You know I’m a pretty adventurous eater. I’ll make black bean brownies and sneak greens into just about anything. But, not all of the creations or products I try hit it out of the park, if you know what I mean. Sometimes, beet pancakes taste a *little* too much like beets, and quinoa flour really does taste like dirt. Just sayin’. (It does, however, do very well mixed with OTHER flours and with acidic ingredients, like plain yogurt or sour cream. These Sour Cream Fudge Cupcakes are shockingly good.)
I found Explore Cuisine Red Lentil Penne Pasta on a recent trip to Whole Foods, and picked it up on the recommendation of a friend.
I couldn’t believe how much the penne seemed like traditional pasta! At least, ‘traditional’ in the sense that it was similar to whole wheat; I can’t remember the last time I bought regular white pasta!
Both the taste and texture of this product were very pleasing. The pasta had a mild taste that wasn’t overly ‘lentil-y,’ and it was similar in texture to whole-wheat pastas. Some legume-based products can taste chalky or come out mushy and overcooked, but Explore Cuisine’s was neither.
I served it with jarred spaghetti sauce and, as a special treat, spicy stuffed banana peppers.
Our co-op carries this brand’s black bean spaghetti variety, and I think it would be fun to try that from nutritional, aesthetic and adventurous-eating standpoints. (Andrew may not join me on that one…)
Looking at the nutrition label (below), the lentil pasta has more protein (11 grams) than traditional wheat pastas (approximately 8 grams). Calories, fat and carbohydrates tend to be similar between the two varieties. Protein, along with fat, helps us feel fuller for longer periods of time (also known as ‘satiety’). Legume-based pastas, such as black bean, lentil or edamame, are high in plant-protein and fiber.
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