The Ultimate Guide to Protein Pasta

These five protein pastas will satisfy your Italian food-craving without the carbs.

Put your vegetable spiralizer back in the kitchen cupboard and say goodbye to those zucchini noodles — legume-based pasta is here to offer a protein-packed alternative to flour-based ones. Made from chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and more, these hearty noodles can have more than double the amount of protein per cup as regular pasta, which has only six grams. To reduce your carb intake and add more vegetable protein to your diet, use one of these nutritious types of pasta in your spaghetti and meatballs, carbonara, and every dish in between.

Pea Pasta

Peas may be associated with mushy, inedible cafeteria food, but when they’re transformed into pasta, the legumes offer a nuanced flavor with the ideal al-dente texture. Of all protein pasta varieties, the emerald green noodles have one of the lowest amounts of carbs, with just 27 grams per serving. With almost seven grams of fiber per cup, pea pasta makes a filling, yet comforting meal when sautéed with bits of pancetta and chopped carrots and onions.

Black Bean Pasta

To create this pasta, the bean is ground into a flour and combined with either thickening agents like tapioca and xanthan gum or water. Ideally, the ingredient list should include only the bean and water. Alongside having a distinct, aesthetically pleasing color, black bean pasta has the most fiber out of the protein pasta, and this carries across brands, too. Pair the iron-rich noodle with tomatoes, jalapeños, and corn for a Mexican-fusion dish.

Red Lentil Pasta

Coming in with an average of 14 grams of protein per cup, one of the highest among the legume noodles, red lentil pasta is sure to keep you full hours after dinner. Just one three-ounce serving of the uncooked blood orange-colored pasta contains 50 percent of the recommended daily value of folate, which promotes healthy cell growth and is needed to convert carbs into energy and produce DNA. For extra vitamins, mix the pasta with roasted eggplant, zucchini, and Kalamata olives.

Chickpea Pasta

Though this gluten-free pasta looks similar to flour-based pasta, it offers more than four times the amount of fiber in each 3.5-ounce dry serving. Available in popular forms like shell, penne, and elbow, chickpea pasta has a dense texture and works well with most sauces; toss it with kale pesto and diced butternut squash or mix it into a tahini dill pasta salad.

Edamame Pasta

With more than one-third of the daily recommended value of potassium in one serving, edamame pasta is a superfood in and of itself. The green-tinted noodles have a mighty 25 grams of protein, and only 210 calories, in just two ounces of dry pasta. The pasta takes only five minutes to become al dente and combined with a drizzle of olive oil, a handful of mushrooms and walnuts, and a dash of salt and pepper, it becomes the perfect last-minute dinner.


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