Black Bean Pasta: no problemo

Black bean pasta showed up at Trader Joe’s in 2016. It caught my eye and piqued my curiosity. For $2.99 a bag (12 ounces), I felt like I didn’t have much to lose. I grabbed a bag and prepared it just as I would with traditional pasta – topped with a ground turkey and marinara. My family approved, but I didn’t. I really wanted to like it, but just couldn’t get past the clash of the black bean taste and Italian flavors.

After all, the noodles taste like straight up black beans. For good reason – they’re made with 100% black bean flour. Which makes them a nutrition-packed alternative to traditional flour noodles. Let’s review the nutritional facts:

  • Serving size 3/4 cup
  • 14 g of protein
  • 15 g of dietary fiber
  • 2g sugar
  • 35 g carbohydrates
  • 200 calories

Now, let’s see how that compares to the brown rice & quinoa blend of pasta that’s my usual go-to:

  • Serving size 1/2 cup
  • 5 g protein
  • 2 g dietary fiber
  • 0 g sugar
  • 43 g carbohydrates
  • 200 calories

The black bean pasta beat the brown rice/quinoa blend in all categories but one, sugar. I decided it was too good (nutritionally at least) to abandon, but I needed to come up with a way to work with the flavor.

I played around a bit and decided to fully embrace the black bean-ness of the noodle. I have not tried another Italian recipe, but instead am sticking with Mexican flavors. I landed on a winning solution…

Shredded Chicken Verde and Black Bean Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar of salsa verde (this is my go-to)
  • 1 lb chicken (breasts or thighs) *organic
  • 1 package of black bean pasta
  • toppings: cilantro, onion, fresh salsa, jalapeno, avocado, greek yogurt, fresh peppers

Process:

  1. Prepare the chicken in the crockpot. Add the chicken and salsa verde to the crockpot. I tend to use frozen chicken and do not bother to defrost it, but instead add it to the crockpot as is.
  2. Cook the chicken on high for 4 hours, or longer if you’re using a lower setting. Adjust the cooking time if you’re using defrosted chicken.
  3. Cook the pasta based on the instruction on the package. I add quite a bit of salt to the water and notice adds to the taste of the noodles.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, shred the chicken.
  5. Drain the pasta and dish it up.
  6. Top the pasta with the shredded chicken and any toppings you choose to include.

That’s it! An all around great meal – solid nutrition, low cost and low maintenance. WINNER!

A bit about texture. I posted about black bean pasta in my instagram story this last week and had a great laugh over many of your comments. As you discussed the texture and quality of the noodles, I kept responding (in my head) with, “That’s what she said.” Okay, I’ll give you an example:

Comment: “And also, the black bean pasta does not grow in size.”

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!! Bah!!

Gosh, that joke never tires. Even for this 35 year old.

Anyways, the noodles are best when they’re al dente, so don’t over cook them. As my friend mentioned, they don’t expand much when they’re cooked. They do hold up well for left overs the next day though. I didn’t hear any complaints in that department. (That’s what she said. Wink wink.)


Now, this weekend I am going to test out the new red lentil noodles that appeared on Trader Joe’s shelves recently. I have a feeling that they will pair well with vegetarian minestrone soup. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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