Gluten free lentil and chickpea pasta are a great way to get your protein in while eating pasta. They’re nutritious, gluten free, high in protein and fiber, and lower in carbs than tradititional wheat pasta. Try making the pasta at home from red lentils, green lentils, or chickpeas. The results are a delicious, guilt free bowl of pasta.
Lentil pasta can come from different kinds of lentils, e.g. red, green, etc. If making from scratch, first turn your lentils into lentil flour, then your flour into pasta dough, and finally your pasta dough into pasta. I have tried red and green lentils, and while both are good, I prefer red. Red also produces a better looking pasta.
Making your own lentil flour is easy. All you need is a blender and fine mesh strainer (alternatively, you can invest in a grain mill, which will produce better flour). Blend the lentils until they form a powder. Sift the powder through your fine mesh strainer. The powder that sifts through your strainer is your finished lentil flour. The bits that remain in the strainer aren’t small enough to be flour. Put them back in the blender and blend them so that the powder is fine enough to pass through the sieve. Repeat until all lentil powder can pass through sieve.
Making chickpea pasta at home is the same process. First, turn your garbanzo beans into garbanzo bean flour using a high speed blender. This takes longer than lentils since garbanzo beans are larger and harder. Note it will be extremely loud at first. Alternatively, you can use store bought chickpea flour.
Making the Gluten Free pasta
I make this lentil/chickpea pasta the same way I would make normal pasta. Sometimes I will add some tapioca starch and/or psyllium husks to the lentil flour, which gives the pasta a little stretch (it helps replace the missing gluten). Then I use the well method with eggs. The resulting red lentil dough is quite beautiful. See this post for a detailed guide on making red lentil pasta.
Making Gluten Free Pasta At Home
Once you have your gluten free pasta dough, you can make your pasta. In my opinion, short pasta is preferable to long pasta when it comes to gluten free pasta. Without gluten in the pasta, there is not the same stretch or elasticity, and this deficiency is more noticeable in a long pasta (it’s more likely to break and fall apart). With short pasta, the textural difference between gluten free pasta and wheat pasta is less noticeable.
I use the pasta extruder for the kitchen aid. My two favorite shapes are fusilli and rigatoni. Both shapes carry the sauce very well. With a good sauce, you really don’t miss wheat pasta. You can get your pasta fix with lentils or garbanzos and packed with protein.
You can make long pasta noodles as well with gluten free lentil pasta dough. Roll the dough out into a thin rectangular sheet. Then cut noodles off of the sheet using a pizza cutter (do not fold the sheet or the noodles as they will break).
Serving Gluten Free Lentil and Chickpea Pasta
Serve the lentil and chickpea pasta with sauces and ingredients that pair well with lentils and chickpeas, respectively. The flavor of the chickpeas in the chickpea pasta is pronounced so it is important to consider when picking a sauce. Serve the chickpea pasta with a garlic, lemon, and parsley sauce, or try a cilantro pesto.
The lentil pasta goes really well with tomatoes. Serve them in a vodka sauce, in a cumin and tomato sauce, in a putanesca sauce, or as a rigatoni pomodoro with eggplant.
The lentil and garbanzo pastas are more strongly flavored than traditional pasta, so feel free to use bolder flavors in your sauces to match.