Are Chickpea and Lentil Pastas Worth the Hype? Here's What a Gastroenterologist Thinks

Here’s what you should know about these legume-based pastas.

<p>Greg Dupree</p>

Greg Dupree

Reviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RD

When walking down the pasta aisle, it’s becoming increasingly easy to find flourless options. Legume-based pastas made with chickpeas and lentils are definitely trendy, but are they worth the hype?

Gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, M.D. broke down the gluten-free alternatives in a new Instagram video. See what he has to say about chickpea and lentil pastas’ nutritional benefits and downsides.

Related: 4 Easy Food Swaps to Help Improve Your Gut Health, According to a Gastroenterologist

First, it shouldn’t be surprising that chickpea and lentil pastas are commonly more nutrient-dense than regular pasta.

“They have twice as much protein, they have four times more fiber,,” Bulsiewicz shared. In our own legume pasta roundup, we recommend looking for a legume-based pasta with at least 5 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein per serving to maximize some of the bean’s biggest benefits.

Did you know there’s another nutrient that these bean and lentil pastas provide? It’s iron. Legumes are a great source of iron, and given iron can help our red blood cells provide oxygen through the body, these legume-based pastas may help keep you energized and support your metabolism.

While these pastas are healthy, there are some things you should keep in mind before making the swap.

“The downside of these wonderful pastas is that they are more expensive,” the doctor said.

Plus, our nutrition editor Jessica Ball, M.S., RD also points out that these protein-packed pastas differ from wheat-based pasta in a few other key areas.

“Legume pasta is not the same texture or flavor as regular pasta, and it's not a 1-for-1 swap,” Ball said. “It shouldn't be considered a replacement for regular pasta, but it can be a nice option for when you want to up the protein and fiber content of your meal and you won't mind the texture or flavor differences.”

Overall, we support these pastas alongside Bulsiewicz. They’re a great gluten-free option on the market and provide a different approach to incorporate more plant-based protein and fiber sources into your eating pattern. But there are other ways you can include nutrients like fiber and protein into your dish with standard pasta and noodles. Try recipes like our Artichoke, Chickpea & Mozzarella Pasta Salad and our Zucchini, Fennel & White Bean Pasta.

Related: Can People with Diabetes Eat Pasta?

Read the original article on Eating Well.