I love pasta. I do- and I’m unabashed about my love for it. But as someone who bloats at the drop of a dime, pasta gives me grief; and I know many people share this distress.
Giving up pasta was never an option on the table for me, instead I put my culinary prowess and my nutrition bad-assery to use and got to work making one of my favourite pastimes, eating pasta, healthy.
Semolina pasta, or traditional pasta, is made with gluten rich semolina flour which can be hard to digest, so finding a gluten free pasta is always welcome.
I’ve tried them ALL- corn, brown rice, lentil, quinoa and more; and quinoa pasta fares the best as far as mimicking the real thing. It keeps its texture to the point that if you weren’t told it was quinoa you wouldn’t know.
Corn pasta is struggle city, cook it too long and it turns into a gloopy mess; my advice, skip corn pasta completely. Brown rice pasta is okay in a pinch, but it reads texturally as rubbery, no matter how long you cook it; so, like I said, if you’re in a pinch it will work, but it’s not my first choice. Lentil pasta is alright, but the colour is a tell that this isn’t your average pasta; and if you’re trying to fool a 3 year old- good luck.
Vegetables are an amazing pasta hack. If you live under a rock, you may not have heard of zucchini pasta; which created with a spiralizer to make spaghetti like threads or a Y peeler for papparadelle like threads. But don’t let zucchini get all the credit. Sweet potato and butternut squash can also be excellent vegetable stand ins for pasta.
What's amazing about all of the aforementioned noodle options, is they are all high in fibre and aren't as likely to upset your stomach. This post FTW!
Regardless of whether you choose veggies or a gluten free pasta, it really is all about the sauce; because you cannot outrun bad sauce with a pasta substitute.
Sauce Me Baby!
If you’re a meat eater, then the usual suspects, like beef or chicken, are going to the the base of your sauce; however, if you’re vegetarian, lentil and chickpea are a substantial and filling base to replace meat. Just pulse them into a paste and use as your meat base.
And skip the jarred sauce, it’s not necessary, instead use canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste to give richness; to make rose, add coconut milk. Don’t rely on food manufacturers to look out for your health, because they aren’t ;)
Boosting the health component of your sauce is key, so add veggies. Now I’m not one to hide vegetables from kids in food, because they need to learn what real food looks like; however, I’m not in the trenches feeding children, so take it with a grain of salt. If you are hiding veggies from your kids, grate in carrots, celery, and cauliflower, as they will disappear with ease.
But if you’re letting the veggie flag fly, add chopped kale or spinach; or grate in brussels sprouts to add a punch.
Want recipes to go along with guide? Join the How to Eat FB Group…I’m sharing my Kale and Chicken Marinara with Quinoa Pasta AND my Healthy Bolognese with Zucchini Pasta and Shredded Brussels Sprouts (both pictured)… and you’ll also find a recipe in the “Files” section of the How to Eat Group for my Lentil Bolognese. Why? Because I love you and I want you to eat well!