If you’re interested in gluten-free pasta, chickpea pasta may be at the top of your list.
It’s made from chickpea flour and sometimes a few other ingredients. Notably, these legumes may boost digestive health, lower cholesterol, and reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers (1).
In addition, eating more plant-based meals has been linked to numerous health benefits — and legumes and legume-based products are often part of a healthy plant-based diet (2).
This article explains all you need to know about chickpea pasta, including its nutrients and benefits, along with a few recipes.
Chickpea pasta is made from chickpeas ground into a flour.
Some brands use only chickpea flour, whereas others add ingredients like lentil flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, and pea protein or starch.
It’s available in a variety of shapes, including spaghetti, rotini, and penne.
It’s also a popular choice for those who avoid gluten. Most chickpea pastas are gluten-free, but it’s important to read the label to confirm. People with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders may need to avoid gluten due to digestive problems and other symptoms (3, 4).
You can eat chickpea pasta in place of any wheat-based pasta. It can be served warm or cold, as in a pasta salad.
Chickpea pasta is made from chickpea flour and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most varieties are gluten-free, making them suitable for people with gluten-related disorders.
Chickpeas are an incredibly nutritious legume, offering protein, carbs, fiber, antioxidants, and numerous vitamins and minerals (5).
As such, chickpea pasta provides more protein, fiber, and iron than white or whole wheat pasta (6).
This chart compares the nutrients in 2 ounces (57 grams) of dry chickpea, whole wheat, and white pasta (7, 8, 9).
Chickpea pasta is a good source of numerous nutrients. It provides twice as much protein and significantly more fiber than either whole wheat or white pasta.
Chickpea pasta is not a low carb food. It contains approximately 32 grams of carbs per 2-ounce (57-gram) dry serving (7).
As such, it’s unsuitable for low-carb or keto diets.
All the same, its protein and fiber contents may lessen the effect that its carbs have on blood sugar by slowing your digestion and the rate at which sugar enters your bloodstream (10, 11, 12).
Although very little research has specifically examined chickpea pasta, one older study suggests that it has a smaller effect on blood sugar than white pasta. Therefore, chickpea pasta may be a good choice if you’re watching your blood sugar levels (13).
Chickpea pasta isn’t low in carbs, but it may not have as much of an effect on blood sugar as other high carb foods due to its fiber and protein content.
Both older and newer research supports eating more plant-based foods, including legumes like chickpeas, to aid your overall health (2, 14, 15).
May lower your risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the United States (16).
Emerging research shows that eating chickpeas and other legumes may lower your risk of this condition due to their content of fiber and polyphenol plant compounds (1).
One study in middle aged men associated with eating beans and legumes more than 3 times per week with a 35% lower risk of heart disease, compared with those who didn’t eat these foods regularly (17).
Furthermore, swapping certain foods for legumes may also aid heart health. One study shows that replacing red meat with legumes and other plant-based proteins may risk heart disease by 14% (18).
May improve blood sugar control
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels may help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as related complications like heart disease and mental dysfunction (19, 20).
Both fiber and protein help slow digestion, in turn slowing the release of sugar into your bloodstream (10, 11, 12).
Chickpea pasta, along with other bean- and legume-based pastas, offers more fiber and protein than both white and wheat pastas. Thus, it’s likely better for blood sugar management than other pastas (7, 8, 9).
In addition, older studies suggest that eating legumes and beans — especially in place of refined grains — may improve blood sugar control (21, 22, 23).
May support digestive health
Both soluble and insoluble fiber aid digestive health. Chickpeas contain both types but are an especially good source of soluble fiber (1, 24).
Soluble fiber attracts water and forms a gel during digestion, which helps slow digestion. Insoluble fiber provides bulk in the stool and helps the stool move through your digestive system properly (25).
Chickpeas also boast prebiotic fiber, which supports a healthy gut microbiome — or the collection of bacteria in your digestive tract — by providing food for the good bacteria known as probiotics (26, 27).
Fiber-rich diets have been linked to a reduce risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer, as well as regular bowel movements and better digestive health (1, 27, 28, 29).
Chickpeas and other legumes have been shown to play an important role in digestive health, and eating chickpea pasta may offer similar benefits to whole chickpeas due to its fiber content (1).
May help you maintain your weight
Chickpea pasta is packed with fiber and protein, two nutrients that help you feel full for longer. They work by slowing digestion and the release of sugar into your blood stream (10, 11, 12).
Studies show that replacing refined grains like white pasta with fiber- and protein-rich foods like whole grains and legumes may aid appetite regulation and lead you to eat less overall. In turn, these effects may aid weight management (30, 31).
Replacing white pasta with chickpea pasta may also help you fill up on less food and feel fuller for longer.
Like other legumes, chickpeas may support heart health, blood sugar management, digestive health, and weight management. Chickpea pasta is one way to increase your legume intake.
You can substitute chickpea pasta for wheat pasta in most recipes. It’s a great way to add protein to dishes that may otherwise be carb-heavy for a more balanced meal.
However, the texture may not be the same. Chickpea pasta is a little softer when cooked than pasta made from white flour. Some brands and shapes may have a slightly grainy texture as well.
When using chickpea pasta in place of white pasta, note different cooking times on the package. Chickpea and other legume-based pastas often cook in less time and may become mushy if overcooked.
While it pairs well with most sauces, chickpea pasta may taste best with heartier sauces like pesto and tomato-based sauces.
Add vegetables and fresh herbs for a satisfying healthy vegan or vegetarian meal.
Easy chickpea pasta recipes
Chickpea pasta is a healthy alternative to white pasta, providing more fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, most types are suitable for gluten-free diets.
Its fiber and protein may support blood sugar management, weight maintenance, digestive health, and a reduced risk of numerous health conditions.
You can easily cook this scrumptious pasta much as you would wheat pasta. Pair it with a hearty sauce and healthy veggies for the best flavor and the most health benefits.