Run Oregon Test Kitchen: Pow Pasta – a protein-packed alternative to the usual carb


On the left, Kraft Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese; on the right, Pow Pasta Mild Cheddar Elbows. Take a look at the fat content, protein, sodium, and iron.

I’ve got a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, so we go through our fair share of macaroni and cheese at our house. The usual blue box isn’t the healthiest way to go, so we tried out a grown-up version: Pow Pasta.

Made by Ancient Harvest (they also make great quinoa), Pow Pasta really is better for you. I’ve been trying to eat healthier, so looking at labels is a habit of mine. When you compare the Pow Pasta mac ‘n’ cheese to Kraft, you can see that Pow has less fat, less sodium, more iron, and more fiber. It’s also got more protein – 16 grams compared to 9 grams in the Kraft box. To give you some context, a cup of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein.

The box we tried was of the mild cheddar elbows. It tastes good, too – the pasta is slightly firmer than your regular enriched pasta when cooked for the same amount of time, and it holds sauce well.

I shared a box of the green lentil penne with a co-worker – a guy who lifts on a regular basis and eats very healthy lean protein. After trying it out once, he said his family has purchased it a number of times in the past month. His wife also loves it, because it is a gluten-free option that doesn’t use rice like many other products labeled “gluten-free” do. Pow Pastas are certified non-GMO, as well.

Pow Pasta comes in a variety of pastas, made with various ingredients. There are two other mac ‘n’ cheese varieties: sharp cheddar shells and white cheddar shells; plus black bean elbows, red lentil rotini and red lentil linguine, green lentil spaghetti, and green lentil penne.

After trying the mac ‘n’ cheese, we went with the red lentil rotini and made a basic goulash (at least, what passes for goulash at my house). Pow Pasta is cooked like any other type of pasta – boil the water, add the noodles, and drain. We mixed in chopped onions and tomato, sauteed garlic and browned hamburger, plus an always-changing lineup of spices. In a hearty pasta dish, the Pow Pasta is much more filling than regular pasta so you can load on the veggies.

The Pow Pasta line-up includes two one-pot meal options: The Italiano (red lentil and quinoa pasta with red beans and peppers) and the Cubanitos, with green lentil and quinoa pasta. If you’re more of a do-it-from-scratch chef, you’ll appreciate these recipes using all of Ancient Harvest’s gluten-free products.

Pow Pasta is easy to find in the Portland metro area – most Safeway, Albertson’s Fred Meyer, Whole Foods, Zupan’s, and New Seasons stores stock it, as does Food Front and QFC. You can also buy it online for around $4-$4.50/box or buy a 6-pack to save money. If you try it out, let us know what you think!

Protein Packed Irish Colcannon Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Just one of the recipes you can make using Pow Pasta (recipe at their website, – click the image to go to the recipe.

About Author

We started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. We also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support local race organizers.

%d bloggers like this: