Everybody loves pasta . It’s one of those universally comforting, simple meals that’s the perfect vehicle for delicious sauces and pestos , roasted veggies, and your favorite protein. But, there’s plenty not to love, too. Namely the megadose of refined carbs and relative lack of meaningful vitamins, minerals, protein, or fiber. In fact, there are 43 grams of carbs in your average 2-ounce serving of pasta—and really, who sticks to just 2 ounces? This, in turn, can set you up for imbalanced blood sugar and cravings, which you probably know if you’ve ever eaten a giant bowl of noodles only to be hungry an hour or two later.
The good news: In the past few years, brands have really upped their healthy pasta game—and we’re not just talking about gluten-free and whole-wheat varieties. We’re talking about totally grain-free spaghetti, rigatoni, and penne made with nutrient-packed ingredients like legumes and almond flour that are legitimately high in protein and fiber . Meaning: pastas that are suitable for eating as part of your regular dinner rotation—not just special occasions. And most of the time, after you add your sauces and toppings, they taste just like the real thing.
Here, check out six of the very best grain-free pastas (that are also gluten-free) on the market.
Banza is the OG of grain-free pastas, and my personal favorite. I keep a box of this stuff in my pantry at all times for that inevitable night of the week when I need something fast . Made mainly with chickpeas (plus a bit of tapioca and pea protein), this pasta is available as spaghetti, penne, shells, rotini, and more. Plus, they have mac-and-cheese mixes ! A 2-ounce serving of Banza contains 14 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber (30 percent of your daily value). Bonus: Banza is now available at many grocery stores around the country.
Love the taste and texture of that fresh pasta from your favorite local Italian joint? Cappello’s Fettuccine comes pretty damn close. Made from a combination of egg yolks, almond flour, tapioca, and a bit of sea salt, these rich and buttery noodles (which you’ll find in the refrigerated section) are perfect when paired with lighter toppings like roasted vegetables and a sprinkling of cheese. Free of all grains and legumes, it’s a perfect option if you’re on a paleo diet . A 3-ounce serving contains 9 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, and it cooks up in just 90 seconds!
Similar in flavor, texture, and nutrient content to chickpea-based pastas, Tolerant ‘s green lentil pasta is loaded with 21 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber (36 percent of your daily value) in a 3-ounce serving. It also packs in 30 percent of your daily value for iron , which can be notoriously hard to get enough of on a plant-based diet . Unlike some other lentil pastas, which may contain grain-based ingredients like rice flour, Tolerant sets itself apart by containing just one ingredient: organic green lentil flour.
Another one-ingredient wonder is Explore Cuisine Edamame Spaghetti , featuring organic edamame (or green soybeans). And because it’s made of soy, it’s also the only pasta on this list that can be considered a complete protein (containing all nine essential amino acids), which is great if you’re vegan . Its texture is similar to regular pasta, and it has a subtle edamame flavor, making it great for Asian-inspired noodle dishes. A 2-ounce serving contains a whopping 25 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber.
Thanks in part to the popularity of ultra-low-carb keto diets , shirataki noodles (sometimes called "miracle noodles" or "wonder noodles") are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Made from konjac flour, a starch derived from konjac root, they contain just 10 calories and 3 grams of carbs per 3.5-ounce serving. This Shirataki Spinach Fettuccine from Thrive Market also contains spinach powder for a dose of antioxidants and fun color. Be warned, they’re texture is a bit slippery and far from a traditional pasta. We recommend adding them to soups, topping them with stir-fried meat and veggies, or incorporating into salads.
Made from kelp and sodium alginate (a substance extracted from brown seaweed), kelp noodles are similar in taste and texture to shirataki noodles. They’re also a super low-carb, low-cal option that’s perfect for keto dieters. Because kelp is mineral-rich, these noodles provide a nice dose of bone-building calcium and about a third of your recommended daily intake of iodine , which is important for proper thyroid function . Use these grain-free noodles as you would shirataki noodles.
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