SAN ANTONIO – The pasta aisle isn't what is used to be. Alongside the usual spaghetti and linguini, you now see alternative pasta made of products such as beans. But are they the answer to a pasta lover's quest for healthy eating? Consumer Reports taste tested some to find out.
“We brought in 13 alternative pastas in total to evaluate for nutrition, taste and texture. We tried several varieties of each — black bean, red lentil, chickpea and quinoa blends,” said Amy Keating, with Consumer Reports.
Overall, the different kinds of pasta had similar carbohydrate counts to regular pasta, but they do provide a good source of fiber.
“A really good regular pasta shouldn’t be mushy, crumbly or rubbery, but most of these fell short of that idea. But (they) could be improved as part of a recipe,” Keating said.
Testers found that Trader Joe’s Organic Black Bean Rotini had a good black bean flavor. On its own, it had a slightly mushy, chalky texture, but those issues were minimized when the pasta was included in a salad.
As for chickpea versions of pasta, testers top rated Explore Cuisine’s Organic Chickpea Fusilli. The taste was bean-like and the texture was chewy. It got high scores for nutrition, too.
Consumer Reports rated Ancient Harvest Pow! Red Lentil Rotini very good because the flavor was clean and it had a good taste of red lentils.
The food testers say people should follow cooking instructions carefully. Overcooked legume pasta can get mushy quickly.
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