Pasta Gets a Makeover with These 4 Nutritious Alternatives

The endurance staple gets a modern makeover—senza flour. So many pastabilities!

Arrivederci starchfest! Pastas crafted with veggies and legumes offer more protein and fiber than the traditional floured fare. Indulge anytime with these nutritionally dense options.

Lean & Green

Check both the pasta aisle and fresh pasta section of your grocery store for pasta made with kale, spinach, zucchini, and broccoli. Try the Kale Fusilli by Simple Truth Organics for a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Greek Pasta Salad
12 ounces “green” pasta
2 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 cup lacinato kale, finely cut
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 – 15 ounce-can artichoke quarters
1⁄2 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 T fresh chopped tarragon (or herb of choice)

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar with salt and pepper.

Toss with the kale, tomatoes, yellow pepper, and artichokes.

Drain the pasta, and add immediately to the vegetable mixture.

Finish by tossing in the sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with protein of choice. Torn-in rotisserie chicken works great.

Photo: Sam Wells
Styling: Mikel Anthony

Black Bean Spaghetti

Skeptical? Don’t be! This pasta is mild, yet hearty in flavor and provides a whoppingly satisfying 25 grams of protein per serving at a low cost. Find it in the pasta or gluten-free section of your grocery store.

Thai Style
12 ounces black bean pasta
1 cup of your favorite peanut sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup finely shredded purple cabbage
1⁄4 cup roasted/salted peanuts, chopped
2 T, each fresh chopped mint and cilantro
2 limes

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and place back in pot, and immediately toss with the peanut sauce.

Serve with peanuts, veggies, and herbs over the top. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice.

If you’re interested in another protein, grilled chicken or salmon will do the trick.

Photo: Sam Wells
Styling: Mikel Anthony

Red Lentil Bolognese

This pasta has the most distinguished taste. Like a spoonful of lentil soup, it needs bold ingredients to match. The nutritional content is almost identical to chickpea pasta, naturally high in protein and fiber. Found in the pasta or gluten free section of your grocer or specialty store.

12 ounces red lentil pasta 2 T olive oil
1⁄2 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
16 ounces 93% lean ground turkey
2 T tomato paste
1⁄2 cup red wine
Salt and pepper
Fresh at-leaf parsley

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, carrot, and mushroom for 8-10 minutes, until golden.

Season with salt and pepper, add the garlic, and sauté another minute.

Stir in the ground turkey and tomato paste.

Add the wine, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, and pour directly into the skillet with the sauce.

Toss thoroughly, turn heat off, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with fresh chopped parsley and Parmesan over the top, if desired.

Photo: Sam Wells
Styling: Mikel Anthony

Chickpea Pesto

This pasta variety boasts a toasty avor thanks to chickpeas. The texture is similar to brown-rice pasta, but with more nutritional bene t due to the high protein and fiber content. Found in the pasta or gluten-free section of your grocer or specialty store.

Pesto Supreme
12 ounces chickpea pasta
1 cup favorite pesto
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano
1/3 cup chopped almonds

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, toast the almonds for 5-6 minutes.

Drain the pasta, place back in the pot, and immediately toss with the pesto and peas.

Top with the Parmesan and almonds.

Roasted or grilled shrimp make a nice addition to this dish.