You know you shouldn’t want it… but you do.
Smothered and sauced and perfectly al dente, is there anything more comforting than a warm bowl of pasta?
You’re committed to (or at the very least interested in) living a nutritarian lifestyle, but where does pasta fit in?
Should it even fit in when your whole goal is to eat more foods with high nutrient density? We’re talking dark leafy greens, big bowls of salad, raw seeds and whole fruits–so how does pasta factor in?
Traditional pastas carry a high caloric price tag with low nutrients in return. Processed white flour isn’t going to get us anywhere near health excellence. But what if pasta didn’t have to be that way?
What if you could scarf down a bowl of pasta with reckless abandon knowing you were nutrifying your body at the same time?
Well, you’re going to be happy. Very happy.
You Can Have Pasta on the Nutritarian Plan—But You Need to be Smart About it!
Pasta is in, but wheat-based pasta is out. Well, sorta…
You can certainly say bye Felicia to highly-processed, make-you-die-early white-flour pastas, but what about trusty old whole wheat?
Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t believe the hype (a la “Wheat Belly” and Paleo circles) that whole wheat is bad for you and should be avoided like the Bubonic plague.
What he does believe is that the group of foods he calls “cooked starchy vegetables and whole grains” should be minimized to 1 cup per day. This includes brown rice, quinoa, corn, whole wheat (in bread, pita or pasta), oatmeal and potatoes.
So, whole wheat pasta is still on the table if you’re a nutritarian but you’re going to have to limit it.
But, honestly, when you’re striving to pack as many nutrients into your diet as possible, whole wheat pasta just isn’t good enough for you anymore–I promise you can do soooo much better!
Say hello to the new crop of better-for-you nutritarian pastas (that just happen to be vegan and gluten-free to boot):
Quinoa-based and bean-based.
Let’s talk about:
- nutritarian pasta types
- how they should be used
- some ridiculously simple sauce recipes
- my personal favorite brands
Quinoa pastas are a bit better than plain old whole wheat.
Notice the word bit.
The difference isn’t staggering (just check out Dr. Fuhrman’s ANDI scoring system to see what I mean) and that’s pretty much why they both fall into the restricted whole grains guideline on the eat to live plan.
But even making the small change from whole wheat to quinoa-based pasta is worth it:
Qunioa has a higher protien content than wheat, with a lower glycemic load. It also fairs a bit better on vitamin and mineral content.
One of my family’s favorite brands is Trader Joe’s Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta:
That’s right, my kids actually prefer this quinoa and rice pasta to whole wheat or even white pasta (and that my friends is #winning).
What’s great about this pasta is it is a blend of quinoa and brown rice. Brown rice fairs a bit better than quinoa on the ANDI scale, so now you’re well into better-for-you-then-whole-wheat-pasta territory!
Just remember, if you chose this pasta option, you have to factor it into your 1 cup daily quota of cooked starchy veggies and whole grains.
Which brings me to the next point…
Redefine Your Pasta Salad
The beauty of Dr. Fuhrman’s plan is nothing is truly “off the table.” But low nutrient foods need to be minimized and managed.
I like to use the pasta types we’ve discussed so far as condiments. That includes whole wheat, rice and quinoa-based varieties.
You get that wonderful chewy mouth-feel and instant comfort, while it being completely surrounded by good-for-you raw or cooked veggies!
I sprinkle no more than 1/2 cup cooked on salads (like that beauty above on the right) and as a garnish on veggies soups and stews. You could go all the way up to 1 cup but then you’ve busted your allotment for the day.
So, what’s a diligent nutritarian bad-ass like yourself going to do when you have a real hankering to chow down on some pasta? Go for the gold-standard in nutritarian pastas…
Bean Pastas Are the Bomb!
Why is bean pasta the best thing ever?
Because beans are one of the top 6 nutritarian superfoods according to Dr. Fuhrman (oh, and like the tons and tons of scientific nutrition journals quoted and footnoted in his books).
They literally put the “B” in his signature G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds)–you can learn all about their super-powers here.
