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

  1. Dawn

    I like the Lundberg Organic Brown Rice pasta the best. The DeBoles brand is good and the buckwheat noodles too. Lots of options these days!

    Reply
    • Peter (to Dawn)

      Where do you buy these pastas, Dawn?

      Reply
      • susan (to Peter)

        peter, i buy mine at vitacost.com. amazon.com and vitacost are the best 2 places to check for these items at the best price and selection.

    • Lisa (to Dawn)

      I love DeBoles too!

      Reply
  2. Jennie

    What are your thoughts on Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta?

    Reply
    • cammy (to Jennie)

      I love it!

      Reply
    • Kim (to Jennie)

      That is definitely my favorite pasta…would love to know what Food Babe thinks!

      Reply
      • Sherry (to Kim)

        Me too! Our first Trader Joe’s just opened in VT!

  3. Alex

    Shiratake noodles! Gave up wheat a year ago and lost 14″ off my waist thanks to Wheat Belly!

    Reply
    • Nazneen (to Alex)

      I’ve always wondering about what I was eating when eating Shiratake noodles. They take the taste profile of anything you eat them with. Any ideas on the health grade of Shiratake noodles?

      Reply
  4. Shannon

    What is the best pasta to use for red sauce? I eat 100% buckwheat but it just doesn’t work with that pasta.

    Reply
  5. Mary

    Kelp noodles made asian style with a little coconut oil, Braggs amino acids, Sriachi and organic powdered peanut butter. YUM! And there is another good use for powedered peanut butter…recipes!

    Reply
    • Carmelita (to Mary)

      There was an article that food babe did on her opinion on powdered peanut butter. Did you see it?

      Reply
      • Mary (to Carmelita)

        Yes Carmelita I saw the article. As a Nutritionist I agree that healthy fats are essential and peanuts should be organic however there are organic powdered peanut butters available and they are great for cooking and baking and even shakes. Adding real peanut butter to my noodles would messy and add more calories where I might not want to add calories….so yes, fat is essential but at the end of the day if your calories are already high enough and you have enough good fats in your diet you can use the powdered peanut butter to add flavor without adding too many additional calories. I personally get plenty of good fats from nuts, coconut oil and avocados so the powdered peanut butter is awesome for a treat and like I said perfect for recipes and baking.

  6. Marie

    Haha, Dr. Kaizen doesn’t need to worry about pesticides, chemicals or gmos killing him. His soul full of hate will first!

    Reply
  7. Tracy

    How rude!

    Reply
  8. Tracy

    Rubbish! I know my body and I know how much healthier it feels since I cut down on wheat. Most doctors just prescribe drugs to mask problems and then cause more problems, eating healthily means no visits to the doctor, go and troll elsewhere!!!! :@

    Reply
  9. Judith

    I just read what the Dr. Kaizen wrote and I am surprised that a doctor would allow himself to be perceived so unprofessionally by his post. Really, if you disagree with Vani or any of this information just don”t read it or find a FB page that agrees with you. I just wonder about someone, anyone who is so angry about this. People make choices all the time good and bad. Write yourself a prescription for a chill pill.

    Reply
    • Jen (to Judith)

      I am pretty sure he isn’t a real doctor. You could put any name and have it posted, doesn’t mean it is real. It is just some troll trying to start trouble.

      Reply
  10. Lisa (to Jacqueline C)

    I took a two week break from wheat without making any other dietary changes. I lost 5 pounds, felt amazing and my psoriasis went from raised red patches to flattened smooth skin. I’m eating wheat again because I can’t seem to stay away from it. I gained my weight back, my psoriasis flared up and I feel tired again. Wheat isn’t addictive, yeah right. Why are Americans so fat??

    Reply
    • Kevin (to Lisa (to Jacqueline C))

      Because they eat too much. Lack of self control. Just like overweight people from other nations.

      Reply
      • Lisa Spears (to Kevin)

        Go watch ” Sugar the bitter truth”
        , and find out that why Americans and anyone else that imports our crap food is fat.

      • Jeach33 (to Kevin)

        They are fat because they are sick. Our food chain is so empty of nutrients that we eat more and more to compensate. Our bodies are craving nutrients that just aren’t in our poor diets. When you eat clean, you eat less.

