Is Chickpea Pasta Really Better For You?

Food in the modern day seems to have evolved into a master magician: cauliflower can be turned into rice, oats into milk, squash into noodles, and so on. In today's world, it's as if you can turn anything into pasta; lentils, black beans, even chickpeas. Chickpea pasta has been on the market for some time, but you may be wondering — is it actually better for you than traditional pasta?

Chickpea pasta is made by grinding up chickpeas and combining it with either water, tapioca, or pea protein (or some variation of all) for adequate binding (via Verywell Fit). Aside from being a good alternative to wheat-based pasta, chickpea pasta also has some different nutritional benefits. Chickpea pasta has more protein and fiber than traditional pasta, along with many micro- and macronutrients.

Chickpea pasta is made up of approximately 60 percent carbohydrates, but before you throw out any and all traces of pasta in your pantry, consider that the starches in chickpeas are actually complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are higher in fiber and digest more slowly than simple carbs, which means they make you feel fuller sooner and for a longer period of time (via Healthline). Complex carbs are also more ideal for people with type 2 diabetes, as they help better manage sugar spikes which occur naturally after meals. Complex carbs are important in helping maintain a healthy weight and may be beneficial to overall cardiovascular health.

More benefits of eating chickpea pasta

Additionally, the high fiber content of chickpeas promotes digestive health by aiding in gut microbiome diversity and regulating bowel movements. Chickpea pasta's high protein content also helps with building and repairing muscle.

Another perk to consuming legume-based pasta over traditional pasta is that while it is possible to be allergic to the contents of chickpea pasta (although unlikely), it is a great alternative for people with food allergies and sensitivities to wheat, gluten, and other common allergens (just check the package for hidden allergens or cross-contamination warnings).

Cooking chickpea pasta varies by brand but is not all that different from cooking traditional pasta. One striking difference, however, is the foam layer that can appear over the pasta while boiling. Turning down the heat or adding a bit of oil to the pot can help prevent this, but most brands encourage you to wash your pasta once you've tossed it in the strainer.

When paired with vegetables and appropriate sauces, many have a hard time distinguishing the taste of chickpea pasta from regular pasta. Ultimately, chickpea pasta does have some additional nutritious benefits not found in traditional pasta and thus it can be considered a healthier option, but as with all food recommendations, regardless of which pasta you choose, portion size is always the real key. So when you're prepping your next meal, see if you can substitute your usual noodles with this delicious legume alternative.