What Are The Healthiest Pastas Available?

I get a lot of questions about the products I buy at the grocery store and personally use on a daily basis because readers know I’ve done the investigative work. One of those questions is always, “What are the healthiest pastas available and which ones do you recommend?”.  There are a lot of options out there and it can be a daunting task trying to navigate the maze of choices and I’m here to help.

First, let’s talk about what you won’t see on my list of staples. I don’t like to buy or make wheat (white, enriched, semolina, or whole wheat) based pastas for a few reasons:

  • Enriched white pasta has been completely stripped of its nutrients and likely chemically bleached.
  • Most wheat or semolina pasta has been hybridized and damaged nutritionally during processing.
  • The consumption of wheat flour increases inflammation in the body and is extremely acidic.
  • Wheat flour can disrupt the good intestinal bacteria in your digestive system.
  • Wheat flour has been shown to cause addiction, making you crave and eat more.

So without wheat flour pastas, what is left? Fortunately, there are a lot!

Pasta2

Here Are My Top Pasta Recommendations:

  • Zucchini Noodles – Wonderful zucchini & squash vegetables can be made into noodles using a tool called a spiralizer (available online here)…Ok, I know this isn’t technically pasta, but boy, does it taste like pasta!  If you are trying to go grain-free or want a less heavy alternative to traditional pasta, this is a fantastic way to get your pasta fix. You can eat the noodles raw or warmed slightly in a skillet with sauce. Also, if you don’t want to use a spiralizer, you can cut the zucchini or squash into thin slices like lasagne and bake them. Remember to choose non-GMO and organic zucchini and squash, as the majority of them grown in this country are made with genetically modified seeds.
  • Spaghetti Squash Noodles - Spaghetti Squash is not something I knew about for a while and I found out most people don’t either. After discovering it, I told everyone about it and they were like “Eh! what? when you cook it, it comes out like real spaghetti?” I responded “DUH! That’s why they call it spaghetti squash!” This is one of the most versatile pasta substitutes available. It has 1/4 of the calories of traditional pasta per cup, meaning you can eat and eat and eat some more. One of my favorite ways to eat this squash is straight up with homemade spicy tomato sauce and raw goat’s milk hard cheese. Heavenly. Also, check out my recipe for spaghetti squash casserole with quinoa – it’s really good!
  • Bean Pastas – A company by the name of Explore Asian makes the most delicious pasta using 100% mung beans. This pasta is extremely high in protein and fiber and gets you super full really quick. The noodles are a bit more chewy than traditional pasta. The recipe for fettuchini on the back of the package works like a charm and is my favorite way to make these. They are available online here. Also check out Tolerant brand that makes lentil based pastas here. 
  • Soba Buckwheat Noodles – I love buckwheat! It’s actually not a grain but a fruit seed and is suitable for people on a gluten-free diet. They are high in protein and fiber and extremely satisfying. Remember to look for 100% buckwheat – there are a lot of impostors out there that use a blend of wheat and buckwheat that I don’t recommend. Eden makes 100% buckwheat noodles and is available online here. Orgran makes 90% buckwheat, 10% rice spirals and is available online here. 
  • Ancient Grain Pastas - Ancient grains are grains that haven’t been hybridized over time and are more nutrient dense than the wheat that is produced today. I’ve loved the recent innovations in this category, including the quinoa, amaranth, and brown rice combination Tru Roots came up with. They have several different varieties – elbows, penne and spaghetti available online and in most natural health stores. The elbows have been a staple in my house for homemade mac & cheese (recipe coming soon!). Also, other ancient grain pastas I recommend include Vita Spelt pasta, Jovial Einkorn Pasta, Quinoa Pasta and this Eden Kamut Quinoa Blend.
  • Sprouted Grain Pastas – This pasta is hearty and definitely more dense than most pastas available, but I love the nutritional profile. Most sprouted grain pastas have wheat, but it’s not wheat flour – it’s the whole wheat kernel sprouted before processing, which increases the fiber and protein available and removes the phytic acid that makes wheat more digestible. The sprouting process also increases the beneficial enzymes, vitamin and mineral content. People who are gluten intolerant can sometimes enjoy this type of wheat without any issues because the increased enzymes metabolize the starch (gluten) in the wheat. My favorite brand is Ezekiel Food for Life, which is available in most natural foods stores and online. I like the combination of ingredients that also include other beneficial whole grains and beans: organic sprouted whole grain wheat, organic sprouted whole grain barley, organic sprouted whole grain millet, organic sprouted whole lentils, organic sprouted whole soybeans, organic sprouted whole grain spelt.

