This gluten-free pasta is often made with a blend of quinoa and corn flour, which improves the texture and makes it taste similar to traditional white pasta. Native to South America, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse with impressive amounts of several minerals, including manganese. This mineral is needed for proper protein and carbohydrate metabolism and for increasing bone-mineral density, says Jeffrey-Lunn.
Great Grain Ancient Harvest Quinoa Linguini has four grams of protein per two-ounce serving, making it a light, easily digestible prerace choice (quinoa.net).
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Pastas labeled "multigrain" usually contain refined flours. For the most nutrients, stick to those made of 100 percent whole grain.
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Secret's in the Sauce
Try these healthy, delicious recipes that complement any pasta.
Quick and Easy Marinara
In a food processor, combine 1 pound plum tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves, 2 table-spoons balsamic vinegar, and oregano, salt, and pepper to taste; process until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan; stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.
Cilantro Pumpkin Pesto
Place 2 cups cilantro, 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup Parmesan, 2 garlic cloves, juice of 1/2 a lemon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely minced. With the machine running, pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and process until well combined.
Fire-Roasted Meat Sauce
Brown 1 pound ground beef in a pan. Add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper, and 3 minced garlic cloves; cook 3 minutes. Add a 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes and 5-ounce can tomato paste. Season with oregano, basil, chile flakes, salt, and pepper. Add 1/3 cup red wine and 1 tablespoon sugar. Simmer, reduce heat, and cook 1 hour.
Creamy Cashew Mushroom Place 1 cup unsalted raw cashews in a bowl; cover with water and soak 2 hours. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a pan over medium heat. Add 1 chopped onion, 3 cups sliced mushrooms, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and salt and pepper. Cook for 7 minutes. Add to a blender with 1 cup low-fat milk and drained cashews; blend till smooth.
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Cooked to Perfection
Follow these tips for preparing whole-grain pasta:
- Use a big pot. The pasta will cook more evenly.
- Add salt. Salting the water improves flavor.
- Don't add oil. Oil in the water prevents sauces from clinging.
- Stir the pasta. Whole-grain pastas tend to stick; stirring minimizes that problem.
- Taste often. It's done when you bite it and it's slightly resistant.
- Don't rinse. It removes starch that helps sauces cling. But do rinse soba, which turn gummy otherwise.
- Finish cooking in the sauce. This helps pasta absorb the sauce.
More: Are You Eating Enough Carbs?
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