Pasta and Legumes: Allies for a Healthy and Zero-Waste Diet

Pasta and Legumes: Allies for a Healthy and Zero-Waste Diet

In recent years, the environmental impact of pasta, from production to consumption, has significantly decreased: water consumption has decreased by 20%, corresponding carbon dioxide emissions by 21%, and recovered waste accounts for about 95% of the total. The pasta supply chain, with increasingly eco-friendly processes, promotes kindness to the planet through farms that now have a limited environmental impact and excellent quality yield. As sustainability is close to our hearts, we contribute by offering 3 zero-waste recipes featuring pasta and legumes, saving the planet and… your wallet!

Pasta: Good and Democratic.

It is cost-effective, healthy, satisfying, and takes just a few minutes to bring to the table. Today, more than ever, with inflation affecting the purchasing power of Italian families, pasta perfectly meets current needs, confirming itself as an accessible food even in challenging times for everyone. A protagonist in endless recipes with extraordinary flavors and variety, a globally loved zero-waste food, pasta represents the most delicious and economical gastronomic solution: in Italy, with half a kilo of pasta and a few other ingredients (such as oil, tomatoes, legumes, and herbs), you can prepare a healthy, nutritious, and balanced meal for a family of 4, spending just over 2 euros in total (50 cents per person).

Pasta and Legumes, a Winning Combination.

Legumes are plant-based foods considered a source of vegetable protein. However, compared to animal proteins, those in legumes are not complete. What does this mean? Proteins consist of building blocks called amino acids. Some of these are essential because the body cannot synthesize them, so we must obtain them through food. While animal proteins contain all the necessary building blocks, i.e., all essential amino acids, plant proteins are incomplete. Specifically, legumes lack the amino acid methionine found in cereals. Hence, legumes should be consumed with cereals to complete their amino acid profile (known as protein complementarity).

Three Zero-Waste Recipes. Here are three unconventional recipes combining pasta and legumes.

Whole Wheat Fusilli with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

Ingredients for 4 people:

    • 320g whole wheat fusilli
    • 1 small red chili
    • 250g cherry tomatoes
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • Vegetable broth as needed
    • 250g canned chickpeas
    • Extra virgin olive oil as needed
    • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
    • 1 lemon
    • Salt as needed


  1. To prepare the recipe for whole wheat fusilli with chickpeas and tomatoes, start by placing the chickpeas in a colander and removing the skin covering them.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan, add peeled and crushed garlic with a fork, let it brown, then remove it. Add chickpeas and chopped chili to the seasoning, season, sprinkle with half a teaspoon of cumin, and pour in a ladle of hot broth.
  3. Reduce the heat and cook everything, stirring often, for about 15 minutes.
  4. Wash the lemon, peel it, cut it into thin strips, and blanch them for 2 minutes in boiling water; squeeze the citrus juice.
  5. Wash the cherry tomatoes, cut them in half, and briefly sauté them in a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add salt, lemon zest, and juice, and, after 2 minutes, remove from heat.
  6. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, drain it, and season it first with chickpeas, then with tomatoes. Serve the fusilli with chickpeas and tomatoes.


Bigoli with Broad Bean and Mantis Shrimp Sauce:

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 400g of bigoli or other egg pasta
  • 300g of mantis shrimp
  • 1.2kg of fresh broad beans
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of dry Martini
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil


  1. Shell 1.2kg of fresh broad beans. Blanch them for a few seconds in boiling water and peel them.
  2. Clean and dice the carrot, celery, and spring onion. Shell the mantis shrimp and remove the black thread from the back. Wash and dry them, then set aside.
  3. In a pan, heat olive oil and gently sauté the diced vegetables and thyme. After a few minutes, add the mantis shrimp and let them flavor. Pour in the Martini and let the alcohol evaporate over high heat. Now add the shelled broad beans to the sauce for the pasta and adjust with salt and pepper. Continue cooking over medium heat for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Cook the bigoli in plenty of salted boiling water and drain them when they are still al dente. Transfer them to the pan with the sauce and toss for a couple of minutes.
  5. Serve the bigoli with broad beans and mantis shrimp in a large serving dish, topped with a generous sprinkle of black pepper.

Orecchiette with Peas in Saffron Cream:

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 320g of orecchiette
  • 1kg of peas
  • Saffron threads to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 20g of butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried marjoram to taste
  • 1 shallot
  • 30g of chopped almonds
  • 2dl of fresh cream


  1. Shell the peas, cook them in boiling water for 6-7 minutes, and then drain them.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the shallot, then sauté it in a large pan with butter. Add the peas and let them flavor for a moment, then pour in the fresh cream and a dash of pepper. Adjust the salt and continue cooking for 7-8 minutes over low heat.
  3. Finally, add saffron, mix well, and turn off the heat.
  4. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water.
  5. Meanwhile, toast the chopped almonds in a dry, non-stick pan for a few minutes.
  6. Gently wash the marjoram.
  7. Drain the pasta without letting it drain too much and transfer it to the pan with the pea and cream sauce, along with the toasted almonds and marjoram. Toss over high heat for a moment, distribute into plates, and serve immediately.