For the past several years, popular dieting trends have placed carbohydrates on a hit list, and pasta, in all its magical forms; angel hair, farfalle, penne, and fettuccine are going to be the first to be ‘offed’. The key however isn’t getting rid of carbohydrates, but finding healthy alternatives. With increasing evidence showing the negative effects of refined carbohydrates on health, new and improved, healthier pasta options are being created to satisfy your pasta cravings.
No matter what your goals may be; weight loss, getting stronger, or just living a healthy life, replacing conventional white-flour pasta with a healthier alternative will help you reach your goals and stay on track. Plus you get to try new things, which is always fun. However, if pasta is an occasional food for you, then having a bowl of fettuccine alfredo at your favorite Italian date spot, isn’t going to ruin your diet. On the flip side, if pasta is a staple food for you, then go for one of the healthy alternatives below.
6 Healthy Pasta Alternatives
Brown Rice Pasta
Brown rice pasta is made from, yup you guessed it, brown rice. Brown rice pasta is a complex carbohydrate and complex carbohydrates digest much slower than refined or simple carbohydrates (white-flour pasta) which also helps keep you fuller for longer. Although not as decadent as conventional pasta, brown rice pasta is a great healthy pasta alternative. A great benefit of complex carbohydrates and brown rice pasta, is the added fiber. Technically, fiber is still considered a sugar, however the difference is that fiber doesn’t spike blood glucose levels, so you don’t create excess body fat, by secreting insulin. Plus, it’s pretty good. But let’s be honest, you can’t really go wrong with some garlic, mushrooms, tomato sauce and meatballs.
What's the best brand of Quinoa Pasta? Jovial. Jovial delivers 100% organic, gluten-free, delightfulness for dinner.
1 serving (57 g) of Brown Rice Pasta contains
- Calories 216
- Total Fat 1.8 g
- Carbohydrates 45 g
- Dietary Fiber 3.5 g
- Protein 5 g
Calling all pasta lovers, your prayers to the pasta-gods have finally come true, because they’ve blessed us with a decadent macro-packed healthy pasta alternative, Chickpea Pasta! Chickpea pasta is a guilt-free way to satisfy your pasta cravings AND hit your macros all in the same serving. Protein packed and loaded with fiber, chickpea pasta has 25 g of protein, 13 grams of fiber and 42 grams of carbohydrates. That’s TWICE the amount of protein and four times the amount of fiber, that’s found in regular pasta. Not to mention, it has fewer carbs. Impressive is an understatement.
So what’s the best chickpea pasta brand? Banza. In their words, ‘join the pasta revolution.’ In my words, ‘I already have!’ Check out their recipe page, for some of the most decadent and delicious pasta recipes you could imagine. Make some of your own Instagram worthy pasta sensations.
Another great option and brand is KNOW foods
1 serving (57 g) of Chickpea Pasta contains
- Calories 191
- Total Fat 3.5 g
- Carbohydrates 32 g
- Dietary Fiber 8 g
- Protein 14 g
Black Bean Pasta
It turns out, that black beans are extremely versatile. You can add them to the dessert menu and have a delicious black bean brownie. Or throw them between some buns and have a black bean burger. But how do you feel about black beans as pasta? Although the idea of black bean pasta is great since it’s packing some series heat with 14 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber per serving, it wouldn’t be my first choice. Regardless of cook time, it can be mushy and gooey, which for you al dente fans would not be the most viable option. But, they would make a great summer pasta salad! All in all, black bean pasta is super healthy alternative to normal pasta and it can be a nice way to switch things up every now and again.
What’s the best brand of Black Bean Pasta? Trader Joes
1 Serving (57 g) of Black Bean Pasta contains
- Calories 200
- Total Fat 1.5 g
- Carbohydrates 35 g
- Dietary Fiber 15 g
- Protein 14 g
Don’t be fooled by this beautiful opulent green monster. Most spinach pasta is not 100% spinach and it's usually mixed with whole-wheat flour, with added spinach and spinach powder. While there’s nothing wrong with a little dazzling green pasta added to the mix, nutritionally, spinach pasta is not nearly as nutrient-rich as other healthy pasta alternatives. Nonetheless, spinach pasta is a great veggie based pasta choice. That being said, throwing some dazzling green seductress in a bowl can definitely score some classy points on date night. Spinach pasta is a great healthy pasta high protein option, with almost double the amount of its contemporaries.
What’s the best spinach pasta brand? Al Dente Pasta Co
1 Serving (56 g) of Spinach Pasta contains
- Calories 160
- Total Fat 1 g
- Carbohydrates 36 g
- Dietary Fiber 5 g
- Protein 13 g
The traditional alternative to refined pasta has conventionally been whole wheat. Whole grains are left whole, hence the name, 'whole' wheat. Whole wheat pasta is rich in nutrients such as B Vitamins and minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, and selenium. The refining or milling process strips whole grains of their bran and wheat germ which devalues the nutriment. As a complex carbohydrate whole-wheat pasta is digested slower than traditional pasta and provides longer lasting energy, which can help with weight-loss. Look for products that are 100% whole wheat, stoneground whole wheat, or that use wheat-flour to ensure the pasta you buy is a whole-grain.
Looking for the best Whole-Wheat Pasta? Jovial once again. They offer some of the best healthy pasta options out there.
1 Serving (57 g) of Whole-Wheat Pasta contains
- Calories 210
- Total Fat 2 g
- Carbohydrates 41 g
- Dietary Fiber 0 g
- Protein 7 g
Quinoa pasta is a great pasta alternative because it actually tastes like pasta. Quinoa is technically a grain or psuedograin and has been harvested for thousands of years in South America. In recent years, Quinoa has been touted as a ‘superfood’ due to its impressive nutritional content. Packed with more vitamins and nutrients than most grains, Quinoa pasta could be the healthy heavy hitter you’re looking for when it comes to micronutrients. Quinoa is also one of the few plant proteins that is considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. In terms of
What’s the best brand of Quinoa Pasta? Trader Joe’s offers a great organic Fusilli Quinoa Pasta
1 Serving (56 g) of Quinoa Pasta contains
- Calories 200
- Total Fat 1.5 g
- Carbohydrates 43 g
- Dietary Fiber 2 g
- Protein 5 g
Between chickpea, black bean, whole-wheat, spinach, quinoa, and brown rice pasta, you've got some pretty delicious healthy pasta options to choose from. Traditional white-pasta is stripped of its bran and germ, which also removes essential nutrients such as fiber and protein. Refined carbohydrate will spike your blood sugar, which will make your insulin skyrocket sending you on a rollercoaster of hangriness, cravings, and unwanted weight gain. Next time you're strolling down the pasta aisle, check out some new healthy pasta options, you might just find a new favorite.