Big bowls of pasta are among life's greatest pleasures; I think we can all agree. It is commonly thought of as a classic comfort food. Dishes like lasagna, pasta alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, plus many more of your favorite pasta dishes are a mainstay in most households, with something for every day of the week.
Regular pasta made from wheat isn't a safe option for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Gluten-free pasta alternatives made from grains or legumes such as rice, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, or corn do not contain gluten and are suitable for people with gluten intolerance.
People with a gluten sensitivity following a keto diet may wonder "Is gluten-free pasta keto?"
In this guide, we will answer the question, "Is gluten-free pasta keto friendly?" We’ll also rank, by their net carbs, many of the common gluten-free pasta alternatives on the market today, including each option's macronutrients, to help you make the best decisions on your keto journey.
Read on to learn about the compatibility of gluten-free pasta and the ketogenic diet.
Is Gluten Free Pasta Keto-Friendly?
Regular gluten-free pasta is not keto-friendly since it is quite rich in carbs. You may be taken out of ketosis even with a small serving.
Gluten-free pasta has a much higher carbohydrate content and a much lower fat content than is recommended for a ketogenic diet.
Your daily net carb consumption should be between 20 and 50 grams if you want to remain in ketosis, but regular gluten-free pasta is high in carbohydrates with an average net carb content of over 40g per serving.
So when following a ketogenic diet, you should stay away from gluten-free pasta as this can quickly derail your weight loss and health goals.
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Low Carb?
No, the carbohydrate content in the most common gluten-free pasta is even higher than traditional wheat pasta.
Gluten-free pasta is often made with corn, maize, quinoa, rice, chickpeas, or buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour. These alternative flours offer people on a gluten-free diet the ability to satisfy their pasta cravings but do not align with a low carb diet.
What Is Gluten-Free Pasta Made From?
Typically gluten-free pasta is made from rice, corn, quinoa, chickpea, or buckwheat flour. These alternative pasta products are available in various sizes and shapes, from lasagna noodles to spaghetti and macaroni noodles to penne pasta. Consequently, they are suitable for persons with gluten intolerances while trying to retain a flavor and texture that is easily mistaken for traditional pasta.
For those unfamiliar with gluten free pasta alternatives, there are two main types: those made with legumes like chickpeas and red lentils, which are promoted as being healthier alternatives to wheat-based pasta; and those made with components like maize and rice flour, which are designed to mimic wheat-based pasta.
Carbs In Gluten-Free Pasta
The carb content of gluten-free pasta can vary depending on the type of ingredients used to make the pasta. Generally, alternative flour made from rice, corn, quinoa, peas, and chickpeas is used to make the majority of gluten-free pasta. The carbohydrate content of these flours can vary.
On average, a cooked 2-ounce (56-gram) portion of gluten-free pasta may have between 40 and 50 grams of carbs. However, this value may change depending on the brand and particular ingredients used.
For precise information regarding the carb content of a specific gluten-free pasta you consider purchasing, it is crucial to read the nutrition label on the package.
You can also see our chart below that ranks the most common brands by their net carbs.
Remember that portion size is also key when considering carb intake, especially if you are managing conditions like diabetes or following a specific low carb diet plan. For specific information regarding the nutritional composition of any food product, always check the nutritional facts label.
Best Low-Carb Pasta Alternatives
Traditional wheat pasta can be swapped out for a variety of gluten free keto-friendly pasta alternatives. These options are excellent for those on keto or low-carb diets, those with gluten sensitivity, as well as for anyone trying to cut back on their carbohydrate intake.
Here are some popular low-carb pasta alternatives:
Almond Flour Pasta
Low carb pasta recipes are typically made using almond flour, as it is a keto friendly favorite ingredient. Almond flour pasta does not have the lowest carb count of the gluten-free low carb pastas on the market, but it has the most authentic pasta taste and similar texture. With 16 grams of net carbs per serving, it is not compatible with a strict keto diet but may fit into a low-carbohydrate diet.
Spiralized zucchini noodles, often known as zoodles, are the most widely used low carb pasta alternatives to traditional pasta in the keto world. Zucchini noodles are a great low-carb, gluten-free option due to their mild flavor and texture, which is quite similar to that of traditional pasta.
