(BPT) – Even though it’s a fan favorite, pasta has gotten a bad rap over the years. More than 25% of Americans are gluten-free, according to a study published by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which takes pasta night off the menu for many people. Now, thanks to a variety of delicious and nutritious gluten-free pasta alternatives, you can bring back pasta night no matter your preferences or dietary needs.
“There’s something so delicious and comforting about pasta. For people who follow a gluten-free diet or have other nutritional requirements, giving up pasta night can feel like a big sacrifice,” said registered dietitian, health nutrition expert and mom, Lauren Manaker. “Fortunately, there are now many gluten-free alternatives that offer something delicious for everyone, so pasta night is back!”
Lauren and her family put a variety of gluten-free pastas to the test and here are her insights and recommendations:
Kevin’s Natural Foods Cauliflower Pasta Kit
Cauliflower is having a serious moment. You find it everywhere, even mimicking pizza crust. Not only is it versatile and delicious, it’s full of nutrients like vitamins C and K, and is also a good source of folate. Plus now, you can enjoy cauliflower as the base for delicious, gluten-free pasta meal.
Pros: This one came the closest to tasting like traditional wheat pasta. Paleo-certified and packs in 1.5 servings of veggies per package. (Hello hidden veggies!) And bonus, this one comes with meat and sauce, making it the only option on this list that’s available as a complete meal.
Cons: Limited noodle options. Right now Kevin’s only offers penne and an egg noodle substitute in its delicious Beef Stroganoff option.
Banza Chickpea Pasta
Pros: Chickpeas — also known as garbanzo beans — are tiny nutritional powerhouses that pack a mighty punch of nutrients, including fiber, potassium and B vitamins. Rich in plant-based protein and fiber, this pasta has serious staying powers, helping you avoid those annoying hunger pangs that can strike between meals.
Cons: Chickpea pasta is a little chewier than traditional pasta and might be tough to pass by the family as the real thing. Plus, it can be a little tricky to cook. It falls apart easily if cooked too long. It’s also still considerably high in carbs and has been known to cause tummy troubles in some people.
Konjac Miracle Noodles
Pros: Made with flour from the Konjac plant, this noodle option is super low carb and low calorie. These look like rice noodles and work well in Asian style dishes.
Cons: The texture of these noodles can be a little off-putting, so it’s important to cook them to perfection. Boil too little and they will be chewy; boil too long and they’ll be a sloppy, watery mess. They aren’t going to replace your favorite spaghetti by a long shot, but for dishes that would normally use rice noodles, they can be a healthy alternative.
Kevin’s Natural Food Cauliflower Pasta Kits! Want a one-pan, complete meal that is a total dupe for traditional pasta? Want to skip the prep and bypass the worry you’re going to cook things up correctly? If you want to simplify pasta night while staying gluten-free, try paleo-certified cauliflower pasta meal kits from Kevin’s. Everything is made with clean ingredients and is ready in less than five minutes by heating in the microwave or on the stovetop. Available in five varieties, Manaker’s personal favorite was the Chicken Penne Alla Vodka. You can find them at Sprouts, Target and KevinsNaturalFoods.com.