“I could eat pasta every day” is a common declaration, especially when chowing down on a particularly blissful plate of golden goodness. Unfortunately, doing so would result in saturating our bodies with processed carbohydrates, which are difficult to digest and they can pack on the pounds. What is it that makes pasta so appealing? When you think about it, spaghetti on its own tastes rather bland, which is why we drench it in sauce, cheese, vegetables, anything we can think of. Meaning pasta is really only a blank canvas for all our favorite additions. Change the canvas, satisfy your cravings, and maybe get a little adventurous.
Soba noodles (100% buckwheat)
Soba means buckwheat in Japanese, and although many varieties of soba noodles contain wheat flour, 100% buckwheat noodles are relatively easy to come by. Slightly stronger in flavour, they also have the advantage of being gluten-free, because, despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat, nor is it related. In fact, its protein contains all essential amino acids and the flavonoid glycoside rutin. This versatile noodle is used in both hot and cold dishes and happens to be a great source of fibre and complex carbs (the good kind).
These are a little more self-explanatory: kelp noodles are made from kelp, an edible variety of seaweed. Right off the bat, they don’t require any cooking, making them ideal for those adhering to a raw food diet (not to mention effortless to prepare), and are also gluten-free. As a great natural source of iodine, calcium and iron, kelp noodles are very good for your metabolism. Free of fat, cholesterol, protein, sugar, and low in fibre, it is recommended to balance their use with produce that contains the right amount of what your body needs, in other words, kelp noodles make a wonderful and healthy canvas.
You already incorporate quinoa in as many salads as possible, why not do the same with your favourite pasta dishes? Let us reiterate its many benefits: excellent source of complete protein, i.e. containing all nine essential amino acids, packed with fibre, B2, iron and magnesium, gluten-free, and is a complex carbohydrate. Many don’t even taste much of a difference between this superfood-turned-pasta and regular pasta. We believe we’ve made our point.
Zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles)
No surprises here, these are exactly as they sound – noodles made from zucchinis. Your first thought is probably “wow, seems time consuming”, followed by “but how?” Well, they’re really rather simple to make when you’re equipped with a spiral vegetable slicer, and once you have one of those, you won’t want to stop at zucchinis. Suddenly any carb-heavy favourite can turn into a lighter, potassium and fibre filled alternative.
All of these options have sizeably more nutritional benefits than your old run-of-the-mill pasta. Plus they’re much easier to digest, which means instead of feeling like you need a lie-down, your meal will leave you feeling refreshed and energized, as a proper meal should.