The Surprising Benefits of Vegetable Pasta

August 18th 2020 Comments
Vegetable Pasta

No matter how far the low-carb health craze goes, there will always be something alluring about Italian food that keeps drawing us back. Even for people trying to cut down on their intake of carbs, the comfort of a steaming dish of pasta will always hold a certain appeal. 

A plate of penne covered in parmesan cheese can be the stuff culinary dreams are made of. Some consumers are cautious, though, as carb-rich pastas have been getting poor press coverage over the last few years. Thankfully, for those addicted to a good arrabiata, there are more and more alternatives to traditional pasta that can bring the taste of Italy to the plates of those who are unable, or unwilling, to indulge in an avalanche of carbs.

Many people may think whole wheat pasta is as healthy as it gets, but whole grain noodles are just the beginning. By including dried vegetables in sauces and pastas themselves, there are a whole range of colors, flavors, and nutrients that can help add a healthy punch to a pile of pasta. This goes well beyond standards like basil, garlic, and rosemary, although Silva has you covered for these staple ingredients as well. 

Vegetable Pastas Can be Healthier than Traditional Varieties

As consumers continue to look for ways to improve the nutritional value of their favorite dishes, small differences can make for big wins. This is especially true for shoppers who may be looking for a way to get a hidden vegetable or two into their kids’ diets without a fuss. 

Using specially prepared vegetables instead of traditional pasta may be nutritious, but swapping out kale for lasagna noodles may lead to some confused looks around the dinner table. Thankfully, there are ways to increase the nutritional value of your pasta without swapping your lasagna noodles for eggplant slices.

Vegetable pasta, or traditional egg pasta with powdered vegetables added to the mix, may be just the answer to increase the nutrition and commercial appeal of your pasta offerings. By adding powdered vegetables into your pasta, you can add in so-called hidden vegetables to your products. Confirmed carnivores may be wary of spinach and zucchini, but bake them into the pasta noodles themselves, and you will have added as much as a full serving of vegetables for every 3.5 oz. of pasta without changing much in the flavor or look of a dish.

Powdered or dried vegetables have long been added to pastas for coloring, such as in the well known tri-color noodles found in many pasta salads. As food processing and preparation techniques have improved, and the availability of ingredients increases, the benefits of adding vegetables to your products now go far beyond simply adding a little color to your linguine. Whether it is added protein or fiber, there are many benefits to adding vegetables into the production process.

What Sauces go with Veggie Pasta?  

Another place that vegetables and herbs can be waiting is in the pasta sauce that brings your main dish together. Most people don't have the time or space to maintain a garden of fresh herbs, let alone make their own sauce from scratch. This is what makes it all the more attractive to buy a product that contains high quality herbs, spices, and vegetables to bring as many different nutrients and flavors to the table as possible. 

The variety of vegetables available from Silva can open up your product line and help your sauces stand out from the competition. Consumers are already familiar with garlic or roasted red pepper pasta sauces waiting for them on the grocery store shelf. Adding flavors and healthy vegetables to the mix can add distinction, flavor, and nutrition to a pasta recipe. 

If you are looking to add a little punch to your sauce, work in some heat with our red pepper flakes and black pepper or some earthy notes with our sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Beyond that, the sky's the limit with our vegetable mixes, traditional ingredients, and options like jalapeno peppers for those looking to bring a little fusion cuisine to the dinner table. 

Are Veggie Noodles Really Healthier Than Whole Wheat Ones?

Substituting veggie pasta for traditional varieties can indeed provide a health benefit. It may not be as pronounced as swapping out your pasta entirely for a spaghetti squash, but the added benefit of not needing to take the time to prepare vegetables ahead of time is a definite win for pasta. 

It may be true that a pile of fresh vegetables is hard to beat in terms of raw nutritional value, but there are still ways to pack hidden nutrients into pastas and sauces destined for grocery store shelves. 

Though often marketed toward vegan or gluten-free segments of the market, there are now many different grains and even vegetables that are used as a base for commercial pasta recipes. This change from normal wheat pastas has the added benefit of helping people meet their recommended daily allowance of vegetables.

Adding vegetables to a traditional egg pasta is not the pinnacle of vegetative versions of traditional dishes. Replacing the noodles with vegetables altogether has long been done with spaghetti squash, but now there are even more ways to make the switch. 

Alternatives to "Veggie" Pasta

Many pasta substitutes can only be done with fresh vegetables. Zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, spaghetti squash, and many others can be used instead of traditional pasta if prepared properly. Spiralizing vegetables is becoming more and more common. This process turns vegetables into thin, spaghetti-like strips that can be used as a base for a variety of nutritious and tasty dishes. 

There are some limitations to these approaches. It can be hard to preserve some of these pasta alternatives, or to make them ahead of time. Spiralizing requires buying specialized equipment, which may be more appropriate for a restaurant setting and the more dedicated of home chefs. 

It may be one thing to substitute vegetables for noodles, but the extra preparation time could make this difficult for many people. If you are looking to make a quick weeknight pasta dish to feed a busy family, keeping the total time it takes to make a dish low may outweigh finding ways to get a turnip to turn out al dente may not be in the cards. Being able to stick with the package directions on a box of rotini can mean the difference between a happy household and a hangry crew of kids clamoring for their dinner.

For commercial food producers looking to produce and ship at scale, there are some ingredients that do hold appeal. Beet pasta, for instance has emerged as an egg pasta alternative that can be stored and used in a similar way to traditional pastas. Targeted toward vegans but appealing to many health-conscious consumers, beet pastas join others made of quinoa, kale, broccoli, lentils, and more to bring high amounts of protein, fiber, and other nutrients to the table. 

At Silva, our field to finish guarantee provides you with the quality ingredients you need to create mouthwatering dishes. Whether you are adding punch to a pasta sauce, hiding an extra serving of vegetables in plain sight with some veggie-enhanced noodles, or going all the way to create a bold, purple pasta from beets, Silva has you covered. If it is time to start building your next nutrient-packed pasta or sauce, then our samples are the perfect place to get started.