Guess what? Not all gluten free pasta is created equal. And, just because something says, “gluten free” does not mean it’s necessarily any good for you. Pasta can be made from a variety of foods free of gluten: beans, grains, vegetables, and more, and each one offers something unique in providing your DV of needed nutrients. In fact, the most popular go-to gluten free pasta made of quinoa and-or brown rice is just a fraction more nutritious than the traditional pastas made with semolina or wheat flour.
What happens with most gluten free diets is that people run to the first substitute they can find that looks and tastes as close to the real gluten filled product as possible. Take gluten free bread for example. How many gluten free breads are really that great tasting? Not many, from my experience. But, when you forget about the old product altogether, and give yourself a chance to explore an entirely new context of enjoying pasta and other gluten free alternatives, that is when a whole new world of superior nutrition and great flavor comes to life. So, here are some of my favorite pastas that take a complete departure from traditional pasta.
Gluten Free Pasta Alternatives That Pack A Lot of Nutrition
Mung Bean Fettuccine:
Mung bean pasta is high in protein with a whopping 24g per serving, while being fairly low in carbohydrates. It’s also packed with fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. The texture may take a little getting used to, but it has many applications. I have used it like a traditional pasta with tomato sauce, and I frequently use it in Asian style vegetable stir fries. But my favorite way to eat this pasta is warm, right out of the pot, with some hempseed, nutritional yeast, fresh tomato, basil, garlic, and some healthy fat like extra virgin olive oil or coconut butter…yum! Explore Asian makes a good one that is pretty common at most supermarkets.
Yes, you can enjoy your ramen noodles and not worry about what you are actually eating! Buckwheat is not actually wheat at all. It is a super grain of sorts, and it comes from the pod of a flower. I love this buckwheat ramen from King Soba! It behaves just like the instant ramen, and frankly, I like the texture better. It’s high in carbohydrates, provides 10g of protein per serving, and is also high in iron and calcium. Be sure you always look for 100% buckwheat as many ramen and soba manufacturers add wheat flour to supplement the buckwheat. Here is a recipe for buckwheat ramen soup.
Black Bean Rotini:
So I guess you know something is going kind of mainstream when they suddenly have it at Trader Joes. And, the good news is, they have this at Trader Joes, and it’s good! This pasta, like the others offers notably high amounts of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, iron, and calcium. I am not a big fan of this in hot dishes as it doesn’t hold its shape very well. But I do love to use it to make southwestern style pasta salad with chipotle dressing, roasted corn, tomatoes, red peppers, nopalitos and fresh cilantro. Since this is so easy to find at Trader Joes, I keep a bag of this around at all times. Here is a recipe!
100% Buckwheat & Sweet Potato Soba:
Sweet potatoes are very nutritious and King Soba does something nice when they blend sweet potatoes and buckwheat for this awesome, wheat free soba product. Like I said before, most soba noodles that you will find at the Japanese market contain wheat flour, but not these. Buckwheat is rich in minerals such as magnesium, and its protein characteristics are considered to help lower cholesterol. Sweet potato is not only high in potassium, but it is also a low-fat food, rich in vitamin A, E, and C. Check out this recipe for Soba Salad with Eggplant.
Superfood Teff Penne:
This product is offered by skinnypasta (yes they spell it like that, all one word and no caps). Teff is naturally gluten free and a good source of protein, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. This is the only product that I have not personally tried, but knowing what I know about teff and reading their reviews, I would be more than willing to give it a try. The nutrition facts are outstanding, boasting 170% DV of manganese and other minerals.
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