Here’s the bottom line on beans: they are the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source you can get. And that’s precisely why you can eat as much beans as you like on Dr. Fuhrman’s plan (with a minimum recommended dose of 1 cup daily).
Yup, that’s right, unlimited, guilt-free pasta bowls are in your future…
Made from black beans, edamame, lentils and garbanzos, bean pastas are sprouting up everywhere, and I’m over-the-moon thankful for this latest health craze (that just happens to have real science behind it)!
Let’s go over my favorite finds and easy nutritarian, vegan, no-oil, and no salt sauces to make with each!
FAVORITE ELBOW MACARONI:
Banza Garbanzo Bean Pasta:
While not as pure as the one-ingredient wonders we’re about to get into, this pasta has a great mild flavor that allows your sauce to shine!
When you’re really craving some nutritarian-friendly mac and cheese, grab a box of this pasta and make a batch of this cheese sauce. Top with roasted veggies and you have a winning bowl full of goodness!
This brand is my kids favorite bean pasta, and they haven’t had a clue that their mac n’ cheese has been harboring beans–buwah ha ha!
Explore Asian Organic Edamame Spaghetti:
This pasta has only two ingredients: soybeans and water.
I found it at our local Costco and decided to give it a try. My husband and I fell in love with these noodles that go perfectly with Asian soups and sauces!
Some readers have had issue with the fact that these noodles are made in China and I actually have to agree that foods made in China are not always the safest option.
If you’re looking for an alternative you can check out Liberto’s brand:
I have not personally tried this brand and I was not able to get any information on country of origin on their company website.
** If anyone has more information on this brand or has tried it themselves will you please let me know in the comments below so I can include that information!
Either edamame noodle you choose, make sure to try them with this super-simple and delicious Cilantro Cream Sauce.
FAVORITE BLACK BEAN PASTAS:
Tolerant Foods Organic Black Bean Penne:
When I think of black bean pasta I immediately think of Mexican food! Cheesy sauces, bright fresh tomatoes and yummy veggie-broth-sauted fajita veggies!
This brand of black bean pasta was the first I ever tried and it is delish, although a bit pricey when I picked it up at Whole Foods. Now you see the Tolerant Foods brand popping up everywhere, even conventional grocery stores!
I have a wonderful Mexican Mac n’ Cheese recipe that uses this black bean penne pasta–be sure to give it a try!
Trader Joe’s Black Bean Rotinni:
obsessed dedicated Trader Joe’s shopper, so when I saw this bag of pasta I literally squealed with nutritarian glee! I was so happy to find a cheaper alternative to the Tolerant Foods brand black bean pasta we talked about above.
I’ve been boiling these puppies up and saving them for the week in the fridge. They go on salads and really make a delicious addition to my popular Eat to Live Mexican Salad recipe!
I love me some black beans so being able to eat them in a new way makes things more exciting–I’ve been at this a long time!
You are going to be completely amazed at how “regular”-pasta-tasting lentil pasta is–especially the green lentil variety like the box above!
This is the pasta I use for my No-Oil Nutritarian Pasta Salad recipe!
I would have most definitely listed this Tolerant brand Organic Green Lentil Pasta as my favorite elbow macaroni but the price is a little steep at $6.99 per box.
Trader Joe’s recently came out with a red lentil penne pasta that’s seriously affordable at $2.99 per bag!
Just further evidence that the bean-pasta revolution is coming!
By now you should be thoroughly primed on the world of nutritarian pastas!
That means your next trip to the grocery store will entail grabbing a bag of bean-based goodness to add to your arsenal of easy Eat to Live meals!
Before you go… Was this post helpful for you? Please leave a comment and let me know–I love getting your feedback!
This is so helpful! I cannot believe there are so many options. I will definitely be stocking up on some healthier pastas! Thank you!
Yay! So glad you got some new pasta ideas!
Awesome post. I’ve been buying the Explore Pastas for a while. I prefer the edamame or black bean pasta best. I’ve tried the soybean pasta but thought it left a strange after taste. Thinks for listing the other types. I’ll have to give them a try.
