How To Find Healthier Pasta

By Jim F

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WebMD have compared various brands of pasta – in particular those that use whole wheat and have a higher fiber content.

Whole wheat pastas are made from durum wheat. Durum is the second-most widely cultivated wheat species (after common wheat). The whole-wheat pastas tend to have a higher protein content (7g to 10g per 2 ounce dry serving).Here are five recommendations:

Barilla Plus Penne
Not 100% whole wheat – but a blend of different grains.

Westbrae Natural Organic Lasagna

Only ingredient is organic whole durum wheat flour.

Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini
Ingredients: organic wheat durum flour and organic brown flax meal.

365 Organic Whole Wheat Shells

Organic whole durum wheat flour and water.

Trader Joe’s Organic Whole Wheat Pasta Rotelle

Only ingredient in this pasta is organic durum whole wheat.

Guidelines

  • Keep trying different higher fiber pasta brands or products until you find the one you and your family enjoy most.
  • Whole wheat or higher-fiber pastas are more appealing when served with flavorful sauces or layered (like in lasagna) with sauce, cheese, vegetables, etc.
  • Whole-wheat pastas seem to lighten in color as they cook.
  • You may eat a little less pasta than you normally would. The whole-wheat and higher- fiber pastas seem to be more satisfying.

See more.

24 Comments

  1. Sue

    I sell some awesome pasta locally. One is Antica Rocca, from a small semolina farmer in Italy where the pasta is estate grown and produced. The semolina farm is organic and it cooks well and remains al dente and the noodles don’t fall apart. It is delish. Also Farro pasta, which is much heavier and has a nutty flavor as compared to whole wheat pasta made in US (most pasta flour comes from Canada). It is high in protein and low in gluten. Very good for you!

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  2. ben

    I always thought that all pastas are made from the harder, higher protein wheat plant variety, durum or macaroni. Which is not the same as the softer variety normally associated with common ‘wheat’.

    They remove the bran and germ of the durum, so it’s no longer ‘whole’, and if the durum’s starchy endosperm wheat berries are coarsely milled, you have Semolina, but if it’s ground up finely, it’s called Durum flour (or Semolina flour)… which either way, since it’s not ‘whole’, its basically like any other enriched white flour.

    But is there such a thing as ‘100% whole semolina’? I thought by definition semolina is not ‘whole’. If that’s the case, why doesn’t anyone sell pasta that is ‘100% whole duram’?? Not sure why it’s always the case that semolina has to listed in the ingredients!

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  3. zay?flama

    i agree with brian, i also prefer whole-wheat pasta to white. after eating whole-wheat pasta for a while, the white version tastes slimy and kind of artificial

    Reply
  4. remember Bhutto

    Quinoa Pilaf” Pronounced { Keen-Wah }

    Quinoa

    Although Quinoa is new to the American market, it was a staple of the ancient Incas, who called it the “mother grain”. Hailed as the “Supergrain of the Future”, quinoa contains more protein than any other grain because it comes closer than any other food to supplying all nutrients to sustain life, and in fact is the fruit of an herb. It can be served like rice, in soups, salads, stuffing’s, main dishes, stews or even in deserts.

    Submitted by Daphna Rachel Ariel ? Kowalczyk

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  5. Jos

    I use Trader Joe’s organic whole wheat rotelle pasta and I love it. I am Italian and have eaten pasta my whole life. So now that I am trying to be healthier and lose some weight, I have been eating this whole wheat pasta and I like it better than regular pasta.

    Reply
  6. Jenny Webster

    I love pasta and has been hard to ween myself off lovely golden barilla pasta but I find it a lot more filling and I hope it is a lot more healthy. Try with Barilla Ricotta sauce.

    Reply
  7. Jan

    Marcie, if you don’t have any hormonal problems, both with female hormones (if you are wondering if you do, google “estrogen dominance” for symptoms) or thyroid, soy is perfectly fine to eat.

    Reply
  8. Marcie

    I cook with soy pasta myself. It has fewer carbs than regular pasta and I think it’s a whole lot better for me. But there’s always that debate about whether we should be eating soy in the first place. (Not that it’s ever given me problems.)

    Reply
  9. Stalean

    If no one has tried the new Dreamfields pasta products, you don’t know what you are missing. This is the best pasta I have eaten in a long time. They make several different varieties including: penne rigate, linguine, elbow macaroni, spaghetti, and lasagna noodles. The pastas have only 5 grams of digestible carbs. I get mine at Kroger grocery store, but I am sure you can get the brand elsewhere.

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  10. Spectra

    I LOVE whole wheat pasta! I buy the penne pasta and eat it with some basic marinara sauce and it’s delicious. It has a bit of fiber in it though, so if you’re not used to the fiber, it may make you visit the restroom the next day 🙂

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  11. Genn

    I have switched to Kamut flour. I find it taste the best, it’s very high in fiber, it’s easy to cook (doesn’t over cook easily) and it reheats very well.

