Types (Not Shapes) of Pasta
Pasta comes in hundreds of different shapes, and more recently has started to be produced from new ingredients. You might have seen pasta made from things like brown rice or quinoa at your local grocery store. Unless you’re following a gluten-free diet or have a wheat intolerance, you might not have paid any attention to these. But, these ‘alternative pasta’ types are delicious and can be great additions to a healthy diet! In this blog post, we’ll explain what makes these alternative pasta types a good choice.
Whole Wheat Pasta
In general, whole wheat pasta is a healthier option than pasta made from refined wheat flour. Whole wheat pasta contains more protein, fiber, and micronutrients and is usually lower in calories than regular wheat pasta. Whole grains are higher in B vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Even though most refined pasta is enriched with added nutrients, it doesn’t have the same nutritional benefits as whole grain pasta.
Brown Rice Pasta
Brown rice pasta is suitable for gluten-free diets. Like brown rice, brown rice pasta is a good source of fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Brown rice pasta takes longer to cook than wheat pasta, but has a nice, mild flavor.
Chickpeas are a very healthy food! Chickpea pasta is made from chickpea flour, which is usually gluten- and grain-free. This type of pasta is high in protein and fiber. Foods made from chickpeas are good for bowel function, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar control. Chickpea pasta has a hint of chickpea flavor and a texture that is slightly more chewy than that of wheat pasta.
Quinoa is another superfood that can be made into pasta. Quinoa pasta is very high in protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is also a good source of fiber. Quinoa pasta is low on the glycemic index, so eating it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. This pasta has a slightly grainy texture and nutty flavor.
Lentil pasta is another great choice if you’re looking to add more protein and fiber to your diet. Lentils are packed with vitamins, including potassium and iron. This type of pasta is also gluten-free!
Corn pasta isn’t grain-free, but it is gluten-free. Look for pasta that is made from cornmeal rather than corn flour for a more high-fiber option. Corn pasta has a mild flavor and actually tastes like corn!
Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are a popular alternative to wheat noodles. There are actually a bunch of different vegetables (such as beets, butternut squash, and carrots) that can be spiralized to make delicious alternatives to wheat-based pasta. Eating veggie noodles is a great way to add another serving of vegetables to your diet. They are also low in carbohydrates and a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Which One Is Healthiest?
Which of these alternative types of pasta is best for you depends on your own taste preferences and nutritional needs. If you want to add more protein and/or fiber to your diet, choose chickpea, quinoa, or lentil pasta. Corn and brown rice pasta are also good gluten-free options. For a low-calorie option, choose veggie noodles. There are also several pasta blends you can try made from combinations of ingredients like quinoa and corn, and brown rice and quinoa!
Pasta can be a good part of a healthy diet! Learn more healthy diet tips by checking out our other posts!