      • Kevin (to Kevin)

        Lisa, “crap food”? I don’t know what country you are from but here in Canada we produce among the highest quality, safest food in the world.
        Jeach33, people are overweight from over-eating and inactivity yet are still living longer than 100 years ago. A friend just lost a lot of weight and I asked if he reduced intake. He said he ate more but ate clean.

    • Germaine (to Lisa (to Jacqueline C))

      You are describing dermatitis herpetiformis as a reaction of gluten. I had this itchy, to the point of bleeding at times, and not diagnosed by the best of dermatologists for 2 decades. I recommend people to go completely gluten-free and give up corn, rice and dairy which mimics gluten in the body. Check out Gluten Free Society for info.

      Reply
  11. Raymond Ebbeler

    Can’t we all get along

    Reply
  12. Mollie

    I have tried spaghetti squash and it was okay, but I’d love to try some of these others, where do you buy them?!? Any main chains?

    Reply
    • Cheryl (to Mollie)

      Check out shopping online. I love Vitacost. They display all the ingredients and have customer reviews.

      Reply
      • mollie (to Cheryl)

        hmm… so no regular stores carry them…

      • sueathome (to Cheryl)

        Some may be carried in a regular store…but a regular store usually only carries regular food like substances. If you want a superior product you must dig a little. You can thank your Food and Drug Administration for that.

    • Chelsea (to Mollie)

      Any health food stores will carry options. Where do you live?

      Reply
  13. Tracy

    Black bean and red lentil pastas by Tolerant. So yummy and only the one ingredient in each pasta!

    Reply
  14. Garden Queen

    Good grief! Would you be so rude if you weren’t anonymous?

    Reply
  15. Cayrn

    I haven’t tried it yet since I just found it – but it sounds delicious and I can’t wait to thy it. https://cappellosglutenfree.com

    Reply
  16. Me

    Have tried many and find Tinkyada or Field Day organic brown rice pastas are great. Cook up al dente and are not mushy or gritty like some of the other brands.

    Reply
    • Carol (to Me)

      I love Tinkyaka brown rice pasta. It tastes just like pasta. I wonder how healthy it is. I buy it in the local health food store. Would love an opinion on it.

      Reply
    • Carol H. (to Me)

      I love Tinkyada too. (I only buy the organic versions) It holds up well and as long as you rinse it after cooking it tastes very close to regular pasta.

      Reply
  17. Crystal

    My small pension (I’m retired) puts me on a very limited budget. I fear I am doomed to be fat and unhealthy because I am poor. I feel this is true for most poor people. It’s a sad time we live in. Our food is so adulterated and we know it. Conspiracy theorists suggest this is the governments way of controlling population and class. I can’t help but wonder sometimes if that isn’t true. Sorry if this sounds depressing but I’m in a depressed mood just trying to find food that is good for me and isn’t “poison”.

    Reply
    • Polly Reed (to Crystal)

      I,too am retired and on a very limited income. A year ago this month I weighed 180# and was on multiple (expensive) medications for BP, cholesterol and stroke prevention blood thinners. Some little light bulb switched on which told me this was all wrong and though I am 75 went on a mostly plant based eating idea. The best thing I did was to seek out organic farmers in my area for everything from fruits, vegetables and dairy products. A year later I weigh 130# and am off all meds( with Drs. stunned approval) and feel better than when I ate this way as a child–from my father’s garden and neighbor farmers.
      It can be done even with limited income so start checking around for resources. Nobody in this country should not eat well because of their income–which is another subject all together.

      Reply
    • Teresa (to Crystal)

      I feel for you Crystal, very frustrating, I’m sure!
      Do you have an Aldi near you? They are not perfect, but have come out with All Natural, Organic and Gluten Free lines of products/produce. It is limited and I’m sure a lot of it is not GMO free, but it’s a start and can maybe help you on a limited budget. I bought their brown rice spaghetti and it is nice to see one ingredient…BROWN RICE FLOUR!! :)

      Reply
  18. Vee

    What about organic whole wheat pasta? Is it still hybridized and not healthy?

