For many of our patients, giving up pasta is one of the most difficult changes of a healthier lifestyle. Typically, over time, people adjust to the elimination of this food in their diet, but there are still times when a plate of spaghetti sounds wonderful. Enter lentil pasta. While beans and lentils are starches, they are a great addition to a well-balanced diet when eaten in moderation. This is due to the amount of fiber and protein they contain, as well as vitamins and minerals.
I have tried various types of “bean pasta” in the past. Some were good, some bad, but lentil pasta is by far my favorite. This option cooks up like regular pasta, and takes about the same amount of time. It is important to keep a close eye on it, as it has a tendency to become mushy when overcooked. The flavor is definitely heartier than conventional pasta, but the texture is very similar. It pairs well with different types of sauces and add-ins.
For this article, I purchased Explore Cuisine™ Organic Red Lentil Penne, which I was able to find at Meijer in the dry pasta section. I cooked it, drained it, tossed it with a bit of olive oil, and mixed in green peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, fresh herbs and shredded parmesan cheese. It tasted great, and my kids even liked it! It did taste like the lentil pasta I had tried in the past, although I made a mistake when purchasing this product - it contained brown rice flour. While the flour only makes up 27% of the product, it is not something I would recommend on a bariatric diet.
There are plenty of options available out there that are simply lentils. A serving of this pasta contains 11 grams of protein, which you will not find in typical penne. Overall, I would recommend 100% bean or lentil pasta to people who are looking for a replacement for spaghetti night. It has beneficial attributes, but should not be eaten frequently due to the high carbohydrate content. You will find it in most grocery stores, and in a variety of styles (spaghetti, elbow, penne, etc.).