I will leave you with this tip from Dr. Andrew Weil – Remember to cook your pasta al dente (when it has “tooth” to it) because it has a lower glycemic index than fully-cooked pasta. Low-glycemic-load carbohydrates should be the bulk of your carbohydrate intake to help minimize spikes in blood glucose levels.

What Are Your Favorite Pastas? Share with me and others in the comments below… 

If you know someone who loves pasta, please share this post with them. Who knows maybe they’ll invite you over for some yummy delicious & nutritious noodles!

Buon Appetito,

Food Babe

P.S. Remember to check out The Eating Guide Program which has a bunch of yummy healthy recipes using the best ingredients and foods on the planet! You get a monthly calendar with weigh-loss recipes, exactly what to eat and which groceries to buy. Signing up for this program helps to support all the Food Babe investigations – so thank you!

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290 Responses to “What Are The Healthiest Pastas Available?”

  1. Julie

    Spelt pasta? Is that ok?

    Reply
  2. Donna

    Such a timely post! My grandson was just diagnosed as allergic to wheat so we are looking for alternatives.

    Reply
  3. Carol

    I love my Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer, a friend surprised me with 1; thinking she got it from Wal-Greens, around $12.00 I sliced organic zuchinni (speghetti!), steamed it, served it as speghetti w/sauce. Absolutely love it! And, being diabetic, yay!!! :)

    Food Babe, thanks so much for all you do & for sharing it with us! I have already learnt a wealth of information from your posts. <3

    Reply
  4. Bonnie Decelle

    How about trader joes brown rice pasta?

    Reply
    • Hali (to Bonnie Decelle)

      I was wondering about that too! I always use brown rice pasta from trader joes and wonder if it’s healthy!

      Reply
      • Nancy (to Hali)

        Rice is genetically modified, it would not be a good option for me.

  5. Carrie

    Try Tolerant Foods Red Lentil Pasta. I buy it at Whole Foods or Vitacost. It is AWESOME!!! The only ingredient is non-GMO, organic red lentils. The texture, when cooked is like whole wheat pasta. It has 13 grams of fiber per serving and 21 grams of protein. The company is based in Canada.

    Reply
  6. Sarah Simmons Beaton

    What about Cappellos almond flour pasta? So yummy!

    Reply
    • Carrie (to Sarah Simmons Beaton)

      I’ve seen that but wondered about the texture. What’s it like?

      Reply
  7. Beth

    You are right on the money! Zucchini noodles (zoodles) are the healthiest, they taste the best and are the same consistency as spaghetti with way less carbs!

    Reply
  8. Michele

    tolerant foods makes THE most AMAZING “pastas.”
    One has Black beans as the ONLY ingredient and the other RED LENTILS as the only ingredient. Organic, gluten free, no GMOs and AMAZING!
    This link – 10% off!! http://buytolerantfoods.refr.cc/XDGVB9P
    I bought 12 boxes – high in protein… I don’t work for them, I just really love it ;)

    Reply
  9. Quintin

    I love Hodgsons Mills pastas with Quinoa. Easy to find and prepare.

    Reply
  10. bobbi

    all of these pastas sound gross to me (sorry). Which one will taste more like a white pasta?

    Reply
    • Dawn (to bobbi)

      Jovial pasta is great. I am Italian, love pasta, and this is grown and made in Italy from the original einkorn wheat. My cousin who has celiacs was able to enjoy this pasta because it is the original wheat, not the processed wheats of today.

      Reply
  11. Stephanie

    There is a new one on the market by the company Young Living. It is primarily a health and supplement company, but the founder wanted to bring back the ancient grain Einkorn. He found it on the south banks of the Jordan, grows it in a couple of places in the world. Harvests it the ancient way to preserve the nutrients and quality. I have seen it, it grows tall like our wheat used to! He makes a pasta, pancake mix and a syrup to go with the pancakes (it is also made from healthy non processed ingredients)
    This is a good option. Not carried in stores, simply ordered through a member. Like me, Most members will give their wholesale discount to anyone who is interested.

    Reply
    • Dawn (to Stephanie)

      Jovial Pasta makes their pasta from Einkorn wheat so this is not a new idea.

      Reply
  12. Cynthia

    We love Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice pasta!! Closest thing to “traditional” noodles that I’ve found – and only 2 ingredients – brown rice and water.

    Reply
  13. joe

    What about rice pastas?

