If I could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, I would choose pasta in a heartbeat. From Italian spaghetti and rotini to Japanese udon and Chinese knife-cut noodles, I would gladly eat it all, every single day, if not for one important factor: traditional wheat pasta isn’t exactly good for you.
The average dried pasta loses a lot of nutritional value once it’s processed, so you end up eating a lot of calories but not many vitamins and minerals. Many people share my sentiment about pasta as the superior food group, but as its health benefits (or lack thereof) become glaringly apparent, they resign themselves to cutting pasta out of their lives.
Luckily, alternatives made from ingredients that are much better for you — beans, chickpeas, and lentils, just to name a few — now exist to appease the health-minded pasta lover.
There’s little to compromise here; in fact, you actually gain from eating these new types of pastas because they cook and taste like traditional pasta while offering more protein, more fiber, and fewer carbs. They’re also great for people with gluten sensitivities and fitness-minded eaters who want a protein source other than meat.
For your next dinner, try subbing regular wheat pasta with these better-for-you alternatives. Your body will feel the difference, but your mouth likely won’t.
Made from chickpeas, Banza Pasta has twice as much protein as regular wheat pasta, four times the fiber, and 40% fewer carbs. It’s low on the glycemic index and also certified non-GMO.
Other than flour and water, Bentilia is made with only one ingredient: red or green lentils from North America. Lentils offer a wealth of health benefits, including protein and high prebiotic fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.
This Canadian brand is a favorite among vegetarians and plant-based foodies. Tolerant Foods uses black beans, chickpeas, and lentils in its pastas. These legumes provide longer-lasting energy and one cup serves as a full serving of vegetables.