Pasta aglio e olio gets a wholesome twist with this sweet potato spaghetti. It’s spicy, garlicky and despite its name, it’s oil free! Ready in 25 minutes or less.
This recipe was originally published in May 2018. It has been updated for content and photos.
Here’s a dish you can enjoy any time of year. While sweet potatoes are typically in season in the autumn months, this staple ingredient is available in most grocery stores all year long.
Consider this sweet potato spaghetti recipe a HEALTHY twist on the classic Italian pasta aglio e olio. (Translated as pasta with garlic and oil.) It’s traditionally spicy, garlicky and instead of using tomato sauce, it features an olive oil base.
What makes it healthy?
- Rather than using calorie dense wheat pasta, I’m opting for noodles made from vegetables! Yes you CAN make spaghetti from sweet potatoes. All you need is a spiralizer. (And I can’t recommend it enough, I use mine weekly!)
- Sweet potatoes are not only far lower in calories, compared to wheat, but they are packed with nutrients too. They also have the added bonus of being naturally gluten free and allergen friendly.
- Fat free! While the classic Italian version of this dish uses a hefty amount of oil, I’m keeping this one oil free by using homemade aquafaba, instead. (Aquafaba is the leftover cooking liquid from cooking chickpeas.)
- Veggies on veggies! I’m adding spinach to this already veggie dense dish. So now you’ve got added nutrients like iron and other vitamins.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Sweet potatoes: Choose potatoes that are narrow and long for ease of spiralizing. If they are warped in shape, they’ll be a little more difficult to handle. To save time, you may also use store bought spiralized noodles.
- Baby spinach: You may use any green vegetable in its place if you don’t have spinach on hand. Some examples include: green peas, broccoli, kale or green beans. Just be sure to precook your greens before mixing them into the sweet potato noodles.
- Aquafaba: This special ingredient is the leftover liquid you get from cooking chickpeas and is replacing oil in this recipe. Or you may open up a can of chickpes and use its liquid. If you don’t have any available, vegetable broth is a great alternative, with similar results.
- You may also use oil, as the classic version calls for, IF you’re not avoiding oil or fat. However, this will drastically increase the calories and fat per serving.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is key here, so do not sub for garlic powder.
- Parsley, red chili flakes and salt: These all add flavour, and although you may adjust to your taste, I do not suggest omitting any of the seasonings.
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Peel your potatoes and then use a spiralizer to turn your veggies into sweet potato pasta. Place in a bowl and set aside. (photos 1-2)
NOTE: If you don’t have a spiralizer, you CAN use a mandolin, but this will take much longer, and you must use extreme caution to prevent cutting your hands. I highly recommend a proper spiralizing tool.
Add the aquafaba (or broth or oil) to a large skillet, along with the minced garlic and all the seasoning. Sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning. (photos 3-4)
Next, add the sweet potato spaghetti and mix well to evenly coat with the spices. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes. (photos 5-6)
NOTE: Do NOT overcook! The sweet potato noodles go from crisp to overdone quickly and these taste best with some bite.
Turn off the heat, add the spinach, and stir until wilted. (photos 7-8)
Enjoy as is, or serve with an extra sprinkle of red pepper flakes and dairy free parmesan cheese.
For a richer dish, you may use olive oil (instead of aquafaba) as is traditionally used in spaghetti aglio e olio. However, this will increase the calories and fat per serving.
Alfredo sweet potato pasta: Sauté your noodles as directed, but skip the garlic and spices. Then use this amazing dairy free blender Alfredo sauce to pour over your “pasta”.
Make a sweet version: Skip the garlic and savoury seasonings and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, one-quarter teaspoon of nutmeg, and finish it off with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Not feeling sweet potatoes? Try this dish with spiralized zucchini, beets, carrots, butternut squash, or broccoli.
Or try these zucchini noodles with vegan Bolognese sauce.
Your sweet potato spaghetti can be prepared in advance. Spiralize your noodles up to 3 days before cooking and store them in a sealed container or zip-top bag in your fridge.
Once cooked, leftovers keep refrigerated for 3-4 days in a sealed container. Reheat on the stovetop.
I don’t recommend freezing leftovers as the noodles will get soggy once frozen and thawed.
I highly recommend using a spiralizer to make your vegetable noodles. If you don’t have one already, I cannot recommend this tool enough. Especially if healthy eating is your goal. It’s a fun way to make delicious and satisfying meals that are low in calories and wholesome.
Although you CAN use a mandolin to make noodles from veggies, it’s not only more time-consuming but, you’ll need to use extreme caution to prevent cutting your hands. I don’t really recommend this route.
- For ease of spiralizing, use sweet potatoes that are narrow, long, and straight. Or you may purchase pre-spiralized sweet potato noodles from your grocery store to save time.
- If using canned aquafaba with salt, you may want to reduce the salt in the recipe, and then taste and add more, if needed.
- Do NOT overcook the noodles. You want the noodles tender but crisp, and not overly soft, for the best texture and to mimic ‘al dente’ pasta.
- If you don’t have spinach, you may sub for another green veggie. Precook your greens if necessary.
- For less spice, reduce the red pepper flakes by half. This dish is traditionally spicy, but be sure to spice to your taste and tolerance.
More sweet potato recipes
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- 4 medium sweet potatoes use potatoes that are narrow and long
- ¼ cup aquafaba or vegetable broth
- 4-5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 5 ounces (142 grams) baby spinach approx. 4 packed cups
For Serving (optional)
- vegan parmesan cheese
- red pepper flakes
- Peel and spiralize your sweet potatoes into spaghetti. Set aside.
- Use a large skillet and add the aquafaba (or broth), along with the garlic, parsley, pepper flakes and salt. Sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning.
- Add the sweet potato spaghetti to the pan and mix to evenly coat with the spices and cook over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, until slightly softened, but do not overcook. Add a few splashes of water or broth as needed, to prevent the noodles from sticking to the pan.
- Turn off the heat and add the spinach. Stir until wilted and then serve.