    Reply
  19. Dr Kaizen

    Food Babe is a crook

    Reply
  20. Kevin

    Any Durum Semolina pasta. Yummy.

    Reply
  21. Lisa

    How is Annie’s Mac & Cheese? Anyone have information. TIA

    Reply
  22. Michael

    The Food Babe Army should push for better, more specific labeling on so-called “quinoa” and other sprouted grain pastas (and breads and cereals). I can only get so far. Example – a typical, actual unedited answer I received from a Customer Service rep from the popular “Ancient Grains” company re their “Quinoa Pasta:”

    Q: What is the percentage of Quinoa to corn in the pasta?

    A: Our Corn/Quinoa gluten free pasta is primarily a corn based product. We have found our proprietary percentage blend of corn and quinoa delivers the best formula that gives us an exceptional pasta that offers the highest flavor, best texture and excellent nutrition our customers expect from us.

    Reply
  23. Michael

    Mentioning corn or wheat flour first to indicate those as primary ingredients isn’t enough because it doesn’t divulge how relatively little the amount of advertised ancient grains are in common health food store products. I’m so annoyed by being misled and duped by “legit” health food manufacturers I’m going to expand on the cereal mention in my previous comment.

    Just as I did with “ancient grains” pasta to determine the amount of quinoa to corn (that brand’s likely corn pasta to render it palatable, with trace elements of quinoa), I asked Nature’s Path what percentage of ancient grains relative to wheat and corn were in two of their products, “Organic Heritage Flakes” (wheat) and “Gluten-Free Mesa Sunrise” (corn), suspecting that they too were wheat and corn pasta to make it palatable with trace elements of the advertised ancient grains. The relevant portion of their response after “we take each comment seriously” dancing around:

    “Our apologies, we do not give out ingredient percentatges. It may be a flavour preference or you may want to look at the ingredients to see which product has the most valuable ingredients for you.

    Heritage Flakes Ingredients: Kamut® khorasan wheat flour*, wheat bran*, whole wheat meal*, evaporated cane juice*, whole oat flour*, spelt flour*, barley flour*, whole millet*, barley malt extract*, quinoa*, sea salt, honey*. *Organic. Contains wheat. Produced in a facility that uses peanuts, tree nuts and soy

    Mesa Sunrise Ingredients: Corn meal*, yellow corn flour*, evaporated cane juice*, flax*, buckwheat flour*, quinoa*, amaranth*, sea salt, tocopherols (natural vitamin E). *Organic. Produced in a facility that uses peanuts, tree nuts and soy.”

    Reply
  24. Dana

    Does anyone have an opinion about the Dreamfields line? It is low carb, but is it healthy?

    Reply
    • Alberta Cinklin (to Dana)

      My fav too!! Prob not healthy! Sounds too good!! Would love to hear some feedback here!

      Reply
  25. Catherine

    I like House brand Shirataki noodles…adding fresh garlic, oregano and some crushed organic tomatoes and top it off with some fresh grated parmesan….mmmm and a whole bag of noodles is about 40 calories..

    Reply
  26. Jules

    Tinkyada brown rice pad Thai style pasta. Nothing beats it.

    Reply
  27. Sarah

    I’ve had the Tolerant red lentil pasta and it’s really good! I like Ezekiel tortillas and English muffins but I didn’t care for their pasta as much.

    Reply
  28. Cait

    I love using the spitalizer! Best $35ish investment you can make for the kitchen. :)

    Reply
  29. Lindsay

    Yes, it’s all about making the best choices possible without depriving yourself!

    Reply
  30. chris

    i use lundberg organic brown rice pasta.

    Reply
  31. Erin Bilik

    Just made your spaghetti squash and turkey meatball recipe for the family last week! Yummy…2 thumbs up!

    Reply
  32. Jackie S.

    My favorite pasta now is Brown Rice pasta by Tinkyada! Amazing!!!!

    Reply
  33. Loretta

    I have Graves’ disease and suffered from headaches on a daily basis until I went gluten/wheat free 5 months ago. The positive change was immediate and my thyroid has stabilized. I would never go back! I get my pasta fix with rice noodles. Big brand, Gluten free pasta is just not very good at all! Yuck!

