Healthy twists on classic pasta recipes: low-carb, gluten-free, and vegan options

Pasta has been a staple in many cuisines for a reason – it’s delicious, satisfying, and easy to make. However, traditional pasta recipes often contain high amounts of carbs, gluten, and animal products. For those who aim for a healthier lifestyle, here are some healthy twists on classic pasta recipes that are low-carb, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly.

Low-Carb Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish that typically includes pasta, bacon, cheese, and cream. To make a healthier version, substitute spaghetti squash for pasta and use almond milk instead of cream. Here’s how to do it:

– 1 medium spaghetti squash
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 4 slices of turkey bacon, diced
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 3 eggs
– 1/4 cup almond milk
– 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
– Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place it cut-side down in a baking dish. Bake in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 30-40 minutes or until the flesh is tender.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and diced bacon. Cook until crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, and grated parmesan cheese.
5. Scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash into the skillet with the bacon and garlic, and stir together.
6. Turn off the heat, and pour in the egg mixture, stirring continuously until the eggs are cooked and the sauce is thickened.
7. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, and serve hot.

Gluten-Free Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna is a crowd-pleaser, but traditional wheat-based pasta can be problematic for those who have gluten sensitivities. Luckily, there are gluten-free alternatives like rice-based pasta that can be used in this lasagna recipe. Additionally, the dish can be made vegan by substituting ricotta cheese with tofu ricotta. Here’s how to make it:

– 12 gluten-free lasagna noodles
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 onion, chopped
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 zucchini, sliced
– 1 yellow squash, sliced
– 1 red bell pepper, chopped
– 2 cups of baby spinach
– 1 can of diced tomatoes
– 1 tablespoon dried basil
– 1 tablespoon dried oregano
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
– 1 pack of firm tofu
– 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions, and set aside.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, and baby spinach to the skillet, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.
5. In a food processor, pulse the tofu, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and black pepper until smooth and creamy.
6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
7. In a baking dish, layer the lasagna noodles, followed by the vegetable mixture and tofu ricotta. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up.
8. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
9. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Vegan Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Pesto sauce is a classic Italian sauce that traditionally includes basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. However, it’s very easy to make a vegan version by excluding the cheese and using nutritional yeast instead. To make it low-carb, use zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Here’s how to do it:

– 4 medium zucchinis
– 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
– 1/2 cup of pine nuts
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
– 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
– Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Using a spiralizer or a peeler, create zucchini noodles and set them aside.
2. In a food processor, pulse the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, and black pepper until everything is finely chopped.
3. While the food processor is still running, slowly stream in the olive oil until the mixture reaches your desired consistency.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the zucchini noodles and pesto sauce. Stir together and cook until the zucchini noodles are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
5. Season with additional salt and black pepper if needed, and serve hot.


Pasta dishes can be both delicious and healthy at the same time. By replacing traditional pasta with low-carb and gluten-free alternatives like spaghetti squash and rice noodles, and using vegan ingredients like tofu and nutritional yeast, classic pasta recipes can be transformed into plant-based and nutrition-packed dishes that everyone can enjoy.

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