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I'm looking for something with the physical properties of pasta (spaghetti or similar, not lasagne). Something that I can toss with a sauce or oil and serve in a large bowl for a weekday supper. Something grain-free and natural.

I've tried a large onion cut into thin strips (probably the most successful) and leeks (tend to be too floppy / wet).

Any other suggestions?

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I'd try some spaghetti squash. Here's a low-carb site with other pasta substitution suggestions. –  JoeFish Sep 26 '13 at 15:07
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+1 on the spaghetti squash. Although probably not suitable for all pasta dishes, it works well in several applications. I usually slice in half, put face down on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 30-45 mins @ 400F. Then, using a fork, shred the meat into the "spaghetti" strands. My go-to preparation is with some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, tomatoes. Good luck! –  Alexei Sep 26 '13 at 15:23
    
I should have read the comments first, sorry. –  SAJ14SAJ Sep 26 '13 at 15:37
    
related : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/7564/67 –  Joe Apr 8 at 16:41
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6 Answers 6

The classic example would be spaghetti squash. It has the unique property that when you cook it, it can be pulled apart into long, thin, pasta-like strands.

You can then sauce it or use it in a manner analogous to pasta, but its nutritional profile is far more similar to squash, because, well, it is squash.

enter image description here

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I wonder if you can find this in the UK. I shall try. –  Jane Sales Sep 26 '13 at 16:29
    
I think you can, although obviously not all year you might have luck now. –  vwiggins Sep 27 '13 at 10:46
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Have you tried spiralized zucchini, yellow squash or carrots?

I use this:

enter image description here

Once they're cut I just blanch them and then toss into any pasta recipe, like so:

enter image description here

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What is that white kitchen gadget called? –  Tim Reddy Sep 26 '13 at 20:29
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@TReddy, it's a spiralizer. $30 on Amazon. –  colejkeene Sep 26 '13 at 20:50
    
What a great idea, thanks! –  Jane Sales Sep 27 '13 at 17:02
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Shirataki noodles are quite the rage, although I've never actually tried them. I understand that they smell fishy when you first open the package, but that goes away. They claim to be made of naturally water soluble fiber with no fat, sugar, or starch. Supposedly some varieties have zero net carbs and zero calories. They have been recommended for Italian style and Asian style applications. I need to place an Amazon order anyway, so I'm going to give them a try.

Miracle Noodles

Look around at the reviews, that will give you some kind of idea what they are (besides expensive).

EDIT: Now that I've tried them, I can say that I kind of like them in Asian style applications (especially soup). I can't even imagine them with a marinara type sauce, I think they'd be awful. They'd probably be fine with any kind of seafood. The packages are smaller than I realized, so they are even more expensive than I thought. For me, they are pretty close to price prohibitive.

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Actually, I have tried these and quite like them, but more in Asian noodle dishes. I should have specified more Italian dishes, sorry. I know you get get versions of this aimed more at that, but I find them rather too rubbery. –  Jane Sales Sep 26 '13 at 16:29
    
Well, it's good to know that you like them, even if not for Italian type applications. I think I'll try them with Asian flavors. –  Jolenealaska Sep 26 '13 at 16:31
    
These have a slightly "fishy" taste to them that complements Italian seafood pasta dishes nicely. –  RI Swamp Yankee Sep 26 '13 at 19:18
    
For anyone interested, Huffington Post just featured these along with a great slide show of recipes. huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/28/… –  Jolenealaska Oct 2 '13 at 13:49
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One that I've had a lot of success with is shredded cabbage. You can easily and quickly cut it into strips of varying width depending on the pasta you are trying to mimic. Lightly boiled in some salt, and served with the sauce of choice the top it comes out quite well.

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Nice idea. I've done this for Pad Thai type dishes, but not tried it for more Italian ones. I bet it makes a good bolognese. –  Jane Sales Sep 27 '13 at 17:03
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In italy we have protein based pasta. It's kinda tasty and it's low on carbs (percentage may change depending on brands).

http://www.produzioneintegratori.it/Alimenti/Pasta_proteica.html http://www.nutriwellshop.it/pasta

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You could consider Miracle Noodle.

Contains Zero Net Carbohydrates, Zero Calories, No Gluten Made of a Naturally dietary fiber called Glucomannan with no fat, sugar, or starch

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That's the same thing as Shirataki noodles, already suggested. –  Jolenealaska Oct 2 '13 at 13:46
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people are cruel ... downvotes for not realizing things had more than one name? –  Joe Nov 13 '13 at 22:24
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