If only my postman knew quite how many parcels involving foods made from insects he brings to my house he might refuse to deliver. Latest up is Nutribug’s new insect pasta which plopped through the door recently direct from Thailand..
Nutribug are one of over 100 insect food related companies that have set up around the world in the last few years. Their premise is simple. Eating insects is the future. But, as most people can’t cope with scenes like the snacktastic display above that I found in a market in Beijing and so, they’re breaking us all in gently by using cricket flour in things like bread, crackers and, in Nutribug’s first offering – pasta.
‘We’re having this for tea this week,’ I said to The Boyfriend gleefully waving the packet with its pretty bug drawings. ‘You can have it for tea this week, I’m having penne,’ he said not entering into the spirit of things at all. Spoilsport.
If only I could have tricked him, but, the Nutribug tubes are brown and our house is a white pasta zone. Despite the colour it’s not a super wholemeal wheat concoction – in fact it doesn’t contain wheat at all. Instead, it’s a mix of brown rice, cassava flour and insecty excitement. This makes it gluten free, wheat free, egg free, dairy free and soy free – and while its not carb free, the extra protein from the insect flour does mean it has twice the protein as normal rice pasta – about 6.3g per 50g (dry weight) serving. Caloriewise it’s pretty much the similar as the wheat based stuff at 190 per 50g. It is a bit pricier than your normal penne though – a 250g bag cost £2.77.
It cooks just the same as regular pasta – but takes slightly less time – about eight minutes to get it al dente. I mixed mine with a veggie sauce and tucked in. Honestly you wouldn’t have noticed the difference. It takes exactly like normal pasta – perhaps a bit sweeter but I think that’s the rice rather than any magic involving the crickets. Even The Boyfriend had a tube and proclaimed it – not bad. Sadly the price does put me off making it my main pasta of choice, but I still liked it.
I’m not the only person whose keen either – a week or so ago I read a news story about a woman in France also making insect flour who was couldn’t keep up with the demand for orders. As I type Nutribug are only selling the penne type pasta, but coming soon are rice noodles (perfect for Pad Thai or soups), a corn pasta and insect puffs which are based on prawn crackers. See more at nutribug.com. You can buy the products in the UK, Japan – and, my kiwi buddies, in NZ too.