If you’re looking for a protein-packed pasta dish that tastes light, bright, and summery, then this Protein-Packed Pea and Mint Pasta is your jam!
This recipe is inspired by the pea pesto recipe from the Nutrition Stripped Cookbook, yet instead of pizza, we made a pasta! Peas are slightly sweet and always taste delicious with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fresh mint. So why not put them all together on pasta and call it a day? This meal can be made in 15 minutes for dinner, lunch, or a great entree to share with friends over for dinner — just serve it with a big green salad (hey, massaged kale salad) and you’re good to go!
Can Pasta Dishes Be A Good Source Of Protein?
Yes, especially when the pasta you’re using is made from a plant-based protein like chickpeas! It’s been years of searching for the best gluten-free pasta and I think I found it. I’ve tried ones from Whole Foods, Trader Joes, mostly made from brown rice or quinoa but none of them held up as leftovers, or they got super soggy during the cooking process, except chickpea pasta.
I’ve had the most luck when using pasta made from lentils and chickpeas and the brand I use in this recipe is Banza, one of my favorites which serves up 20 grams of protein per serving. In addition to starting with a protein-packed pasta, we’re also using nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds to give this an extra boost of protein, minerals, and vitamins. Win, win, win.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Mint?
So fresh, so clean. There’s nothing like mint to remind you of summer and warm weather. It pairs wonderfully with just about any kind of dish, from a morning smoothie to a tasty dip. And when it comes to nutrition, the versatile herb has been shown to help promote brain function and mood.
Think of what automatically happens when you pop a peppermint or breathe in a mint essential oil, you immediately feel more awake, energized and alert. Studies have also shown that peppermint can help relieve digestive issues, such as an upset stomach, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Mint has an array of antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
You can add mint as a garnish in cocktails, in fruit salads to tame the sweetness and in chilled soups and gazpacho to enhance the coolness. Just be sure you start slow when adding mint to any recipe because it can easily overpower other flavors but plays really nicely with fresh lemon juice.
Chickpeas are an amazing source of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Beans are considered to be a starchy protein to be used similarly to lentils. Magnesium is another key player in beans, which is an important mineral in our body and plays a key role in 300 cellular functions in the body including muscle function, protein synthesis, blood sugar control, and blood pressure regulation.
It’s also been shown to help decrease PMS, headaches (such as migraines), and can be used to help relax digestive muscles which can reduce constipation.
Nutritional yeast is a staple food in plant-based diets due to its cheesy flavor, versatility, high amounts of B vitamins, and protein content. Nutritional yeast contains no dairy or active yeast, and it’s found in a powder/flake form that creates a paste when mixed with liquid, i.e. it’s great for making dairy-free sauces, dressings, and more.
In addition to containing 200%, DV of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12 nutritional yeast also contains about 10 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons serving depending on the brand.
Just 1 cup of peas contains about 4 grams of fiber, which is pretty good for just a side dish and in the grand scheme of your day, it’s about 8% of your daily needs of fiber (based on 35g / day which is “standard”, some folks need more, some need less).
Peas are loaded with vitamin K, B vitamins, minerals and plant-based protein, so much quality protein that plant-based protein powder companies have more recently started incorporating peas into their powder mixes.
Most of the NS approved brands of plant-based protein powders incorporate pea protein mixed with others such as brown rice and hemp. Just 1 cup of peas yields a whopping 8g of protein, that’s awesome in my book especially for one of the most underused vegetable protein sources out there.