Edamame Spaghetti Is the Only Gluten-Free Pasta I'm Willing to Eat
This high-fiber alternative pasta actually tastes really good.
When my doctor suggested I eat a more fiber-rich diet to keep my high cholesterol levels in check — while simultaneously recommending I give up gluten (to see if it was the culprit causing inflammation in my hands and wrists) — my first thought was, But what about pasta?
I expressed my concern about giving up my favorite food and shared the challenges I face as a busy working mom to finding the time and energy to dedicate to shopping, preparing, and eating healthfully. Plus, part of my job as a food writer involves eating restaurant food and ordering what I need to taste for a story — and I put a premium on food tasting good. She seemed sympathetic to my plight and suggested trying alternative pastas, such as ones made with quinoa, rice, corn, or her favorite, red lentils. I’d still get to eat pasta, she reasoned, but this small tweak would also handily help me incorporate more fiber, too. I was dubious, and many disappointing meals followed until I discovered my alt-pasta hero: a spaghetti that cooks in three to five minutes, packs 24 grams of protein and 13 grams of dietary fiber per serving and happens to be gluten-free.
I’ve had a long-standing dislike of “alternative pastas” or foods masquerading as pasta (I see you, zoodles). But in the name of health, I set my reservations aside and dove mouth-first into the world of alt-pastas, sampling chickpea elbows, red lentil rotini, and quinoa penne, to name but a few. The verdict? They were …okay.
I found the texture a little mushy and mealy, sometimes even gritty, but found that I could look past that once the noodles were tossed with sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Other varieties of the imposter pasta bloated into miniature flotation devices when boiled, while others did not hold up as leftovers. The reality was, if it didn’t taste good and I couldn’t count on getting at least one more meal out of it, then I wasn’t going to take the time to prepare it, let alone eat it.
I recently took inventory of my pantry and spied a box of edamame spaghetti lurking behind the boxes of cast-offs (I didn’t have the heart to throw them away). I remembered that I was first persuaded to buy these noodles after reading about them in Food Network Kitchen instructor, Priya Krishna’s excellent Indian-ish cookbook. In her book, Priya shares that a family friend, who does product tastings at Costco for a living, gave her family a box to try. They were smitten by its “delicate yet al dente texture, ability to cling to sauces, and crazy-high protein and fiber content.” Even though the book didn’t include any recipes that incorporated the noodles, I had added a box of Explore Cuisine Organic Edamame Pasta to my cart along with other Krishna family essentials like dal, rice, and Roma tomatoes. Besides, if it was good enough for Priya, it was good enough for me.
True to its promise and Priya’s praises, the noodles achieved an al dente texture within the suggested three to five minutes cooking time. Not surprisingly, the edamame-based pasta possesses a nutty flavor, like good quality whole wheat noodles, but has more texture which allows sauces to cling to it like a dream. I find that they’re especially delicious tossed with pesto. Best of all, the noodles are sturdy enough to hold up as leftovers, perfect for cold noodle salads if you’re especially strapped for time. Even though I’m not following a gluten-free diet I still stock my pantry with this pasta, not only because it’s nutritious but because it tastes good. It doesn’t get much more satisfying than that.