In all honesty, we totally made up this particular dictionary entry, but it doesn't make our plight any less real. If you've been cycling through yogurt, nut butter-topped toast, and oatmeal for... who knows how long, you're probably ready to switch things up (while still getting that much-need a.m. protein boost). That's where breakfast pasta recipes, aka pasta enjoyed before noon, come in.
Protein is key for starting your engines in the morning because it acts as the "building block" of your bones, skin, muscles, and cartilage, plus it helps your body work on a cellular level. Apart from protein, dietitians generally say that every morning meal should contain fat (like avocado or olive oil), complex carbohydrates (like whole grain bread), and fiber (like apple slices or chia seeds) to keep your energy levels on point until lunchtime—but that doesn't always have to mean sticking with classic breakfast foods.
If oatmeal or eggs are your normal breakfast fare, here's some cold, hard proof that pasta can be just as good of a first meal. While pasta features slightly less protein than oatmeal (about three grams compared to five grams per half-cup serving), it's highly, highly versatile in what you pair it with. While it might be kinda weird to, say, throw some turkey in with your oatmeal, you can easily add it to pasta for an extra spike of protein. Not to mention the fact that there are many delicious bean-based pastas on the market, such as Banza, that come packed with 13 grams of protein or more per serving. (This means that swapping refined white pasta for a bean- or lentil-based option will roughly double the protein per serving.)
In short, don't let the world tell you what to eat for breakfast, fam; eat what you want... even if you wouldn't necessarily find it on the Sunday brunch menu. Ahead, we rounded up five pasta recipes that you can swap in for the usual suspects. It's a small rebellion, but it's a very worthwhile one.
5 breakfast pasta recipes to energize your morning routine
Make use of your pantry staples with this simple—yet decadent—take on cacio e pepe. While the traditional Italian recipe calls for a simple combo of spaghetti, black pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese, this version ups the plant-based protein content with a chickpea topping. You'll bake the garbanzos separately for an extra-crispy, four grams of added protein per serving. (Score.)
A dietitian explains why chickpeas are so great:
Mediterranean cuisine is always refreshing—and that's exactly the adjective we want to use to describe our overall mornings. This colorful bowl includes the protein-rich chickpeas we mentioned above, as well as crumbled goat cheese (swoon), which contains about five grams of protein per ounce. This dish is especially great in the summer when the idea of eating a hot breakfast seems ridiculous.
Don't feel like spending time in front of the stove? No worries: You can pop this pasta dish in your cast iron, place it an oven, and wait for the magic to happen. A four-ounce serving of chicken offers 26 whole grams of protein, so you can count on this fuss-free pasta to keep you energized until lunchtime.
Good news: Someone combined your two favorite things—guac and macaroni—and made it into something even better. We pulled this recipe from Henry Firth and Ian Theasby's cookbook several years back, and it's still a fave for its delicious flavors. While it doesn't contain the most protein all by its lonesome, you can easily combine it with tempeh, chicken, or chickpeas for a protein boost, or use a bean-based pasta in place of noodles made from refined flour.
Cashew sauces are always a winner—and this pasta is no exception. You'll combine your blended cashews with tomato, onion and red pepper flakes for a sauce that's *chef's kiss*. When all is said and done (cooked and served?), this dish rocks about 15 grams of plant-based protein per serving, which is about the same as a two-egg omelet. Bam.
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