    Reply
  34. Paul

    It does not matter from whom you buy your products. Stop eating those items and you will not crave them. Why are you trying to find substitutes for bread and bread products? My wife and I have a limited income and have been doing well for several years eating a paleo-type diet. We don’t eat sandwiches, we eat wraps made from lettuce. We don’t eat pasta, we eat stir fry. We try to grow as many veggies as we can and use those. Stop looking for quick and easy meals. Anything ‘prepared’ is made with the lowest cost of production possible in order to maximize profit for the company. Period. More corn, less quinoa. Lower cost. Stop complaining because this is NEVER going to change. Make your own food. It’s cheaper, healthier and tastes better. Oh, yeah. I work 12 hr days as a small-business owner and my wife is on disability, so it can be done. We do it everyday.

    Reply
  35. John

    I was curious as to the Food Babe’s opinion on Dreamfields brand pastas. We’ve tried them as an alternative to whole grain pastas, and they taste decidedly better, while claiming to be “healthier” than regular white pastas; but I’d like to know what the real scoop is on this modified brand. Thanks.

    Reply
  36. Sweetly

    Awesome I jus saw this spiralizer in Walmart..but how to make such in pasta n rest of healthy pasta using veggies…cud u plz post the recipe videos of them

    Reply
  37. Katie Oldham

    What a great experience to see you advocating for good, real and RESEARCHED nutrition this weekend at Blogher Food. Following up with this post is simply affirmation for how credible your work is. Plus, I’m just happy my pantry of pasta matches yours! We had the Explore Asian pasta tonight with homemade tomato sauce for an easy Sunday dinner!

    Reply
  38. Michelle

    I was wondering what the Food Babe thinks about Jerusalem artichoke pasta?

    Reply
  39. Evelyn Brown

    Vani,
    A HUGE THANK YOU for the work you are doing. I tell everyone about your blog and website and the amazing recipes and info you share.

    One very small comment on the “what are the healthiest pastas” article. Buckwheat is actually a seed from a plant. We use it as a cover crop and “green manure”…it grows about 4′ tall and has seed heads at the top. It is not a fruit seed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckwheat
    Just a fyi…

    Thanks again for the great work you are doing and all that you share!!!

    Reply
  40. Mary Bissell

    I like Ancient Harvest’s quinoa and corn spahetti and their pasta elbows. Even my parents eat it. I like it because it’s lighter than regular spaghetti.

    Reply
  41. Maureen Johnson

    I love love love Edison Grainery q-Mac organic quinoa Mac and cheese. They make excellent pastas, all gluten free, best I’ve ever had, and they are very Eco-conscious. And, one package of Mac and cheese = two regular boxes.
    http://Www.edisongrainery.com

    Reply
  42. Edgar A.

    My favorite noodles are Steamed rice noodles. Fairly simple to make at home. Just soak rice in water over night, bleed off excess water. Grind into rice milk then steam them in a thin cookie-sheet/bamboo mat. then just slice them thin!

    Reply
  43. Denise

    For a cancer patient keeping sugars out of his diet and anything that creates sugar, what is the best pasta to eat on this list aside from the zucchini pasta and spaghetti squash pasta? Is it OK to have those other brands?

    Reply
  44. Melinda

    I found a great site for coupons for organic and gluten free (healthy foods in general) a few days ago. It is called mambosprouts.com. Great coupons there! I found a $1.00 off for the Rudis brand gluten free bread. Anyone who has any budget and wants to save some $$ should chck it out. I’m really glad I found this site and I also found that my local co op has a ‘coupon exchange’ basket. Been going there for months and just yesterday found out about it. Many ways to save for those who think they can’t afford the products.

    Reply
  45. Jenifer

    Question: Wheat belly? Cause? Do you believe it is the GMO wheat or additives causing the bad results? Is there an ‘organic’ old wheat (pre GMO wheat product) still in existence I could use to make my own bread (with gluten). I have the old LaLeche League cookbook from the 70′s with several recipes and even one that ‘rises’ in the refrigerator overnight, but, they use whole wheat.

    Reply

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