Finally! Great alternatives to Rice and Pasta

I absolutely love pasta and rice, maybe a little too much! There was a time when I ate one or the other every single night. Pasta was the first thing I was great at cooking; I’d top it with veggies, chicken, fish, you name it.  I’d make it into a cheesy goodness and bake it in the oven, or just as a side with a little olive oil.  Pasta was so easy to make it became my staple; my safe haven! Rice quickly joined the team and for a long time I was obsessed with frozen brown rice.  It was so easy and mindless to make! Little did I know, I was a carb addict. I thought I needed a “starch” at every meal.  Boy was I wrong! There are tons of great alternatives to rice and pasta.

There are so many to pick from, but my top three replacements for pasta or rice are: Quinoa, Zucchini or Carrot Pasta, and Shredded Green Cabbage.  Let’s start with quinoa, which seems to be all the rage lately!  It’s not a true cereal or grain, more like edible seeds.  One cup of quinoa has around two hundred and twenty calories, but cut that in half.  I rarely eat more than a half a cup! My favorite is to mix quinoa with avocado and tomato, add a little cucumber on top and serve over a bed of spinach. That’s a power packed meal! Not to mention you’ll feel great after you eat it and it’s so easy to make. Score!

Next up is the zucchini and carrot pastas. Just because I try to zero my pasta intake doesn’t mean I don’t crave a good old homemade Italian meal!  I’m a huge fan of making zucchini and carrot pasta.  Simply peel the vegetables of their skin and then continue to “peel” them into long, thin string like pieces.  If you’re feeling creative you can peel them to look very much like tagliatelle pasta. I add my veggie “pasta” to a large skillet pan with a little olive oil and water.  Cook at least until the water boils down; longer is better so it gets very soft.  Top your veggie “pasta” with tomato sauce and even add turkey meatballs on top.  My personal favorite: sauté onions and mushrooms, add in some broccoli and you have an all veggie dinner! It’s super yummy, healthy and so easy to make. It totally satisfies my Italian dinner craving!

Finally, we have shredded green cabbage. I love any sort of Asian cuisine and was once a sucker for those delish noodle dishes. Spicy please! I would make my own homemade style too, but no longer with noodles. I recently discovered a love for cabbage, specifically the shredded green kind.  Did you know you can make amazing dishes with it; as a pasta alternative?  Sure, you can top it on salad and you can add it into soup, but the best and my personal favorite is to boil that sucker! Yep, boil it just like you do noodles, just not as long.  Once it’s cooked make it an Asian style dish by adding soy sauce and stir-fried vegetables.  I’m also obsessed with tofu, spicing it up with Chinese all spice, sesame seeds, and sriracha sauce.  Add that to your Asian cabbage; it’s delicious! Like all my recommendations its low calorie and quite filling. Not to mention it’ll leave your taste buds satisfied for hours!

There you have it, three great alternatives to the carb and calorie hole of pasta and rice. Do you want to know a secret? All of the dishes above take only thirty minutes to make. That’s right! They’re healthy, creative, filling and quick. If that doesn’t motivate you to eat right, call me. I’ll come over and help in person!

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  1. cupcakesandnailpolish

    July 10, 2013 at 10:10 am

    love it! I’m on a zucchini kick…I take a whole zucchini – cut it in half, cut a small slice in the bottom of each half so they lay flat – then, I brush with tops with olive oil, sprinkle on sea salt, pepper, oregano…top with some low fat mozzarella and cut up baby tomatoes. Pop in the oven on bake @ 375 for 20 minutes. It is DELICIOUS!!! great side dish!

    • Mandi Mellen

      July 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

      That sounds delish!!!! I’ll have to try that 🙂

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