Would Amanda Eat It? Quinoa Pasta Edition

When a client approaches me wanting to lose weight – and particularly wanting to lose body and belly fat – my first piece of advice is almost always to cut out sugar and white carbs.  “White” carbs are those made with white (refined) flour, such as bread and pasta, as well as the refined versions of whole grains (white rice and quick oats, for example).

That said, I encourage clients to keep healthy, whole and unrefined grains in their diet, including steel cut oats, farro, and quinoa – which then brings us to the confusing issue of quinoa pasta.

Realizing now that this popular brand of “quinoa pasta” is actually “supergrain pasta,” there is a bit of a misnomer at hand – the Ancient Grains brand of pasta actually contains corn flour (!).

Now all that being said, it’s still ONLY corn and quinoa flour.  And it’s all organic.  So I’m going to treat it as a legit Would Amanda Eat It product and analyze accordingly:

The good:

  • only two ingredients (quinoa, corn) – and both of them organic.  Me likey.
  • calories are modestly lower (205 versus 215-225) than white pasta
  • less than 1g sugar – very low for any processed/boxed food

The bad:

  • so…it actually has LESS protein than white pasta (4g versus 7-8g) – not good
  • for being whole(ish) grain, it doesn’t give you that much more fiber (about 1g) because it’s still flour made from grains versus the grains themselves
  • and because it is still made of flour, you’re still looking at a heavy dose of 46g carbs per serving (!)

The verdict:

  • because there’s really no strong advantage to this pasta over a regular white (and let’s face it – damn delicious tasting) pasta, I’d have to say no – I wouldn’t spend the extra cash to hit up some quinoa (and corn) pasta

The alternative:

  • that said, it doesn’t mean I’m going around downing loads of white-flour spaghetti.  I know lots of “reformed” fettuccine fans who swear by Shirataki noodles, which are made of tofu, gluten-free, and virtually CALORIE free (!) – at 20 calories per 2 ounces.
  • if soy/yam noodles aren’t your game, then I have to recommend “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) as the tastiest veggie-based noodle out there (made using a spiralizer right in your own home!) or baking up a spaghetti sqaush (aptly named) and dousing it in the most decadent and delicious sauce you can find (because, hey – you’re saving about a million calories and carbs from NOT eating flour-based noodles!).

Are you a pasta person?  What’s your favorite noodle/sauce combo?

4 thoughts on “Would Amanda Eat It? Quinoa Pasta Edition

  1. ??? As an Italian and a lover of the lovely food of my country (especially of pasta…) I’m totally against messing about with traditional pasta. Many generations of Italians have eaten and are eating traditionally made pasta and have few problems with obesity. People should cut on cakes and sugary things and eat normally and sensibly, this is the best way of controlling weight. It’s all about how many calories one ingests. A plate of pasta has less calories of a doughnut or a bar of chocolate. I my view human nutrition is getting too finicky,fussy and complicated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are correct about the Italians – and how I wish American culture could exist without the barrage of “alternative” food products that make it confusing for the average consumer to navigate – even when they’re trying to make better choices. Moderation and portion control go a long way, no matter what the food in question may be. Great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a HUGE pasta person. I’ve tried several rice, brown rice, corn, and quinoa pastas and they all are sadly lacking compared to wheat pasta. Whole wheat pasta is tolerable, taste and texture-wise, but there’s a reason wheat pasta is the best, despite the huge carbo load you get from it.

    I’m lucky enough to have my weight under control, but if I ever need to give up pasta entirely, I’ll probably go with spaghetti squash as a wheat pasta substitute. Either that or dump some beans and/or chicken or beef into a pot of sauce and call it Italian chili. 🙂



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