, carb nada once in a while, or the light whole wheat kind in the package that looks like the carb nada package (forget the name of it, but significantly lower carb pasta). I choose depending on how low carb I need or want to be on that day. Sometimes a single cup of X is not worth agonizing over unless you are diabetic or allergic.

                                    Oh...sometimes a bit of soba noodles hit the spot too...very filling and you don''t need much, they can take alot of sauce and still hold up, only 20 carbs for a decent amount.

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: sedimental
                                      mcf Aug 11, 2012 01:05 PM

                                      Except for the shirataki, all of those are high carb, though some are not as fully digested as others.
                                      Dreamfields causes a very late and very long glucose spike for many folks, Carba Nada doesn't for me, but might for others. Gotta test if you can.

                                      1. re: mcf
                                        fldhkybnva Aug 11, 2012 01:15 PM

                                        I guess mushrooms it is. I think the bite will be a good pasta substitute.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                                          mcf Aug 11, 2012 01:28 PM

                                          You might surprise yourself by liking the eggplant ones... they're a bit meaty, too. And if you can get to an Asian grocery, the dried tofu ones are very much like regular starch noodles, except you don't boil them.... If you've ever had the noodles Hunan restaurants serve with peanut sauce, that's what it's like, not rubbery like shirataki.

                                        2. re: mcf
                                          sedimental Aug 11, 2012 02:11 PM

                                          The OP didn't say they were diabetic, so I assumed they were not. Everything I suggested all are lower carb substitutes for regular pasta -or about 1/2 the carb counts in regular pasta. I keep my carbs to between 50 and 100 per day depending on my work out schedule.

                                          Remember that not everyone that eats low carb all or most of the time is diabetic. In fact, probably MOST people eating the popular paleo or primal diets these days are NOT diabetic -but consider themselves low carb eaters due to generally not eating grains. Many are body builders and athletes. Low carb is usually defined as 20 percent or less of your total calorie intake in a day (not in a meal). All of the pasta's I suggested can fall well within those guidelines -but may not be the best for a diabetic.

                                          1. re: sedimental
                                            fldhkybnva Aug 11, 2012 02:25 PM

                                            I am not diabetic, but as sedimental correctly assumed I am very into strength training and follow the paleo/primal diet.

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                              mcf Aug 11, 2012 02:42 PM

                                              Then you were asking for non grain alternatives entirely, then?

                                              1. re: mcf
                                                fldhkybnva Aug 11, 2012 03:47 PM

                                                yea, perhaps should have specified although I do many veggies as the carb contribution often includes a large proportion of fiber.

                                            2. re: sedimental
                                              mcf Aug 11, 2012 02:39 PM

                                              The carb counts on the packages of some of those products are identical to the carb counts on regular pastas. The claim they make is that the carbs are not all digested. The OP asked for "low carb." I only mentioned DM because that's how I know that Dreamfield's is often fully digested, albeit at a crawl that raises blood sugar for many hours. Most folks asking for low carb are typically trying to avoid such events, even if not DM; I know I was, years back.

                                              1. re: mcf
                                                sedimental Aug 11, 2012 03:53 PM

                                                Yes, I understand. The term "low carb" covers alot of territory these days. I eat primal about 80 to 90 percent of the time. Many primal eaters like Buckwheat (for a variety of reasons) that is why I mentioned it.

                                                Also, in regard to blood sugar- I don't think you would be always be correct to assume that "...Most folks asking for low carb are typically trying to avoid such events, even if not DM". There are many different reasons that people adopt the paleo/primal diet and it is not to avoid blood sugar spikes. That can be beneficial -but is also certainly NOT the main concern, especially for "carb cycler's".

                                                1. re: sedimental
                                                  mcf Aug 11, 2012 05:49 PM

                                                  I wasn't referring to bg "spikes." An awful lot of folks eat that way for fitness and/or body building. They also want to minimize insulin spikes, which keep blood glucose down. I'm pretty sure I didn't say everyone has this in mind, but I've been on forums discussing these plans for many years, and that's usually part of or most of the picture, when it isn't the entire goal.

                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                    sedimental Aug 11, 2012 08:48 PM


                                        3. mcf Aug 10, 2012 09:18 AM

                                          I've low carbed a lot of years and corresponded about it with others. Depending upon what kind of dish you're making, pasta subs come in the form of cooked string beans, skinny noodle shaped slices of eggplant, drained then sauteed (GREAT with cream sauce), dried tofu noodles from an Asian grocery, or a small serving of Carba Nada noodles (not low carb, but low impact, doesn't budge my glucose meter). The eggplant noodles I make are from this Alton Brown recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... The dried tofu noodles are almost no carbs and are probably closest to real noodles... you can buy them in sheets, too, and cut to any shape.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mcf
                                            Sarah Perry Aug 13, 2012 12:53 PM

                                            Love the vegetable suggestions. I recently made a ragu with pork and bacon, and instead of pasta, added chiffonaded Swiss chard in the last few minutes of cooking. It was great!

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