I totally agree about the Explore edamame pasta–great texture and taste!
So glad you enjoyed it!
Wow, I had no idea there was such a thing as bean pasta! I looove beans and pasta, so I hope I’ll like bean pasta.
Thank you for all your educational efforts. I’m still cleaning out all the stuff that doesn’t fit into a nutritarian diet and slowly moving in that direction. Your posts and emails help keep me focused on where I eventually want to be.
I’m very new to the world of bean pasta as well–and I have to say I’m loving it!!
I’m so, so happy to hear that the blog has been beneficial in your journey to becoming nutritarian 🙂
I’m definitely going to try out the new pastas. I’m looking for a great recipe for a traditional style marinara sauce. Any suggestions?
Yay! I’m so glad you’re going to give some of these pastas a go!
So sorry, I don’t have any good recommendations for a nutritarian sauce–I always use Trader Joe’s no salt added marinara!
If you come across any good ones, please come on back and share!
One tip I got from Dani Spies (cleananddelicious.com) is to cook the Explore Asian Black Bean noodles for 4 minutes only instead of the 8 minutes on the instructions. I hated the black bean noodles at 8 minutes. Too soft and mushy. But at 4 minutes they are perfect al dente. Just a tip from your Uncle Paul. 😉
Here is Dani’s recipe for black bean noodles with edameme. To make it nutritarian, swap two pitted dates for the honey in the dressing and 2 T of toasted sesame seeds instead of the toasted sesame oil. That’s it. Otherwise the recipe looks nutritarian and delicious. Enjoy.
Thanks so much for sharing Paul, looks amazing!
Had no idea alternative pastas even existed! So of course after reading this post I had to run to my local grocery store and see what they had and I found POW (Ancient Harvest) black bean elbow pasta. Picked up a box and also a jar of Prego Farmers Market Garden Vegetable sauce (which looks pretty nutrarian friendly). I sauteed a package of mushrooms and a diced onion in the vegetable broth I threw together last night (overnight crockpot) and added that to the sauce, along with a tbsp of chia seed (let the chia seed soak for a few minutes in the sauce before adding the mushrooms/onion). Added the cooked pasta and it tasted great-for under 500 calories 🙂 The black bean pasta has 3 ingredients-black bean flour, brown rice flour and organic quinoa flour, so I may have to finally go to the TJs that opened up a couple years ago, to get the black bean rotinni that you recommend (I have never been to a TJs!).
YES!! There are so many amazing pasta substitutes out there now!!
I’m so glad you’re finding them inspiring too!! That mushroom onion instapot creating sounds amazing!
Yes!! You must make a visit to TJs–it’s the best!!
Thanks so much for your lovely comments!!
Would Trader Joe’s Black Bean pasta be allowed on the first 6 weeks of the nutritarian diet? Just starting my diet, and want to be sure I follow it as closely as I can, but am CRAVING some pasta
I love all the info on bean pasta. I have never tried it but am looking forward to it. Thankful for sharing which kinds you find the best. This “way of life is going to be the best thing I have ever done for my health!”
I have a question about storing these long-term. You said that you boil these bean pastas and then use them throughout the week. Do you undercook them so that they last better? I find non-wheat pastas to be very sticky and difficult to eat after the day I cook them. Should you coat them in anything so that they hold their constitution beyond the first day?
Thanks so much for creating and maintaining this blog! I know it’s a lot of work. I’m really inspired by your website. My mom did the nutritarian diet as well and lost over 40 pounds, but she’s okay with eating less savory food. I’ve been a foodie and a passionate home cook since moving to NYC 6 years ago. I didn’t love the meals she made, but your colorful, tasty, and diverse recipes have me hopeful that I can stick to the diet!
I JUST found your blog through Pinterest. I read Eat to Live years ago but was simply not ready to make the switch. Then end of 2016 I started having thyroid issues & went vegan & lost 20 lbs. I have hit a plateau I still have about 50 to go. More importantly, I don’t have the energy I expected. All that to say…I’M READY to make the switch to Nutritarian. I am SO GRATEFUL to have found your blog & I will be purchasing your e-e-book soon & look forward to the Facebook group.
