Pasta Made From Crickets?
Can we get as much iron from eating bugs as we can from eating beef? Could eating crickets be a more sustainable alternative? Do they even taste good? While grasshoppers and crickets and other critters have long been associated with the diets of cultures in other regions of the world, they are still relatively new or still utterly foreign to the diets of many westerners. But, I say, don’t knock it until you try it.
The edible insects market is growing fast and for good reason. These insects offer nutritional value as well as benefits to the environment. The reason they have sustainability in their favor is that they (the crickets and other insects) need far less food and water than, say, a cow (1,000 times less, in fact). According to a data sheet from Bugsolutely (a company that makes Cricket Pasta), “insects are the protein of the future” because 70% of each cricket is protein.
Additionally, Cricket Pasta offers more health benefits than other pastas. Learning that Cricket Pasta contains around 40% more protein than regular pasta, 10%-15% fewer carbohydrates, double the amount of fiber and iron, and 10% of the recommended daily intake needs of vitamin B12 (which is nonexistent in other pastas), inspired me to try it.
Although I will admit it took me a week to muster up the courage to eat Cricket Pasta, I finally ate a hearty bowl of it (with my children cheering me on) and I felt not only a little brave, but also satisfied. As the dark green-tinted pasta was cooking, I mixed olive oil, crushed garlic, and red pepper flakes in a separate bowl. I drizzled this spicy, garlicky sauce on the pasta, stirred it with a fork, and took my first bite. My wide-eyed children studied my face, simultaneously joyous and horrified at the thought of their mother eating bug pasta. They didn’t believe me when I said it tasted good until they saw me eat the whole bowl.
The amount of spice in the sauce I made seemed just right in order to mellow the earthy flavor of the pasta. I could imagine eating it plain (with a splash of olive oil) but its flavor would likely dominate the meal, so I would consider that when pairing it with other dishes. Made with cricket flour, the pasta has a texture comparable to that of whole wheat pasta, with a slight crunch (I enjoyed this). While I was eating, I ended up more focused on the rich flavor of the pasta combined with the kick of the oil mixture, and I was not preoccupied with what I knew I was eating. I also thought about the extra iron, protein, omega 3 and B12 I was giving to my body, and I felt good about this.
First published December 2016