I was recently visiting my daughter and she took me to a big new Whole Foods near her. I knew Whole Foods named “alternative pasta” as one of the Top 10 Food Trends for 2017 so I was interested in what they had as I am interested in cutting back on carbs and boosting my plant protein intake. Most people are familiar with eggplant lasagna using slices of eggplant in place of regular wheat lasagna noodles but now there are so many more options available. I found many spiralized veggies at Whole Foods that I could substitute for spaghetti – beets, broccoli, butternut squash, sweet potato, parsnips, etc. Spiralized cucumbers were available for salads. I think many of those are worth experimenting with for an added low carb, low calorie nutrition boost.
I also found pastas made from legumes such as chick peas and lentils. These were even more interesting to me. While a typical 2-oz serving of traditional pasta and lentil pasta both contain similar amounts of carbs and calories, legume pastas are packed with plant protein. For example, black bean rotini, which is made by drying beans and grinding them into a flour-like consistency then combining with water and forming into pasta shapes, has 14 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber.
Pastas made from quinoa and kelp were also available. I am excited to try some of these alternative pastas in the next few weeks! I will still enjoy the regular pastas just like I have for many years but this will hopefully add a few more options into meal preparation that might not seem so heavy for Summer.