It’s time to think outside the spaghetti box. The world is now ripe with alternative noodle options that are made with everything from rice and veggies to beans and buckwheat. And, they’re all uniquely delicious in their flavors and textures as a way to mix up your noodle game. While some varieties (like zucchini) are fun and easy to make at home with a spiralizer, others (like buckwheat) are a bit trickier to make from scratch, so you’re better off buying these pre-packaged from the store.
So, break out your fave kitchen tools, fire up the stove top, and get ready to take your noodle game to the next level. Plated can help, too.
Zucchini has two fantastic uses in the noodle world. First, you can spiralize the noodles to create a delicious, crisp spaghetti alternative. These long noodle strands will taste delicious topped with your favorite sauce. Another option: you can slice the zucchini into thin, wide strips (using either a sharp knife or a mandolin) for our Lamb Bolognese with Zucchini Pappardelle.
Sweet Potato Noodles
If you’re looking to change up your pad thai or peanut noodles dinner, try using sweet potato noodles as a base. Sweet potatoes lend this dish a nice crunch and earthy flavor that you wouldn’t get with the rice or wheat noodles traditionally used in these Asian-flavored dishes. A spiralizer will get you the best noodle shape, but a standard vegetable peeler works great here, too. Try it out with our veggie-filled primavera with Alfredo sauce.
Soba noodles—also called buckwheat noodles—are the darling of the Japanese cuisine. This is one that you’re going to want to pick up from the store, rather than try to make at home. Try them either hot in miso or chicken broth, or cold with a peanut or sesame sauce. Plated’s Zaru Soba with Soy-Honey Chicken will give you all the right flavor vibes.
Feel like you need a pop of color in your life during the winter? There’s a noodle for that. Beyond their vibrant, magenta color, beet noodles have a great, earthy almost sweet flavor. Plus, beets and soft cheeses are a match made in heaven, so try pairing your spiralized beets with goat cheese and walnuts, or feta and pistachios for a flavor bursting dinner.
Also called vermicelli, these noodles are highly popular in East Asian cuisine. Rice noodles tend to be quite thin—resembling angel hair pasta more than spaghetti—which means you should pair them with a light sauce or broth that won’t overwhelm the delicate strands. A few ideas: toss them with a simple garlicky tomato sauce or immerse them in Plated’s flavorful coconut curry.
Black bean noodles are made with two ingredients: black beans and water. While they ingredient list is simple, you’re going to want to snag a box of these in the store (they’re not too expensive!). Give your next Taco Tuesday an Italian flair by pairing these cooked noodles with avocado, corn, chopped tomatoes, jalapeño, and cilantro.
The latest newcomer to the alt-noodle scene is the mighty chickpea. The high protein content of this pasta gives it a chewier texture than traditional wheat pasta, but it still holds up to your favorite sauce. Try using it as a base our Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese, which can benefit from a sturdier, chewy base pasta.
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