Thanks for sharing your passion with all!
P.S. I also have the same question as Hope on food prepping bean pastas 🙂
So very helpful! I totally appreciate the amazon links also! Thank you so much! Start day is Monday! Prep weekend ahead! Thrilled to have a manageable way to do this. Have tried and failed a few times and your prep tools will be life altering! I have often thought I needed to get this organized, but sister, it’s not my gift! So blessed by your willingness to share the love and help a momma out with your awesome skills! Hugs to you – seriously! I needed this help!
What about the “protein” pastas available in the regular grocery store? They contain wheat and beans (lentils and garbanzos,) as well as flaxseed, barley and oats. Unfortunately it looks like Barilla’s product also contains egg whites. I am interested to hear your comments on this product.
Yes, I’ve seen some of these products! I just looked over the ingredients for Barilla online and yes the egg whites would be problematic but not a deal breaker on the nutritarian plan. It lists wheat as the first ingredient so this falls under your 1 cup of whole grains daily quota.
I would prefer a bean pasta to a wheat pasta, but you could certainly use this if you wish!
Absolutely in love with your beautiful, well organized site! It’s my weekly “go to”.
That’s so lovely to hear, Andrea! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!
Thanks for the very informative breakdown on Pasta’s. My biggest issue is the outrageous pricing. Most of these boxes are 8oz, maybe 12oz. Do it definitely is a once or twice a month treat.
Thank you for all of the helpful information you share on your site! I’ve learned so much, and I use your recipes weekly to expand my options. I’ve only been eating a nutritarian diet for about 8 weeks now, but I’m loving the results. I do miss my pasta. I can’t wait to try some of these with my kids. My daughter’s nickname is Noodle, if that tells you anything about her love of pasta. I hope she likes these other options! I want her to make healthier choices, too!
Girl, you blowin’ my mind! Yesterday I made a huge batch of hummus using your recipe, it is going on literally everything I eat! AND because I read this post on E2L ok’d pasta– I bought Banza chickpeas, Pow! Pasta Red Lentil Rotini, and Pow! Pasta Green Lentil Penne. I’m starting Eat 2 Live round 2 and I’m looking forward to experimenting more vs “just surviving” like I did on the first round. Out of all the nutritarian websites I’ve come across so far, this one I can totally relate to and I’m looking through your resources daily. Thank you!! xo Emily
So, so happy to hear that you’re on round two of ETL!! Woop woop!! And I’m also so happy to hear that you’ve been finding the site helpful on your journey!
Please stay in touch and let me know how round two goes for you!
Are bean pastas ok for the 6 week plan?
This is absolutely brilliant!!!
Can I just say I love you right now!
To be told if I want to have pasta night, I still can is amazing!!
You better believe I’m buying Bean Pasta on my next grocery run!
Big WOOP WOOP for bean pastas! Can’t wait for you to give them a try!
I wonder if the nutrition in the bean pasta is diminished by both the processing and cooking vs eating the whole beans, either in salads or heated in other dishes?
I think that’s an excellent point. Dr. Fuhrman definitely wants us to be eating whole, unprocessed beans daily. Bean pasta is never supposed to be a substitute for meeting your 1 cup of beans daily requirement.
Bean pasta is a healthier alternative than whole wheat pasta. Dr. Fuhrman served it several times at his Culinary Getaway. So, don’t think of it as replacing beans, think of it as a better choice for your daily “whole grains” quota.
I am so happy to find that there are pastas that are good for me! Pasta is my fave. I am looking to start the Nutritarian life style and was not sure i could do it…. and at the risk of repeating myself i am so happy to find that i can have pasta!! Thanks for your great website. There is so much info and you address so many things a novice would have questions about. Keep up the good wrk.
YAY!! So happy you’re ready to give the nutritarian lifestyle a try now after learning this!
Just remember the salad is always the main course so the bean pasta should be a smaller portion than your salad! Also the more greens you can add into your pasta the better!
