It’s time to rethink pasta!
In my family, pasta is a thing. Growing up, it was a Sunday ritual that brought everyone to the table a little bit earlier than the usual dinner time, and there were few complaints from any of my siblings about what was being served that evening. Everyone was on board. While the pasta shape varied, the rest was pretty much standard: tomato sauce with meatballs and sausage.
Now, pasta gets a bad rap. Why?
I encourage you to challenge the whole concept of carbohydrates being a problem. It is explained well here, with the author simply stating: “If carbohydrates are very limited, weight loss likely is a result from calorie restriction and loss of water weight, not from the decrease in carbs themselves.”
Math and science, for the win! If you aren’t sold yet, there is plenty more out there to read on the subject.
Once I found my way through the noise to carb acceptance, there was still the “and meatballs” issue to deal with. In my personal quest to cancel the meating, trying a plant-based ground in was a no-brainer.
While there are plenty of direct meat replacement products out there (Beyond, Impossible, etc) – I’m partial to making a “meat sauce” using Lightlife Smart Ground. It’s probably because it has the word smart in it. Sautee some garlic, add the grounds, then cook according to package instructions and stir into your favorite tomato sauce (Raos Marinara). For me, this was a great start to a meatless meal that still felt comfortable.
Now, spread your wings!
Now, I really enjoy experimenting with pasta combinations that break the “spaghetti and meatballs” mold. There is no shortage of ideas to pull from, and if you have just a few pantry staples on hand, you are just a few clicks away from dinner glory.
Try a google search for: meatless pasta recipes and you get 73 options from bon appetite . Or, check out this one-pot creamy garlic pasta by Shannon at Yup… it’s Vegan. Beans, veggies, herbs and spices … try them all!
Experiment with alternative flour pastas if you are eating gluten free or looking to up your protein intake. Chickpea pastas are a nice alternative, but I prefer the Red Lentil variety.
Note: If you are near a Trader Joe’s and have an opportunity to grab their Red Lentil Sedanini, scoop up all you can!
Don’t be discouraged if you need to adjust cooking times as these pasta varieties overcook easily. The line between perfectly cooked and ruined is pretty thin. There’s definitely a learning curve.
What is your favorite way to serve pasta? How have you best replaced meat in your pasta creations?