In this article, I’ll talk about whether or not gluten-free pasta is low carb, as well as share six of my favorite low-carb gluten-free pasta options with you. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
Did you know that just because something is labeled “gluten free” doesn’t mean it’s “good for you.” In fact, many gluten-free alternatives may even contain more fat, calories or sugar than their gluten counterpart.
Most gluten-free pasta is made from brown rice, corn, and quinoa, or a combination of these gluten-free grains. Remember, gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats. While gluten-free products do not contain these common grains, they do contain gluten-free grains and plenty of carbs.
Carbs – or carbohydrates – consist of fiber, starches and sugars that convert to glucose in your body and give you energy. There are simple and complex carbs.
Simple carbohydrates are naturally found in fruit and milk, but more likely in processed foods, desserts, soft drinks and even bread and pasta. Simple carbs cause your blood sugar levels to spike and crash, often leaving you hungry an hour after eating a candy bar.
Complex carbohydrates are found in lentils, beans, whole grains and vegetables and they are slowly digested by your body, making you feel full longer and they don’t spike and crash your blood sugar like simple carbohydrates do.
I recommend eating complex carbohydrates when possible, knowing that most carb-restrictive “diets” don’t work. Plus, low-carb diets can put you at high risk for cardiovascular diseases and often have you eating more animal products and fats than a variety of foods that keep you feeling full, satiated and well nourished.
There are many great gluten-free pastas to be had. I enjoy Jovial brown rice pasta and Tinkyada brown rice pasta the most. I also love fresh gluten-free pasta from Trader Joe’s and Taste Republic.
However, if you’re cutting carbs from your diet by following a low-carb diet, such as the ketogenic diet, below are a few options to consider.
1. Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti
There’s a reason I’m listing Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti first. It’s because it offers an amazing, pasta-like texture that will fool your taste buds into thinking you’re eating gluten-free ramen noodles.
Tofu Shirataki is made from a blend of tofu and konnyaku (or konjac), an Asian yam, and contains 20 calories and only 6 grams of carbs for the whole package.
It’s certified gluten free by the GFCO, Non-GMO Project verified, vegan, keto-friendly and perfect for any recipe that calls for pasta.
To prepare tofu shirataki, simply boil the noodles in hot water for one minute, drain and rinse, and then top with your favorite pasta sauce, cheese, and veggies.
I found Tofu Shirataki at my local Sprouts.
Related Reading: Is Tofu Gluten Free?
2. Miracle Noodles
Miracle Noodles live up to its name as each bag contains a low-carb pasta alternative that taste great and make you feel like you’re eating a big bowl of noodles.
Miracle Noodles are made from purified water, konnyaku flour (a spongy plant popular in Japanese cuisine), β-carotene, and calcium hydroxide.
These noodles pack tons of fiber and help you avoid consuming excess calories while filling you with plenty of fiber.
Each package contains only 15 calories (5 calories per serving), so you can pile these noodles high on your plate for a totally satisfying and bountiful meal.
Please note, I tried several of the Miracle Noodle flavored meals and didn’t love them. The ones I tried were flavored with sugar alternatives that just tasted artificial to me. I prefer to eat the plain Miracle Noodles that I season myself.
3. Zucchini Noodles
Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned zucchini noodle, which many refer to as a zoodle. While a zoodle doesn’t taste like pasta, per se, you can spiralize it so it looks like pasta and use it in lieu of carb-loaded pasta in any of your favorite pasta dishes.
You can spiralize zucchini in one of two ways. The first, and cheapest way to do so, is with the Veggetti. It’s a simple tool that helps you twist the zucchini into spaghetti-shaped spirals.
I happen to have an awesome Ninja high-speed blender, which I use to make smoothies and other blended foods because it comes with a spiralizer attachment. I put the zucchini in the spiralizer and it takes about 10 seconds flat before beautiful zoodles appear.
You can cook zucchini noodles in a variety of ways. You can stir fry them for a minute in any stir fry, zap them in the microwave for 1 minute to soften them, or simply eat them raw if you want a little more bite.
4. Spaghetti Squash
I love spaghetti squash because, let’s face it, I can eat a ton of it without feeling guilty.
What I love about spaghetti squash is that it’s a low carb vegetable (unlike other squashes), and it’s so good for you as a result.
At 31 calories per serving, this fiber-loaded spaghetti can be eaten by the bowl full and is loaded with vitamins A, C and B6, potassium and calcium.
I either roast spaghetti squash in my oven, in my air-fryer, which takes just a few minutes to do, or in my slow cooker when I’m making my famous turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash.
There you have it … six amazing gluten-free and low-carb pasta alternatives that also happen to be good for you too!
5. Healthy Noodle
Healthy Noodle is a flat, versatile low-carb noodle that tastes great and can serve as a substitute in any pasta dish. The noodles are primarily made from soybean flour and yam konjac powder.
An entire bag contains only 30 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and no sugar, making it a great option for those following a ketogenic diet and for diabetics too. I found a 6-pack of them at my local Costco.
6. Hearts of Palm Pasta
A new type of low-carb pasta is making its way onto store shelves these days, and that pasta is made from hearts of palm. The most popular brand of hearts of palm pasta is from a brand called Palmini, which appeared on Shark Tank.
I also found hearts of palm pasta at Trader Joe’s. I haven’t had the opportunity to try this pasta yet, but all in all, it’s a great low-carb option.
Both the Trader Joe’s and the Palmini pastas contain 20 calories and 4 grams of carbs per serving.
The only ingredient in the pasta is hearts of palm, which is a vegetable harvested from the core of a palm tree.
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Keto Friendly?
No, gluten-free pasta made from brown rice, corn or quinia is not keto-friendly. A keto diet prioritizes high-fat, low-carb foods. Pasta made from any grain contains a lot of simple carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar and kick you out of ketosis.
If you’re on a ketogenic diet, zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash are the best for you, but you can also comfortably enjoy Miracle Noodles and Tofu Shirataki. Edamame and bean pastas are high in (complex carbs) and are not recommended for those following a keto diet.
Did you know that Noodles and Company offers zucchini noodles – or zoodles – as a low-carb option in every pasta dish?
Don’t Care about Carbs?
If you don’t care about carbs, but just want a tasty gluten-free pasta, I highly recommend Tinkyada brown rice noodles. I use these noodles almost exclusively in my recipes because it offers a wonderful texture that isn’t gritty or mushy. I also love Jovial brown rice pasta and Taste Republic fresh pasta.
Alternatively, you can make your own gluten-free pasta from scratch. Try my two-ingredient gluten-free pasta recipe, or my gluten-free egg noodle recipe. Both are delicious, homemade pasta options that taste amazing if you have the time, patience and appetite for carbs.
If you’re interested in learning about gluten-free ramen noodle options, be sure to check out my guide to gluten-free ramen noodles. Again, these are not low-carb options, but they are gluten free and they taste great.