Healthy Low Carb Pasta Packed With Protein

Like most women, I LOVE carbs! I would eat them all day if I could. Unfortunately, I must limit my carbohydrate intake, or I gain weight very quickly. However, as a Mom of two young children, pasta is a staple meal in our home. While brown rice pasta is definitely a healthier alternative to traditional white pasta, it is still quite high in carbs, which means I have to limit myself.

One day as I was strolling through Whole Foods a year or so ago, I came across a pasta made of lentils! JUST LENTILS!!! I was intrigued, so I turned the box around the read the label, and was so excited to find that this pasta was packed with protein! As I continued down the aisle I spotted pasta made simply from chick peas – score! Since my toddler loves pasta, but isn’t really into meats of any kind, I try to get her protein from beans and legumes. Lentil or bean based pastas are the perfect solution. It also allows me to enjoy pasta and know that it’s slightly less carbohydrates than brown rice pasta, and I am getting my protein requirements for the day! WINNING!

Since I found these pastas, I have been recommending them to all my clients. I am happy to say that most of them (and their children) love them. There are a few different brands out on the market, so look for brands that are organic and contain ONLY lentils or chickpeas/beans as the ingredient. I enjoy the red lentil pasta, green lentil pasta as well as the chick pea pasta. If your children are sensitive to the color of their food, opt for green lentil or chickpea pasta, because it looks closer in color to traditional white pasta, whereas the red lentil pasta is pink in color.

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Healthier GF Italian Pasta Salad: SugarFreeMom.com

This is a great side dish to bring along to a picnic…pasta salad! This is a REALLY delicious one and it’s always a crowd pleaser when I bring it along to BBQ’s.

Ingredients

2 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup sweet grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sweet yellow pepper, chopped
2 scallions, diced
4 cups cooked pasta ( I used Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta)
1/2 cup Italian Dressing
Optional: 2 cups diced cooked chicken (light meat), black olives, mozzarella cheese

Italian Dressing

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

While the pasta is cooking, add all your chopped veggies to a large bowl. Take your pasta off the heat and drain it prior to it being fully cooked, al dente is best with this dish so the pasta doesn’t get mushy. Cool the pasta over cold running water, drain and then add it to the veggies. If you are using chicken add it now as well. Place all your dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined well. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad. Refrigerate overnight or at least an hour before serving. Serve with optional toppings on the side for guests.

Healthier Italian Pasta Salad {Gluten Free}