How do legume-based pastas compare to regular pastas?

Have you checked the pasta section of your grocery store lately?

If you have, you would definitely have noticed some new additions to this category. Gone are the days of basic white flour pasta. While whole wheat and whole grain pasta were new and innovative a few years ago, we can now find pasta made from chickpeas, lentils, black beans, mung beans and even edamame. However, the question is whether or not these pastas are actually better for you. Here are a few of the parameters I looked at to determine if they are in fact healthier.

How do these pastas compare in their protein content?

While traditional wheat flour pasta does have protein the legume-based have more protein per serving.

How do these pastas compare in their fibre content?

The legume-based pastas contain more naturally occurring fibre than regular white flour pastas. You can however, buy white pasta that has added fibre. Personally, I prefer food that contains naturally occurring fibre.

Are legume-based pastas gluten-free?

The legume-based pastas are gluten-free.

Do they have a clean ingredient list?

Here is where you have to read labels. Some of the legume-based pastas are not 100% legume based. For example:

Tolerant  Organic Chickpea penne ingredients: organic chickpea flour, organic white rice flour

Explore Cuisine Organic Chickpea fusili ingredients: organic chickpea flour, organic brown rice flour, organic tapioca starch, organic pea protein

Chickapea Organic pasta – organic chickpeas and organic lentils.

Do they come in different shapes?

There are a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from.

Last but not least, how do they taste?

The legume-based pastas taste pretty good.  All of the chickpea-based pastas pretty much taste the same. We also tasted the black bean and edamame and mung bean flavours. We preferred the chickpea pastas over these two.  The key is to follow the instructions and take note of the cooking time as these pastas are more delicate than regular wheat pasta. I set the timer for 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time to make sure they did not over cook. Note that these pastas are a little chewier than regular pasta

Are they kid-friendly?

I find the pastas that look as close to regular wheat pasta were more likely to be eaten in our house. Black, purple or green pasta didn’t go over well.

As far as whether or not these legume-based pastas are healthier, I would say that regular pasta is not unhealthy but these legume-based ones are a little better for you.  I think these pastas work really well for those following a vegetarian diet and they’d make a great addition to your pasta rotation as they are, by the way, significantly more expensive.

Have you tried any of these legume-based pastas? Which ones did your family like? Let me know.

For some recipe inspiration, and my friend Marla’s take on these pastas, check out LoveThyCarrot.

For more inspiration about feeding your vegetarian ,grab a copy of Vegetarian Teen Basics For Busy Parents here.