As soon as someone finds out I’m vegan, I get the question… “where do you get your protein?”. My answer: I get my protein the same place you do, plants! Yes plants have protein. I just choose not to get extra protein from animals. People are way too obsessed with protein intake, when in reality they should be more concerned with the amount of fibre, fruit and vegetables they are eating. I get it though. People want to know if living on a plant based is diet achievable. I’m here to tell you it is, and it’s delicious and nutritious! Especially with exciting new foods like black bean pasta.
How much protein do I eat?
On an average day I eat around 50-80g of protein. 45-50 would be a rest day, 80 would be a busy high activity/workout day. The recommended amount is 0.8grams per kg of bodyweight (or 0.36 per pound). This means I need around 45g minimum. You need a little more if you workout regularly, or if you are nursing. As a vegan I easily hit my protein requirement, and generally keep my macros around: 70% carbs; 15% protein; 15% fat; I know some people exist on a diet of low carbs and high protein but honestly I don’t understand why… carbs are not the enemy. Plus if a diet that says I can’t have pasta… I’m out. Pasta is life, and as a runner, cyclist, triathlete I love pasta!
Trader Joe’s Black Bean Rotini
If you are a pasta lover but want to boost your protein intake I have good news and it comes in just three words: Black Bean Pasta. Browsing the aisles at Trader Joe’s recently I spied their organic black bean rotini. As I love pasta and black beans this seemed like a no brainer. Plus I know this is going to look so much more appetizing than boring beige pasta. Seriously, regular pasta just looks bland compared to this right?
High Protein Pasta?
Incase you don’t know regular pasta has around 3g of protein per 2oz serving. This black bean pasta from Trader Joe’s has a whopping 14g of protein per 2oz serving! Ask me again where I get my protein. Seriously if you’re looking to up your nutrition game you need to be on the lookout for this stuff. A 2oz serving (dry) of black bean rotini has 200 calories, 1.5g fat, zero cholesterol and sodium, 35g carbs and 14g protein. Plus it contains 20% of your RDA for iron. Want to boost that iron content? Simply pair with vitamin C, like these cute and zesty cherry tomatoes, to triple the iron absorption.
Black Bean Pasta Bowl Recipe
- 3oz Trader Joe’s Organic Black Bean Rotini
- 1 cup Trader Joe’s Sugar Plum Tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped Mushrooms
- 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Frozen Edamame
To cook the pasta bring water to a boil in a pan. Add pasta, stir gently. Return to a medium boil and cook for 8-10 minutes*. Do not overcook, this doesn’t take as long to cook as traditional pasta. In the 8-10 minutes prepare the other ingredients. In a pan add the mushrooms, edamame, tomatoes and Mrs Dash (or other seasonings). Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Drain pasta and add to tomato mixture. Serve.
* This is also a great time add a steamer to the pan and steam some green vegetables. I served my pasta bowl with about a cup and half of broccoli. Look closely you’ll see some green flecks under the mass of pasta and tomatoes. Remember to eat your greens!!!
Black bean pasta bowl – nutrient breakdown
I know those of you that track calories and macro’s will be curious, so here is the nutrient breakdown for the pasta bowl (without the broccoli). It’s pretty good and easily adaptable to fit your goals. I chose to have a 3oz serving size, but you could easily just go with the recommended 2oz. I just really like pasta.
Carbs: 71g – 57%
Fat: 7g – 13%
Protein: 37g – 30%
The question you’re all asking by now is “how does it taste?”. Well, it’s not like regular pasta for sure. It’s definitely got more substance to it’s flavor. I don’t know about you but regular pasta doesn’t really taste of much, which is why we have a tendency to smother it sauces. The black bean pasta definitely had more flavor than regular pasta, and yes I could taste a hint of black beans. But not overly so. I also found it was more filling than regular pasta, but that could also have been the bumper portion of broccoli I had with it. I enjoyed it a lot, and will definitely opt for this rather than regular pasta purely for the protein boost and the visual appeal. We eat with our eyes as well as our stomachs and I found the color of black bean pasta much more appealing.
Make it yours…
Obviously the best thing about pasta bowls is you can add different things each time making every single meal a little different. For this particular lunch I chose to add one and a half cups of broccoli, and a serving of Daiya cheddar cheese shreds. This took my meal totals to:
Carbs 84g – 54%
Fat 13g – 13%
Protein 41g – 27%
Tracking this in myfitnesspal I saw that it contained 25% my calcium for the day, 50% of my iron, 150% vitamin C, 100% of my fiber, 60% of my protein, 35% of my carbs, and 35% of fat. Not only is it a boost for protein but a great way to add in micronutrients too!
- What’s your favorite way to top pasta bowls?
- Have you tried any high protein pasta? Would you try it after seeing this recipe/review?
- What’s your favorite green vegetable?