Thank you so much for this run-down on bean pastas. It is really helpful having links to the items you have used and liked, as I am in Uzbekistan where NONE of this stuff is available (I am an American teaching at an international school). I just invested in your Prep Plan and am attempting to tock my pantry via Amazon with the specialty ingredients needed for the first 6 weeks. It is a convoluted procedure involving a special shipping company and plenty of added expense because there is no reliable mail system ere and customes is incredibly fussy. But I am feeling very committed (if trepidacious), and looking forward to starting. Thank you so much for all the information and encouragement so far in the Prep Plan. Take care, Susan
So excited to have you joining us in the Prep Program!
I’m blown away by your amazing attitude given the obstacles you have to overcome in your current location!
With a creative-solution approach you are going to thrive with the program!
I am allergic to tree nuts (not peanuts). What can I use in recipes instead of cashews or walnuts?
I haven’t done any nut substitutions myself but I would think that sunflower seeds would be the closest match for cashews and maybe pepitas for the walnuts! But again, I’ve never made any of my sauce recipes with those substitutions, these are just my best guesses.
Thank you for sharing.
So happy you found it helpful Fidela!
Love this, thanks! If I can work compliant pastas into the dinner rotation, DH will be happier without my having to cook so many separate dishes.
P.S. I love the joy and artistry in your published work. Thanks for the inspiration. 😀
So wonderful to hear you found the pasta primer helpful, Vickey! And thank you for taking the time to leave a comment–really fires me up to keep creating for you!
And I agree, nothing is better than finding a compliant meal that all will enjoy!
Your containers that you have in the pictures wirh the pasta. Do you have a link to purchase them? I’m excited to get started. I have purchased the other ones you recommended with the links.
Those are from Target by “Room Essentials” and I’ve still seen them with the white tops!
So excited to hear you’re getting started!
When looking at the picture of the box of Liberto’s brand it does say made in China
Hi ! Thank you. So much for this website ! I have a question about green smoothies — I have one for lunch every day and absolutely love them. I put spinach and kale in them, as well as a TON of fruit (berries, banana, apple, kiwi, etc). My husband mentioned that I shouldn’t be eating that much fruit; and that the smoothie I make has way too many calories. Also, I do drink the entire thing for lunch. Should I limit the amount of fruit I am putting in my smoothie ? I figured that all of this fruit is alright to have, because Dr. Fuhrman said that you can have unlimited fruit. Thank you for your help !
There’s a lot of bad press out there about fruit. Dr. Fuhrman feels there is a place for whole fruit int he diet but he definitely prioritizes vegetable consumption first. Definitely give his article a read: https://www.drfuhrman.com/blog/160/a-mature-view-on-sugar
I’d only say it’s an issue if you have weight you are looking to lose, if you don’t then it’s not a problem. If you are trying to lose then I’d say to alternate your smoothies with a large rainbow salad with oil-free dressing for your lunch every other day.
These posts are very helpful and so encouraging…please don’t stop!
This is health and life…and if you are helping me, I wonder how many others yo are helping as well
About the bean pastas, can you have more than 1 cup daily since ingredients are only beans?
Thanking you in advance SANDRA
At the last Dr. Fuhrman retreat I went to in 2019 he was asked this exact question and said that bean pasta doesn’t fall into the restricted grains allotment but there is a caveat. He said you must be getting to that 1 pound raw / 1 pound cooked vegetable quota and not over-use the bean pasta.
I like the new pastas, especially in a salad. Does this mean the bean pastas can be consumed a bit more liberally? I thought they were just a better high cal option. Go bean team
Hi Janet, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t put them in the whole grain category but at his 2019 retreat he did say that you want to focus on getting the core 1 pound raw / 1 pound cooked veggies before moving on the bean pasta or considering it limitless.
Hey Kristen….thanks for a beautiful website and your beautiful fridge shots. Goals!!
Anyway….several people below asked and you gave no response yet….but are the bean pastas allowed on the aggressive weight loss? And limits if so? Please let me know….this would make things much easier. Thanks!
