Let me preface this by saying that I love pasta. Nothing will ever come close to the real thing, especially not a combination of vegetable flours molded into the shape of noodles. With that said, I almost always feel bloated, uncomfortable, and lethargic after a bowl of pasta (whether this is due to some sort of intolerance or an inability to control myself when it comes to portions sizes is up for debate). Of course, this discomfort is always worth it, but if I were to eat pasta as often as I'd like (read: multiple times a week), I'd most likely never arise from a food coma.
So I sought to find a suitable pasta alternative that actually tasted like pasta (without the post-meal drowsiness and overwhelming fullness). After taste-testing homemade zucchini noodles in addition to red rice, brown rice, mung bean, black bean, and edamame packaged pasta over the course of roughly one year, Explore Cuisine's organic chickpea spaghetti has emerged as my favorite. It actually looks like real pasta in terms of color, which is crucial when trying to emulate the sensory experience of eating the real deal.
Plus, the consistency and flavor are comparable to an al dente noodle; it pairs nicely with ingredients you'd use in a classic pasta dish, like garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes. "Our Italian selection was developed and is made in the Apulia region of Italy famed as being the home of pasta," reads the Explore Cuisine website. "[We] worked side by side with pasta masters and professional chefs to deliver the authentic taste and texture of the best Italian pasta but made with the goodness of chickpeas and lentils to be high in protein and a good source of fiber."
Rather than just being healthier than pasta, this chickpea pasta is just plain healthy—it's vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free, and contains just two and a half grams of fat, less than one gram of sugar, and zero added sugars. It's loaded with five grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein, three grams of iron, and 380 milligrams of potassium, and contains just 200 calories per serving. Finally, it's made with just four completely readable organic ingredients: chickpea flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and pea protein.
When preparing the pasta, be sure to cook it on low to medium heat and rinse it in cold water while straining so that it doesn't get mushy. Generally speaking, it will cook faster than regular pasta.
In terms of ingredients, you can treat it exactly like you would a regular pasta dish—I've made shrimp scampi, pesto pasta, fresh vegetables in a tomato sauce, and simple garlic, ghee butter, olive oil, and parmesan cheese combination (when I was low on groceries) with the chickpea spaghetti or fusilli. Shop my favorite pasta alternative below to try it for yourself.