The flavor of the zucchini noodles will be improved by using any delicious sauce you choose. The most significant challenge when preparing zucchini noodles is preventing them from getting soggy or watery while cooked. Read our guide on how to make the Best Zucchini noodles.
When cooked, the flesh of spaghetti squash can be easily scraped into strands that resemble spaghetti. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a nice texture that works well with sauces.
The next low carb alternative to spaghetti is konjac noodles, sometimes called shirataki or miracle noodles. These noodles are commonly used in Japanese and Korean cuisine but are vegan and gluten-free. Konjac noodles have a unique texture that is slightly gelatinous and undeniably chewier than regular pasta or spaghetti, which might lead to a negative reputation.
Because certain kinds of shirataki noodles can be glassy, they might not be the best option for dishes that call for saucy pasta. They truly shine, though, in Asian dishes like stir-fried noodles and chilled noodle salads.
Shirataki noodles are versatile and may be used in both keto and gluten-free meals. This pasta alternative only has 1g of net carbs.
Hearts of Palm Noodles
Another newcomer to the realm of pasta alternatives is hearts of palm noodles. These are a fantastic substitute for regular keto noodles because they are both gluten-free and extremely low in carbs. Like konjac noodles, hearts of palm noodles taste best after being well washed, seasoned, and cooked. Heart of palm noodles have a texture similar to zucchini noodles and a similar ability to absorb the aromas of whatever you're cooking.
These low carb noodles are made from kelp seaweed and are very low in calories and carbs. They are crunchy and have a neutral flavor, making them versatile for various dishes.
Made using Edamame flour (Soybean flour). Quite low in net carbs due to its high dietary fiber content. Edamame spaghetti cooks up very quickly and is best served with your favorite sauce or pesto as it does have an edamame taste.
Black Soybean Noodles
Black soybeans are the main ingredient, which give the noodles a gray color after they are cooked. Similar macros to the above Edamame spaghetti.
While will not have exactly like traditional pasta texture and flavor, cauliflower florets can be used as the macaroni to replace the pasta in a gluten free and keto friendly mac & cheese dish.
Thin Sliced Eggplant
Thinly sliced eggplant can be used in place of lasagna noodles to create a low-carb version of the dish. Eggplant delivers a mild flavor and a soft texture.
Chart of Gluten-free pasta ranked by net carbs
|Alternative Pasta type - Brand name
|Shirataki noodles - Miracle Noodle
|Hearts of Palm - Palmini Pouch
|Kelp Noodles - Sea Tangle
|Zucchini Noodles - 365 Whole Foods
|Spaghetti Squash - Solely Organic
|Edamame Spaghetti - Explore Cuisine
|Black Soybeans - Explore
|Almond Flour - Capello's
|Buckwheat - Big Green
|Chickpeas - Banza
|Traditional Wheat Flour Pasta- Barilla
|Brown rice - Jovial
|Corn & Rice -Barilla
|Quinoa - Andean Dream
|Yellow Peas - Zenb
|Corn - Le Veneziane Italian
|Cassava - Jovial
Is Chickpea Pasta Keto?
Chickpea pasta is not keto. About 32 grams of carbohydrates may be found in a single dry 2-ounce (57-gram) pasta. That makes it inappropriate for ketogenic or low-carb diets.
Is Lentil Pasta Keto?
Due to its high carb content, lentil pasta is not suitable for the ketogenic diet. Even a modest portion size has the potential to throw you out of ketosis.
In terms of the keto diet, the key concern is the carbohydrate content of the pasta, not whether it's gluten-free or not. Most traditional pasta, which contains wheat flour, is high in carbohydrates and not suitable for a keto diet.
Similarly, many gluten-free pasta options are still relatively high in carbohydrates due to the alternative flour used.
So if you're following a ketogenic diet, you should choose pasta alternatives (as discussed above) that are both gluten-free and low in carbohydrates. Such as delicious spaghetti squash noodles!
Additionally, seeking advice from a certified dietitian or healthcare expert is a good idea before making any dietary changes, especially for specialized diets like the ketogenic diet. They can provide personalized guidance based on your health goals and needs.
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Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles
- Warm the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the zucchini noodles. Cook for about 2 minutes, constantly tossing gently with kitchen tongs, until the water releases from the zucchini and it begins to feel tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the noodles to a fine mesh strainer to drain off as much of the water as possible. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper.