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Pasta Substitute - Yellow Squash Ribbons

An Easy Low-Carb Pasta Idea


Updated August 31, 2011

Pasta Substitute - Yellow Squash Ribbons

Squash pasta substitute ribbons and noodles

Elizabeth Woolley

Pasta is one of the hard-to-avoid and hard-to-limit foods when you are trying to control carbohydrates with type 2 diabetes. It is also a very empty food with not very many nutrients. It is important when you are on a diet that limits foods or calories to try to incorporate as many nutritious foods as possible. You might want to consider using a pasta substitute.

Yellow summer squash is an excellent non-starchy choice that is surprisingly tasty as a pasta substitute. Yellow squash is a healthy food that provides vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, manganese, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, dietary fiber, and folate.

A good part of the calories and carbohydrates come from sugars, but the fiber helps to offset the effective carbohydrate count. In a nutshell, this means the fiber lowers the amount of usable carbs as the calories and carbohydrates within the fiber get eliminated from the body.

One cup of sliced yellow squash contains 18 calories, 0 grams fat, 2 grams sugar, 4 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, and 1 gram of protein. It has an estimated glycemic load of 2 and is considered mildly anti-inflammatory.

Making Squash Pasta Substitute Ribbons or Noodles with a Potato Peeler

  • Wash the yellow summer squash.
  • According to your personal taste, you can use or discard the outer peel. Peel and discard the outer peel if you choose to do this.
  • Place the squash on a cutting board and start to peel the squash lengthwise to the desired width, making long ribbons. You can control the width by slightly rotating the squash after each peel and peeling the next new surface.
  • Try to avoid the seeds in the center as strips with too many seeds will be mushy. Discard the seed center, throw it in the compost pile, or eat it.
  • If you choose to make smaller noodles you can slice the peel ribbons with a knife into thin noodle strips or use a julienne peeler. Julienne peelers make beautiful, perfect noodles.

Cooking Your Yellow Squash Pasta Substitute

You can either use the ribbons or noodles as-is or lightly salt the strips and allow them to sweat for 30 minutes. This will lessen the amount of moisture they release if you choose to saute them. Of all the methods suggested below, I personally prefer to saute and to cook until they are al dente (cooked but still a little firm and chewy). Try your pasta substitute with your favorite sauce or seasonings.

Some options for cooking include:

  • Use the strips raw
  • Blanch in hot salted water
  • Boil for up to 1 minute in hot salted water and then blanch in cold water
  • Saute with a little olive oil or cooking spray

My favorite easy recipe using squash as a pasta substitute is teriyaki squash pasta with pumpkin seeds.

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