This New Low-Carb Pasta Swap Could Be Coming Soon to Your Trader Joe's
Much like our culinary icons and healthy-ish queens Giada De Laurentiis and Ree Drummond, we believe all foods fit into a healthy diet. Even after Giada's gut-healing lifestyle shift and during Drummond's 55-pound weight loss mission, both of these savvy chefs kept carbs—including real, flour-based pasta—on the menu. The Pioneer Woman's Broccoli Carbonara and Giada's Vegetable-Stuffed Shells are both proof that carb-based meals can be healthy and delicious, especially when you pair them with plenty of vegetables, lean protein and heart-healthy fats. (Psst…in case you need a reminder, carbs are absolutely essential for life—both our brains and our bodies require the macronutrient for energy.)
That said, while we'll never completely eliminate regular pasta from our menu, we're all here for maxing out the amount of vegetables we can consume each day. And if those vegetables come in a form that eats like one of our favorite carbs? Bonus!
For this reason and for its pantry staple nature, we've been fans of Solely (a dried spaghetti squash "pasta") since we first spotted it on shelves at Whole Foods Market and online via Amazon last year. And now, Trader Joe's is getting in on the action.
Spotted by Natasha Fischer of @traderjoeslist, Organic Spaghetti Squash Nests are slowly rolling out across the west coast. Stocked near the dried pasta, this is "gluten-free, vegan, dried, ready to boil, [and a] great alternative to pasta," according to a sign spotted at a store in California. (Other Trader Joe's devotees jumped into the comments of this Instagram post to excitedly report that these are already available at California stores in El Cerrito, Fairfield, Stockton, Sacramento and San Jose, and will be coming soon in New Jersey.)
Reddit users are also chiming in with hot takes about this cool new product, noting, "I tend to go for fresh produce when I prepare meals for my family but I also have a one year old that is allergic to egg and wheat. This would be über convenient to have for lunch some days. I'm not going to cook an entire squash for his little self and I may not want the rest of it for dinner that night. So I'm down with a handful of these noodles at a time."
Since this can be prepared just like dried, flour-based pasta, it saves time, too. Even our quickest strategy for how to cook spaghetti squash requires microwaving for at least 10 minutes. To make the nests, the instructions explain that home cooks should bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the squash nests and boil for about 5 minutes, stirring every so often. Drain well, toss with sauce, and grab a fork.
Others mentioned that this product—which is made with just one ingredient: organic dried spaghetti squash, rolled into single portion "nests"—would be an awesome option for those with limited mobility or grip strength. Admittedly, the process of halving a raw spaghetti squash with a knife is quite a feat of strength!
Available for $3.99 for a 1.76-ounce, four-serving container, here's how the nutrition information stacks up compared to a traditional 2-ounce serving of dried spaghetti, according to the USDA's Food Data Central nutrition database.
- Organic Spaghetti Squash Nests: 40 calories, 0 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs (including 2 grams of fiber) and 1 gram of protein
- Conventional spaghetti: 211 calories, 1 gram of fat, 43 grams of carbs (including 2 grams of fiber) and 7 grams of protein
While the conventional pasta has more protein and is closer to a meal in terms of nutrition, the spaghetti squash nests would be great as a lighter meal or lunch, or even mixed with traditional pasta as a vegetable boost. As long as these hold up to their current competitors in terms of texture and flavor, we can't wait to add these to our menu. Just imagine, a big bowl of pasta that's half spaghetti, half squash and full of flavor, fiber and nutrition. We're already getting hungry!
We might have to wait a bit longer, though. A Trader Joe's representative confirms to EatingWell that the Organic Spaghetti Squash Nests are only currently available in a very limited amount of stores. They should be more widely available across the U.S. within a couple months, though, so keep your eyes peeled as you do your next Trader Joe's meal prep shopping run.
In the meantime, study up on the six healthy types of noodles dietitians totally think you should add to your cart this week.