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Who Says You Can’t Have Noodles on a Paleo Diet?


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People on a Paleo diet often miss noodles. The gluten-free crowd has pasta products made from quinoa, rice and other “alternative” grains, but what about us grain-free folks? What can we do when we’re feeling like a bowl of spaghetti with meat sauce or a Thai green curry with noodles?

Ah, this is where spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles come in. Granted, they won’t match the texture of noodles made from wheat or other grains, but that’s easily made up for by the fact that you can eat them safely without making your gut leaky or setting fire to your immune system.

For the spaghetti squash, simply cut in half, put face down on a roasting pan, and roast at 400F for about 25-30 minutes. Let cook, and then scoop out the flesh with a fork. It will naturally take the shape of noodles.

For the zucchini noodles, just take an everyday vegetable peeler and peel of strips of zucchini into noodle lengths. Then saute in butter, ghee or coconut oil. Presto!

Once you’ve got your squash noodles, you can cover them with anything else you’d put on top of noodles. One of my favorite recipes, which I recently posted on my Facebook page, is a Thai green curry with chicken, red peppers, fresh spinach, cilantro and lime. I use the spaghetti squash for this.

But sometimes nothing beats a good ol’ bowl of spaghetti bolognese. Though either type of squash noodle works well here, I tend to use the zucchini noodles with the bolognese because they’re a little more neutral in flavor.

Another favorite is Health-Bent’s “Paleo Beef Lo Mein” recipe (pictured below).

beef lo mein made with spaghetti squash
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Chris Kresser in kitchen
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Join the conversation

  1. I missed linguini with clam sauce when I went Paleo, but going Gluten free has helped me feel better. I tried spagetti squash and clam/mussels/oysters in a olive oil sauce with oinions and garlic, have to say, it is almost as good. I miss pasta, but after a few months, these substitues taste pretty good.

  2. Carrot noodles, if you can find nice long, big carrots. The same method as with the zucchini noodles.

  3. Check out the various “spiralizer” gadgets available; they are used (mostly by the raw vegan crowd) to make noodles out of all sorts of vegetables.

  4. I love baking spaghetti squash – I usually eat some the same night with a bolognese sauce, and then I have a half or two that I pop in the fridge, which I can shred into a bowl over the next couple of days to make a cold “pasta” salad, or warm with another entree. One of the best leftovers paleo foods, I’ve found!

  5. My two personal favorite paleo noodle substitutes are 1) cabbage, cut into long strips and then braised or steamed (reminiscent of cabbage rolls, yum!), and 2) chopped kale, steamed (just a great flavor combination). I highly recommend giving it a try!

  6. I love using winter squash for noodles. I spiralize the neck of a small butternut squash: the resulting noodles hold up better than zucchini noodles to boiling/cooking, and taste great.

    • That looks fantastic! I would love to put that on my pinterest food account. My name is sandy san if you have it on there please share.

  7. Do you source kelp noodles at an Asian market? I go to a great one in Schaumberg, IL (Mitsawa) for the best price on shirataki (konjac) noodles. This is a great soluble fiber (no Cal) product that really fills you up.

  8. I made spaghetti squash a few weeks ago after a recommendation from a friend. It was really easy, and the best part was that it made about 5 large meals. The squash itself was only $4 and then I added grass-fed beef and tomato sauce for a cheap meal. Delish! I’m definitely looking forward to trying more recipes with spaghetti squash.

  9. Don’t forget kelp noodles! They make things super quick and easy. My daughters are finicky eaters and they made faces the first time they saw kelp noodles, but we’ve made an agreement that they will try everything I fix at least once. They were pleasantly surprised when they discovered that the kelp noodles take on the taste of whatever you put them in. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re the same texture as pasta (when cooked). They might look strange, but you still get the pasta experience from the texture. And now they beg me at least once a week to make spaghetti with kelp noodles. My next idea is to try chicken kelp noodle soup!

    • This sounds great! I love the idea of kelp noodles, but how on earth do you make them?? Or do you buy them!