Not Your Grandma’s Pasta
As the mother of two ongoing-concerns, the weekly struggle for nutritional value on our
dinner plates is real.
Similar to most parents, a quick and healthy meal solution in our house is a miscellaneous hidden-veggie sauce tossed with pasta.
However, consider this: is it possible to up the nutritional-ante by using a healthier pasta option with your veggie sauce? The answer is yes; thanks to a culinary evolution in the pasta category this possibility is now a reality.
While normal pastas with added protein, fiber, vitamins and more have emerged onto retail shelves, consumers increasingly prefer to turn to foods that are inherently and naturally nutritious, rather than those that have been engineered to meet nutrient priorities. Luckily, through exciting plant-based introductions in the much loved pasta category, our weekly menu rotation just got a bit tastier (and healthier!)
Despite consumers’ desire for less wheat, fewer carbs, and more variety, the pure enjoyment of a comforting bowl of pasta has yet to diminish for many. Hence the driving success of many pasta alternative brands on our grocery stores’ shelves today.
While the focus on pasta alternatives in the past has been gluten free, through the use of ingredients such as corn and rice, today’s grocery shelves are now home to bean, pulse, ancient grain and various vegetable pastas.
As you can imagine, this extension of plant-based ingredients has attributes beyond gluten free and even organic and non-GMO. Answering the growing health and wellness call, beans and pulses, remain a superfood and nutritional powerhouse to shoppers who are in search of a hearty fiber and protein rich product.
Many manufacturers have begun to introduce more plant-based ingredients such as beans, pulses, and ancient grains into multiple categories (pasta is just the beginning of an endless array of options.)
From a nutritional standpoint, bean pastas (including pulses) contain a significant amount of protein, dietary fiber, carbohydrates and dietary minerals; they are naturally cholesterol free and contain little or no sodium. Bean and pulse pastas have other nutritional benefits that far outweigh traditional pasta:
- Including beans and pulses in your diet may help lower cholesterol due to the high fiber content
- Beans and pulses are also very high in potassium which can help lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium.
- May help reduce the risk of diabetes as they are a low glycemic index food.
- Pulses are a complex carbohydrate and are naturally low in fat.
- Including pulses in your diet can help maintain a healthy weight.
- Pulses can be grown organically and with zero genetically modified material.
- Great source of protein for vegans and/or vegetarians.
While the long list of health attributes associated with pasta alternatives has made this segment appear to satisfy a specific consumer, this could not be more untrue.
As consumers become more conscious of the nutritional value of the food that they consume, innovation such as bean and pulse pastas will quickly become mainstream in the category.
Brands that focus on nutritional content such as protein and fiber, while at the same time offer consumers a great tasting and quality product will continue to drive consumer awareness and sales volume in the pasta category. Bean, pulses and other pasta alternatives are clearly the future of today’s pasta category.
Not too long ago, at the tail end of a week that involved soccer practices, an unscheduled work trip, and a last minute school project, I found myself faced with an empty fridge whilst staring at a jar of sauce and a bag of spaghetti.
As I moved the bag, a package of black bean pasta fell into my line of sight. It was at that moment, I decided that today was the day to make that better dinner choice. Upon placing the bowl of dark noodles and sauce on the table, my 6 year old cautiously eyed me and the bowl.
The lateness of the hour and hunger quickly took over, and the bowl’s contents soon disappeared. Between bites I asked how was dinner. The muffled, but content, response was “Pretty good mama, pretty good.”
- 4 tbsp. Kikkoman Soy Sauce (regular or
lightly salted depending on your preference)
- 4 tbsp. Nuts to You Tahini
- 4 tbsp. Nakano Natural Rice Vinegar
- 4 tbsp. Loriva Sesame Oil
- 6 tsp Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Sugar
- 2 Cloves of Garlic (crush with Garlic Press)
- 1 tsp Freshly Grated Ginger
- 1 small handful of Fresh chopped Cilantro
- 1 package Zeroodle Soy Spaghetti Noodles
- 1 head of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1 cup snow peas washed
- 1 carrot cut into thin slices with a vegetable peeler
Step 1: Prepare Zeroodles Soy Spaghetti Noodles as per directions. Once cooked, drain completely then rinse under cold water. Set aside in a large bowl.
Step 2: Whisk together the soy sauce, tahini, rice vinegar, sesame oil, coconut sugar, garlic and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside in the fridge. It will marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Step 3: Add chopped vegetables to prepared noodles.
Step 4: Pour the dressing on vegetable and noodles slowly and mixed until vegetables and noodles are dressed to your liking. Place any remaining dressing in the fridge!
Step 5: Top with freshly chopped cilantro and serve immediately.