Nothing beats the taste of traditional pasta, but with so many heathier and tasty alternatives, why not give them a try? Choosing one at the grocery store, however, can seem overwhelming. Well, The Kitchen hosts are here to help make these hard choices easier for you with a saucy taste test. Sunny tasted all of our pasta swaps with Katie Lee's easy Amatriciana Sauce.
Let's start with the Pasta Swap Basics.
Pasta swaps are available in various shapes and sizes. Pay close attention to the box instructions for your alternative pasta. While some pasta swaps may taste and feel just like regular pasta, it doesn't necessarily mean they cook the same. Some pastas can easily be under or overcooked and compromise the pasta's texture. Some varieties may also need more water during the boiling process than traditional pasta.
When reading the ingredients on the box, you many notice a few unexpected additions. Rice flour and quinoa flour are often used to help bind the pasta and give it more structure to withstand cooking. If this is important to you, you may want to stick to brands that minimize these other flours; if this isn't important to you then, you might opt for the better texture.
Red Lentil Pasta
Red lentil pasta is made with red lentil flour. The mild nutty flavor is great with many different sauces. While red lentil pasta is hearty, it has a softer texture compared to traditional pasta.
Red lentils are naturally packed with folates that are said to help weight loss and heart health. Because red lentils are a legume, this pasta is a great source of fiber.
Black Bean Pasta
Black bean pasta is made with black bean flour and is the furthest in appearance and taste from traditional pasta. The black beans give this pasta a subtle sweet flavor with a strong, chewy texture that needs a flavorful and hearty sauce to complement it.
Black bean pasta is gluten-free and an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it a great choice for a family dinner. Black beans are naturally low in sugar and packed with fiber to help you to feel fuller longer. Fun fact! Beans are on the top of the list of the top 40 foods packed with antioxidants.
Chickpea pasta is made with--you guessed it--chickpea flour. This slightly nutty, earthy-flavored pasta has a similar taste to hummus. Chickpea pasta is said to be the most similar to traditional pasta in texture, with a slightly denser bite. With double the protein and 4 times the fiber of regular pasta, this is a deceivingly delicious alternative for a weeknight guilt-free meal. Chickpea pasta also comes in a wide variety of shapes to match whatever pasta mood you may be in. In addition to an Amatriciana sauce, it also works great in a mac and cheese.