Monday, January 21, 2019

Guest Post: Black Bean Gluten-Free Spaghetti Noodles

by George Groot
George is a member of our Facebook Group and has written for us before.

While shopping at Costco I ran into Black Bean Spaghetti Noodles which were certified gluten-free. Since my wife has a wheat allergy, gluten-free is a good thing for her, and I was intrigued by the stated protein content -- not that I’m surprised a bean product has lots of protein, only that it seemed to be an ideal product for our family as it was shelf stable, gluten free, and had a high nutritional density -- so I figured that we’d buy a box and give it a try.

How Did It Taste? 
It tasted more like “health food pasta” than something you’d get at Olive Garden, which isn’t to say it tasted bad,  just different. One of my two children said it tasted good with a sweet basil marinara sauce, the other one (who only eats noodles with soy sauce or coconut amino sauce) declared that it was unfit for nine year old human consumption. My wife and I tried it with a sweet basil marinara, a roasted garlic marinara, and a basil pine nut pesto. Of the three we tried, the strong garlic/basil tastes of the pesto were the best match.

The Good
Lots of shelf stable protein that rapidly goes from dry storage to prepared to eat in less than ten minutes. This is a real plus for anyone who has a lot going on and can’t dedicate a large amount of time to food prep.

The Bad
The taste isn’t for everyone.

It comes in a pretty bulky package compared to other pasta options. I think adults will be fine with the flavor, but children might see black pasta and go “icky, different!” because we taste first with our eyes and nose.

If you have limited food storage space the particular product we bought might not be for you.

The Interesting
The texture of this pasta almost begs me to use it in a stir fry with garlic, seafood, and some citrus. There are a number of Chinese and Korean noodle dishes that would go really well with this texture, and the flavor of the sauces would easily overpower the taste of the noodles.

Nutritional Density
In our house the preferred gluten-free noodle option is Barilla Gluten Free, as it cooks most like normal pasta and more importantly tastes most like normal pasta (unfortunately, it isn’t priced like normal pasta). However, Barilla Gluten Free pasta isn’t exactly nutritionally dense like most normal pastas, and really only serves as a source of empty carbs which ensures that people can get enough food energy per day.

To directly compare the two:
  • a 2oz serving for Barilla is 4 grams protein, 44 grams carbohydrates
  • a 2 0z serving of Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti is 25 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrates. 
However, don’t underestimate the need for “empty carbs” if you transition to a high amount of manual labor. Our ancestors grew wheat and rice for a reason, and paired with all-day physical labor it seems to be a winning combination for keeping civilization going.

Closing Thoughts
We aren't going to replace all our Barilla Gluten Free pasta packets with various bean or legume based pastas, but odds are good that we’ll continue to add them  into our diet to ensure that we do have a variety of foodstuffs on hand. A few years back, my wife and I went a month trying to live off of a commercial 30-day survival pack, and we learned through the experience that living off the same stuff for any length of time really, really sucks. Avoiding food monotony is probably one of the subjects that preppers need to talk about more often, because while having a ton of food is great peace of mind,  having a lot of different flavors and textures in that stockpile is really, really important.

Footnote: Gluten-Free Recipes
For people who’ve dropped money on a grain mill and would rather make their own noodles than purchase in bulk, I unfortunately cannot find a recipe that turns black beans into noodles. However, here are three other gluten-free recipes that may be the right starting point.

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