Pasta and Rice Substitutes for a Paleo Diet

Planning a meal when on a Paleo diet (or caveman diet) can be difficult initially, especially if you’re used to a diet with grains, dairy, and beans. When you switch to a Paleo diet, it is better to make a meal plan for at least a week ahead so that you can shop and store ingredients. A basic meal should include a huge pile of vegetables, that is, at least half the food on the plate should be vegetables, 1 to 2 palm-sized servings of animal protein (or 3 to 4 eggs), some healthy fats like coconut oil or olive oil, and some fruits and nuts.

Also, rice and pasta lovers need not miss out on their favorites. Instead, they can try healthier substitutes made with vegetables to get the texture of rice and pasta, such as:

1. Cauliflower rice
If you love rice, this Paleo recipe for cauliflower rice is a superb alternative to the regular rice bowl. It tastes as good as rice and is simply another way to add more vegetables to your plate. To make cauliflower rice, you will need 1 head medium cauliflower, riced, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and the juice of 1 lemon.

For cooking this Paleo diet recipe, heat coconut oil in a pan, add the cauliflower and salt, and stir. Cook until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned; add water if necessary. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice before serving. This dish tastes a lot like rice and can be had with a variety of meat and chicken gravies.

2. Zucchini noodles
Zucchini noodles or zoodles are a great substitute for pasta when on a Paleo diet. They have a mild flavor, are gluten-free, and are simple to make. The noodles can be made with a spiralizer, a hand-held spiralizer, a mandoline, or julienne peeler. KitchenAid® spiralizers are the best, but you need not invest in one just to make zoodles. Once sliced to strands, pull them apart and spread them so that they don’t stick to each other.

When it comes to cooking, it’s more about heating zoodles than cooking them. You can also have them raw by mixing them with your favorite ingredients and are delicious even when eaten cold.
Microwaving is also a great and the fastest way to cook zoodles. Pile the zoodles in a microwave-safe dish and cook for a minute. Sauteeing the zucchini noodles with vegetables and spices also adds to the taste. If you want to boil them, ensure that you don’t overcook. Toss the zucchini noodles in a pot of boiling water, cook for a minute, and drain as soon as they are cooked.

Baking zoodles with vegetables or meat is highly time-consuming as it lets out a lot of moisture, but the result is delicious zoodles. Preheat an oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking sheet with a paper towel, and evenly distribute the noodles on it. Sprinkle some salt to draw out the moisture from the noodles, and cook them for 10 to 15 minutes. Take the zoodles out of the oven and squeeze them in the paper towel gently to remove any moisture.

3. Other noodly options
You can also make similar noodles from cucumber, eggplant sheets can substitute lasagne style sheets made with flour, and spaghetti squash can be made into thin noodles. Also, root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, and parsnips can be made into fettuccini style or spaghetti-style noodles for a Paleo diet.