    Reply
    • Amanda (to joe)

      I have read that you have to be very careful with rice products because rice has a high occurrence of arsenic, which is linked to many forms of cancer. Rice with the lowest levels are found to be sushi rice and basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan.

      Reply
  14. Stacy

    I like nasoya Pasta Zero shirataki fettuccine — 2 servings only 15 calories each.

    Reply
  15. Judy

    HEY VANI can you answer some of these question the ppl had asked on here,questions were brown rice, quinoa etc.. please THANK YOU SWEETIE :)

    Reply
  16. Pat Pickett

    Our favorites are asian noodles called shirataki because they contain no calories, no carbohydrates and are mostly roughage. After being washed they are ready to eat and take on the flavor of your sauce. They come in either spaghetti or noodle form. Available at Whole Foods and your local food coop.

    Reply
  17. Michael

    What say you foodbabe to my previous questions about “ancient grain” pastas and cereals, all of which “seem” to be primarily corn- and wheat-based products with negligible, trace elements of ancient grains? If you can get Subway to stop selling edible yoga mats surely you can get farther with these companies than I can!

    Reply
  18. Ajendus

    Have you any sources for your information?

    Reply
  19. Katie

    Vani,

    Isn’t the bean pasta that you reccommend made with edamame? Isn’t edamame soy bean therefore most likely GMO?

    Reply
  20. Amanda

    The Ancient Grains Quinoa pasta is made with a combination of quinoa and corn. Do you have any idea if the corn used in it is non GMO? I used youse it all the time but when I noticed corn was an ingredient I stopped buying it.

    Reply
  21. Kathie McCallister

    Cappellos pasta (online only)
    Made from almond flour

    Reply
  22. James

    My favorite pasta is the Explore Asia black bean pasta. I simply can’t get enough of it. It’s so good!

    Reply
  23. Wendy

    None of these are organic? Unless you buy organic squash I guess??

    Reply
  24. Mike Haire

    Buy Italian pasta from Italy (not America). I lived there for 2 years and never got sick or had gasto problems when eating their pasta. Came back to America and first pasta dish was not pleasant.

    Reply
    • christina stetler (to Mike Haire)

      You do know Italy imports 40% of its wheat from the US

      Reply
      • Mike Haire (to christina stetler)

        No, I did not. I last lived there 11 years ago. Italians do not put a bunch of chemicals and dyes and other garbage in their food. Wheat itself is not bad, it is what companies put in that is bad. Also, the way that wheat is now harvested is horrible for us. It is sprayed with monsanto pesticides to dry it out and this helps mature most of the crop. It is the pesticide that is making people sick not the wheat or the pasta (unless of course you need to be GF).

    • christina stetler (to Mike Haire)

      I absolutely agree with the issues in which some/most/all wheat is produced. I also believe you may not have had any issues with the particular pasta you consumed in Italy. But that doesnt mean the wheat in Italy doesnt have the same issues in some of the major cities/restaurants etc especially since we do know how much they do import from us to feed the country. Generalizing is what gets us in trouble and some people will take your word as gospel. I have family all over the world and as our world gets more westernized so does the food. Some countries are much better then others but all countries have issues similar to the US.

      Reply
      • Mike Haire (to christina stetler)

        You are entitled to your opinion just as I am. No person out there should believe anyone at face value. We must all do our own research and try things out. I went clean last year for 30 days and it was amazing, I felt so alive and vibrant and rarely tried.
        I disagree with you about other countries having similar issues. Most countries have banned GMO and most countries do not put sugar into everything like Americans do. People need to wake up and realize that you are what you eat. If someone owned a sports car they would not put 87 octane gas in it, it they did it would not perform anywhere close to its highest performance. Instead, they would put in 93 or better octane and then their vehicle would perform excellently. Our bodies deserve 93 or better octane (I know that you agree with me on this point)

  25. Edith Colon

    As well as you, squash n zuccini spagettis and i use the veggetti, its inexppensive and you will find it at walgreens, cvs, BBB, etc. Also with zuccini and squash i added carrott spagettis. Its a very colorful combo and healthy. Try it!

    Reply
  26. The huntress

    Hands down the Jovial Einkorn. Will change your life, for sure! Pre-hybridization, pre-spelt even. Not easy to grow I hear but everything I’ve made with their flour or even the purchased pasta has been an A+. I am so very sensitive to wheat I had given up on ever eating it until I met this grain.

    Reply
  27. Lennart Andersson

    Garofalo spagetti is the best.

    Reply

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