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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 our Meal Plans for Health 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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316 responses to “What Are The Healthiest Pastas Available?

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

  2. 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

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

      1. Look for the organic one at Trader Joes. They also have a brown rice/quinoa (sp?) blend that is organic that I like.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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 😉

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. Vani,

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

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

      1. 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).

    1. 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.

      1. 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)

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. What do you think of Tinkyada Pasta Joy Ready Organic Brown Rice Pastas. I really like them and how they cook and taste like pasta

  18. Except for the Mung Bean Pasta! Can you believe they took a winning product and re formulated it with soybean/ mung combo! What were they thinking! I’ve left messages begging them to bring the old one back. 🙁

  19. I steam broccoli slaw for about 5 minutes in a little water. You can’t taste the broccoli if you have sauce on it.

  20. Red Lentil noodles are amazing!!! My year and a half old son loves them and they are so packed with protein!

  21. I definitely used a lot of the pastas you mentioned but I didn’t see the quinoa pasta there which I also use. Do you not use or recommend it? If so why? I use Ancient Harvest brand

  22. Are the ancient grains ok, when you have Hashimoto? I am just eating zuccini, spaghetti squash and kelb noodles

  23. Tolerant organic red lentil pasta. 100% red lentil. Love love love. Kids and hubby approved. Good find at Costco. 🙂

  24. In Canada, I use a variety of pasta put out by a company called GoGoQuinoa which I really like. They have a macaroni that is totally red/white quinoa which is very good, but some of their other pasta products are rice/quinoa mixtures.. they are good but I like to stick to just the quinoa. Any I have purchased to date have all been organic.

  25. I used to cook with the Tynkiyada pasta but did not like the flavour or texture too gummy. I discovered the Jovial gluten free brown rice pasta and it was amazing reminded me so much of the pasta I used to eat when I lived in Italy. They have everything from lasagne noodles, spaghetti, fettuccini and other shapes. Since I have celiac I was so happy to find Jovial. I think I also read that they sprout the brown rice but will have to double check.

  26. Did you know that there’s nothing wrong with whole wheat that’s grown organically? It’s the processed wheat in commercial food products that’s unhealthy. My Italian family has lived for generations on home made, quality pasta and all have lived well into their 90’s in excellent health. Aside from folks with true Celiac disease, there is no good reason to avoid healthy gluten. I wish people would stop spreading this misconception.

    1. The problem is that organic wheat is hardly ever available. We get poisonous wheat in our breads and flours, etc. I used to eat Wheaties every day for breakfast, and was getting sicker and sicker. Finally got smart and changed my died to whole fruits and veggies and feel 100% better. Ditch the wheat and sugar!

      BTW some people are allergic to quinoa so be careful when substituting it for wheat.

      1. Actually,there is a wide variety of unadulterated wheat and semolina flours available for pasta making. eating processed foods (like Wheaties) is pretty much a guarantee to make anyone feel awful. As I said, the process is what’s causing the issue with wheat, there’s nothing wrong with the actual plant. The only way to know what’s really in your food is to make it yourself.

  27. What are your thoughts on Kelp noodles? I have read a bit about them but the calorie content on the labeling looks way too good to be true. Have you used them and if so what are your thoughts? Can I trust the nutritional information on the label?

  28. I have a big question, i recently started to sprout my own grains in order to make my own sprouted flour to attempt to make my own ezekiel bread and hopefully pasta….. so i bought wheat, barley, millet, soybean and lentils (cant find spelt in the north of Mexico) i just dont know how much of each grain i should mix (after sprouted) to make an appropiate flour for bread and pasta, my tryout was 1 cup of each, i blended all till it didnt get any more like a powder (still can fill tiny tiny particles but it didnt pulverize more) and used it to make pasta dough according to a traditional recipe, this dough is not as elastic as it would be with white flour… actually the pasta machine doesnt take it from the rolls, it doesnt go through, so i flattened with a roller and then wind it through the linguini cutter (it goes fine there) but they kinda break, so i guess theres no much gluten left in the flour after the sprouting and dehydration process???? any help will be appreciated 🙂

    a side note: linguinis didnt turn out nice and long, they rather broke into smaller pieces, especially when i hung them to dry, then boiled them and tastes good, but still would love to improve this flour for nice long and firm pastas 😀

  29. I’m looking for a healthy orzo pasta option. Do you know if any of the above pastas you mentioned make an orzo pasta? Please let me know.

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