Hi Kathy, so if you’re on the aggressive plan you want to be getting your 1 pound raw and 1 pound cooked veggies in religiously, then move on to higher calorie fare like bean pasta with an oil-free sauce. It’s not considered part of the “whole grain” allotment but it’s also not something you should be eating at the expense of the two pounds of veggies. So just be mindful!
Bonza cavatappi is my favorite!!!
I have been enjoying bean pastas for awhile now. Sooooo satisfying. I actually don’t need to eat as much to be satiated. Yum!
I completely agree on not needing as much, Jen!
When I eat wheat pastas there doesn’t seem to be enough room for me to eat as much as I want but with bean pasta I get very clear signals from my stomach that “I’m full and satisfied!”
I love them so much too, Jen! I find myself being stuffed compared to when I’d eat regular pasta and have second and third servings!
I’ve tried brown rice pasta. The rice gets too gooey so I’m hoping the bean pasta doesn’t.
I love how organized you’ve made this program for us busy people and I’m learning so much. I want to spend 2 days a week prepping and cooking–just for me so I have time during the week to cook for hubby who, although he’ll eat what I cook, I can tell when he turns his nose if the meal is not to his liking–and that depresses me and I quit. This way of cooking–I can cook his pasta (he’s not overweight), and white rice and I can grab the prepped bean pasta for myself.
So happy that you’ve taken charge and started prepping for yourself so you can cook on-demand for your hubby. That’s exactly what made the difference for me when I was the only “lone wolf” eating this way in my family of 4.
Wishing you all the best!
Hello, I liked your post.
So what about eating whole wheat pasta that has been cooked and then chilled? I believe this increases the amount of resistant starch which feeds your gut bacteria and produces short-chain fatty acids which in turn contributes to satiety. I think Dr. Fuhrman talks about the resistant starch effect of beans. It is the resistant starch that accounts for the 2nd meal effect of beans.
The same would apply to whole wheat pasta. Also, since vinegar is a short-chain fatty acid, adding vinegar to your meals would also contribute to this 2nd meal effect.
I don’t think whole wheat has the same properties as beans for inducing the same glycogen response that’s seen in the second meal effect. In that case, you’re better off eating bean pasta.
Thanks so much for this post, super super helpful. Can I eat these pastas on the 6 week aggressive plan though or should I wait until later? Curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks, Kaska
That is a very thoughtful question! I’d say to get the basics down pat first for a few weeks first. You want to make sure you’re getting in that 1 pound cooked and 1 pond raw veggies daily and at first it can be hard to eat that much. Then start adding in the more calorie-dense foods!
Thanks for this great info! I was wondering where the bean based pasta fit into the nutritarian plan! I have found many good options at Trader Joes, Aldi and Whole Foods, they are delish in my opinion. The only one I don’t really care for in left overs is the edamame spaghetti so I just cook up a portion each time I want it, so quick it cooks in about 4 minutes! Looking forward to cooking up the pasta salad recipe you posted!
Hi Valerie, at the last Dr. Fuhrman retreat I went to in 2019 he was asked this exact question and said that bean pasta doesn’t fall into the restricted grains allotment but there is a caveat. He said you must be getting to that 1 pound raw / 1 pound cooked vegetable quota and not over-use the bean pasta.
Stop making up your own Nutritarian rules. “The beauty of Dr. Fuhrman’s plan is nothing is truly ‘off the table.'” That is a COMPLETE LIE. There are MANY things TRULY OFF THE TABLE. ALL sugars fake or real, ALL OILS, carbonated beverages and juices, high sodium processed foods whether they are “vegan” or not even if they meet the food criteria of being “nutritarian”, EGGS….this is only a PARTIAL LIST.
Hi there! In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman allows for 100 calories to come from processed foods when you are in the maintenance phase–that’s where I was coming from with that. He also allows for people to eat animal products as he has served meals with meat at his retreats.
How about a recipe to make your own bean or veggie pasta noodles? I would love to see that recipe
Hi Jeanette, oh that would be above my pay grade! I’ve never made fresh pasta before but you might be able to find someone who has–just do a quick Google search!