    I don’t know what brand it is but I really enjoy it and so does my family. I buy it in the organic food section in the grocery store.

    Reply
  12. mia

    i agree with brian, i also prefer whole-wheat pasta to white. after eating whole-wheat pasta for a while, the white version tastes slimy and kind of artificial.

    Reply
  13. Patrick

    Being one who has to watch calories and carbs, I gave up pasta all together. I found a product that has been gaining both popularity and availability. It’s called Shirataki. It comes in a bag filled with liquid. Just drain the liquid and rinse off. It comes in two forms. Flat noodles and long thin noodles that look like it came from chicken soup. The whole bag is 40 calories with 2 net carbs. I never thought I’d find something that could fool my taste buds into believing I was eating noodles. I buy mine in the tofu section of a store chain called Publix. Check it out.

    Reply
  14. Nic

    Heather said:
    Good luck during your recovery. I used to suffer from Bulimia too. Pasta was one of my anti-bulimia foods because it was hard for me throw up. Have you found foods like that to help you out? I also found protein rich foods to be much the same– helped stop me from purging.
    And just keeping my common purge foods completely out of my house– reall[…]

    Thanks! It’s going pretty well. I eat a lot of protein foods too- mostly tuna and turkey slices and chicken. That helps a lot.

    Reply
  15. jj

    When I was young, my mom used to use the Trader Joe’s WW spaghetti, it was the only whole grain pasta that was reasonably priced for a single mom. Since then, I’ve tried a lot of the brands. The barilla plus is the only one my husband will eat… so that’s the one I get these days.

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  16. Quito

    Ann wrote:

    The Barilla plus says on the box that it should take longer to cook than normal pasta because of the high protein content … and that has been my experience with it. Have you tried just regular Barilla or the Barilla plus? That might make the difference.

    Aha! Probably the regular Barilla… I”ll try Barilla Plus.

    Mousefinger, your pasta sounds good, both with olive oil and butter ^_^. If you want to keep it simple but want to avoid a cooked red sauce, take sweet cherry tomatoes, dice them small, and marinate with your olive oil (and a touch of basmatic vinegar if you like that). toss with fresh chopped basil.

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  17. Ann

    The Barilla plus says on the box that it should take longer to cook than normal pasta because of the high protein content … and that has been my experience with it. Have you tried just regular Barilla or the Barilla plus? That might make the difference.

    Reply
  18. Quito

    So far, all of the whole grain pasta I’ve tried cooks very rapidly – it’s quite hard for me to cook it to just the “al dente” stage. Has anyone found a pasta that doesn’t cook rapildy? I’ve tried all but the Lifestream brands listed here. I live at sea level.

    Reply
  19. Heather

    Nic said:
    This is useful, thank you! I can’t eat pasta right now because I’m trying to recover from bulimia and it was always one of my “purge foods” and a big trigger, but when I’m ready I think I will try the whole wheat kind. I sort of forgot it existed, somehow. (Cause I’m a dork:P)[…]

    Good luck during your recovery. I used to suffer from Bulimia too. Pasta was one of my anti-bulimia foods because it was hard for me throw up. Have you found foods like that to help you out? I also found protein rich foods to be much the same– helped stop me from purging.
    And just keeping my common purge foods completely out of my house– really not a time you can practice moderation.

    Reply
  20. Nic

    This is useful, thank you! I can’t eat pasta right now because I’m trying to recover from bulimia and it was always one of my “purge foods” and a big trigger, but when I’m ready I think I will try the whole wheat kind. I sort of forgot it existed, somehow. (Cause I’m a dork:P)

    Reply
  21. Mousefinger

    I love whole wheat pasta. I currently buy the Hodgson Mill “Whole Wheat Spirals” product…100% whole wheat Durum Flour is the only ingredient. 6 grams of fiber. Good stuff.

    I’m usually not much of a fan of red sauce (though I do go though food phases), so I usually just crush a load of fresh garlic on my pasta and add Olive Oil to give it that slick clam like appeal. If I’m feeling evil, I’ll use butter instead of Olive Oil.

    Reply
  22. Lose Weight With Me

    I have found that I prefer whole wheat pasta to the regular white flour pasta. I think it tastes better.

    Brian

    Reply
  23. Heather

    I was so happy when I got some of this recently… it does fill you up quicker… and everyone I gave it to who didn’t know what they were getting (preconcieved notions and all) liked it *better*

    Reply
  24. Jan

    I’ve found that people who claim to hate whole-wheat pasta don’t mind whole wheat durum pasta, for some reason.

    I eat regular durum, whole-wheat, whole-wheat durum, rice, and buckwheat. Buckwheat is pretty good and supposedly lower GI too. Barilla has some Quinoa pasta, doesn’t it? I’ve never found that to buy though.

    Reply