Taste-Test: The Best Nutrient-Rich, High-Protein Pasta You Can Buy
Pasta has never been considered a health food but now you can raise the nutrition bar of your favorite pasta dinner with new formulations of every shape of noodle you like, now made with nutritious, high-fiber, protei-rich ingredients like chickpeas, lupini beans, and even green bananas. Depending on the ingredients you choose, your baked ziti or pasta primavera can now include protein and fiber as well as other nutrients, if you're willing to try something new.
But which of these healthier-for-you pasta brands taste as good as the real thing? If you are already willing to eat whole wheat pasta, then you know that you can get used to a slightly chewier noodle that has more texture and bite than the plain type. We taste-tested the healthier types of plant-based pasta to give you guidance when you head to the store looking for healthier pasta that won't spike your blood sugar as sky-high as the traditional pasta you grew up eating.
Pasta Dishes Don't Have to Be a Guilty Pleasure
So the next time you're scrolling through TikTok, or Instagram, and find yourself mesmerized by videos of mouthwatering pasta dishes, try out that recipe using a protein-rich pasta made with chickpea flour or lupini beans. Now, pasta dinners can be made with nutrient-rich noodles.
Traditionally, refined pasta lacks dietary fiber to keep blood sugar in check. And while even conventional pasta often contains added nutrients such as B vitamins and iron, eating refined carbs on a regular basis is associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of heart disease, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance.
Free yourself from tradition and try pasta made with new-fangled formulas like beans or even ripe bananas! These latest healthy pasta brands have used a variety of ingredients ranging from edamame to yellow peas to create protein-packed and fiber-filled noodles that actually taste delicious.
We taste-tested the latest batch of healthier pasta and ranked them for taste and health so you can know which ones to buy. Face it, once you add your favorite sauce and some dairy-free parmesan, you will be convinced these healthier pastas are as delicious and satisfying as the kind you've always eaten, even if your grandma made fresh pasta all your life. Enjoy!
What's the Best Pasta? The Ones That Are Nutrient-Rich
Next time you crave a comforting Italian pasta dinner, consider choosing a nutrient-rich pasta option instead of the typical refined pasta products. Choose your favorite innovative pasta or try them all with new recipes. Every pasta is an excellent choice for at least one noodle dish, so think about switching out your run-of-the-mill pasta brands.
365 Whole Foods Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Most whole wheat pasta brings a bold, often unwanted flavor to dinner, however, Whole Foods’ store-brand pasta delivers a healthier option with a mild flavor. This plant-based spaghetti is an excellent option for any Italian pasta recipe, taking on the flavor of the sauce rather than bringing a typical earthy flavor. This pasta also contains 6 grams of fiber per serving, offering hungry shoppers a gut-healthy option.
Total Fat 1g, Saturated Fat 0g
Dietary Fiber 6g, Protein 6g
Banza’s chickpea-based penne is a protein-packed option that’s difficult to beat. If you are looking for regular pasta, this healthy alternative might not be your favorite because it definitely tastes like its star ingredient. But, Banza creates a nutrient-rich pasta that replicates the texture and fits well with several tomato-based sauces. However, some pasta lovers might avoid Banza due to the xantham gum, which is potentially connected to some digestive issues.
Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1g
Dietary Fiber 8g, Protein 20g
Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti
You will likely recognize these boxes on the shelves, but instead of picking out the usual refined pasta, increase your fiber consumption with Barilla’s whole grain option. Despite its earthy flavor, this pasta is a reliably tasty option when cooked in salt water and prepared with a flavorful tomato sauce. We would suggest a stronger puttanesca sauce to cover up the earthy flavor, but these noodles cooked al dente are the perfect texture for your pasta night.
Total Fat 1.5g, Saturated Fat 0g
Dietary Fiber 7g, Protein 8g
Brami Lupini Bean Pasta
Brami is a game changer for anyone who loves to eat pasta but doesn't want to blow their entire carb count on one meal. It's made of just two ingredients, semolina wheat and lupini beans (so it is not gluten-free), and contains 60% more protein, and 3 times more fiber than regular pasta. The taste is like slightly less cooked pasta so if you like a little more bite to your penne, this is definitely the choice for all your favorite pasta dishes. I would recommend it for baked pasta like mac and cheese because it won't get soft or soggy like regular pasta. And with 21 grams of complete protein (even more than chickpea pasta), you can have seconds, guilt-free!
Total Fat 4g, Saturated Fat 1g
Dietary Fiber 11g, Protein 21g
Lupii Lupini Bean Pasta
When you choose lupini bean pasta you are going with a keto-friendly protein-rich pasta with low net carbs that tastes something like whole wheat pasta, since it is slightly more al dente and denser than the usual kind. Once you get used to the density, you appreciate that this pasta has 14 grams of complete protein and 40 percent of your daily fiber needs. It's grain-free (so gluten-free) containing zero wheat, corn, or soy. Made with just three ingredients, Lupii is just lupini flour, chickpea flour, and tapioca (for binding). No plastic is used in the packaging so you can feel great about choosing Lupii as your go-to pasta on a regular basis.
Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Dietary Fiber 12g, Protein 14g
The Only Bean Edamame Spaghetti
There is no beating The Only Bean when it comes to protein. This gluten-free, vegan pasta made from edamame beans contains 44 grams of protein per serving. And if that’s not amazing enough, the pasta is packed with 19 grams of fiber per serving and features a low-carb recipe. Undeniably one of the healthiest kinds of pasta available. The consistency is right on the mark and even though you cannot escape the “beany” taste of the edamame, it is a good and enjoyable addition to your pasta rotation.
Total Fat 6g, Saturated Fat 1g
Dietary Fiber 19g, Protein 44g
Tolerant Organic Chickpea Penne
Tolerant’s chickpea pasta features one single ingredient. Yes, you read that right. This purely chickpea-based noodle contains 11 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein per serving with no worries about preservatives, additives, or other unwanted ingredients. And this pasta is delicious. Use this penne in a cherry tomato sauce to soak up all the flavor. Some diners dislike the taste of chickpea pasta, but when prepared in tomato sauce, the strong pea flavor is almost completely masked, especially if you remember to salt your water!
Total Fat 6g, Saturated Fat 1g
Dietary Fiber 11g, Protein 20g
ZENB Pasta Rotini
Unlike any other pasta on the market, ZENB highlights the protein-packed yellow pea in its pasta selection. The rotini pasta is an excellent, nutrient-rich replacement to your typical pasta brand, containing 17 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. This boldly flavored, bright yellow pasta is excellent for a traditional Italian pasta dish or the star of a veggie-packed pasta salad. However, be careful of overcooking this pasta. Cook al dente or it will get mushy!
Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0g
Dietary Fiber 11g, Protein 17g