If you are like me and you can’t stay away from pasta, then this post is for you! I’m a huge pasta lover. Always have been and always will be. You can imagine my frustration when I found out that pasta was a no-no when I wanted to reach my health and fitness goals. To be honest, I did not adjust to it right away! Especially during the colder months, I just had to had a comforting bowl of pasta with lots of cheese every week. 🙈
When I decided to take my results to the next level and educated myself more on nutrition, I finally waved goodbye to this delicious meal. It was a little bit easier this time around because I understood that pasta made out of wheat is not as nutritious as it once used to be. With all the processing and milling nowadays, wheat has been mostly stripped of its Vitamins, Iron and Selenium. Now it only lets your bloodsugar spike which then leads to a sudden crush (do you remember the foggy feeling after a big bowl of pasta during lunch in college?!). As the badass bossbabes we all are, an unproductive and drainy afternoon is not exactly what we are looking for. And you are more likely to reach for sweets or chocolate. Double no!
But since it is such a convenient and delicious dish, I did not want to give up on it entirely. While searching for alternatives, I saw countless recipes using zoodles (spiralized zucchini) as a subsitute. Sure, I totally understand the benefit but imagine nibbling on a cold plate of zoodles with some kind of sauce while it is freezing out there! No, definitely not for me. I need something warming.
I don’t quite remember when I first read about Banza Pasta. It sounded like a dream come true. Basically, it is real pasta but made from chickpeas instead of wheat. Chickpeas are naturally high in protein and dietary fiber, transforming a dish that is usually high in carbohydrates into a fat-burning powerhouse! If you have heard about the F-Factor than you know how important your daily fiber intake is. Fiber is the non-digestible part of a carbohydrate that swells in your stomach and makes you feeling full longer. So you are not tempted to reach for unneccessary snacks until dinner rolls around.
This sounded like heaven on earth. I could have my pasta and eat it to?! Unfortuntately, this new food discovery had not yet made its way to Germany back then. I think it took another year (where I mostly ate whole-wheat pasta as a compromise) before I discovered the first chickpea pasta at a drugstore. I could barely hold my excitement. Would this kind of pasta really satisfy my craving and be healthy at the same time? It sounded just too good to be true.
Back home I immediately made myself a bowl of chickpea pasta with tomato sauce. And they did not disappoint. Ok, you could taste a slight difference and they weren’t as dense as the real deal but that was way more than I had expected!
The real test came when I had some friends over for dinner and made my famous Zucchini Pasta with Feta Cheese (keep a lookout for the recipe coming to the blog soon!). Since my guests were male who can be really picky about their pasta dish in general (speaking from experience here), this would be the ultimate taste test! Of course I did not tell them about the “fake” pasta. And who would have known, they did not recognize the difference at all! They were pretty surprised when I told them that the pasta they just ate was made out of chickpeas!
I’m beyond happy to see more and more pasta alternatives coming to the market. Now you can also buy red lentil pasta and quinoa pasta. I’m especially a big fan of the latter one. My favorite brand is Govinda. I tried a few ones but these have the best taste and texture. They also contain only a few ingredients. Since I’m really into this whole fitness and health stuff (who would have known), I realized that a product that claims to be healthy is mostly not. So now I read my lables very closely and see if there is anything on the ingredients list that I can’t pronounce. The pasta by Govinda also called Goodel (from “good noodle”) does only contain either quinoa, chickpeas or red lentils and a small amount of flaxseeds. It can’t get much better than that if you are asking me! Also for all my gluten-free babes out there, this must sound like heaven on earth!
So now you never have to feel guilty anymore when you are craving a good ol’ bowl of pasta!
Have you tried pasta substitutes yet? And which ones do you like best?