What is it about pasta that makes it so delectable?
Two simple ingredients (wheat and water) evoke romance like no other food. Velvety smooth, firm, yet soft—a texture so special we have to use another language (“al dente”) to describe it.
Of all Italy’s masterpieces—the Colosseum, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the ruins of Pompeii—the delight of our hearts will forever be pasta.
When Dr. Atkins—a founding leader of the low-carb diet—said the dreadful words, “eat absolutely no pasta,” America mourned. Then, in true American fashion, we rebelled and got inventive.
Today, the rebellion is in full force, with healthy, protein-packed pasta options (ranked below) lining grocery shelves.
News flash Dr. Atkins, we will have our beloved pasta and lose weight too!
299 cal, 14.5 g protein, 40g total carbs, 2.5g fiber
Homemade pasta is one of the easiest foods to make from scratch.
When you make your own pasta (this recipe makes 6 servings), you can be choosy with your ingredients. The only ones you need are flour, salt, eggs, and olive oil. Boost the nutrition with semolina flour (made from ground durum wheat, which is rich in protein, fiber, and B vitamins). Then whisk in pasture-raised eggs and extra virgin olive oil (the nutritional info above matches these ingredients).
Looking for a quick fix? Barilla’s Protein+ Pasta also has a higher fiber and protein count than traditional white or whole wheat boxed pasta.
200 cal, 7g protein, 39g total carbs, 2g fiber
These delicate buckwheat strands are one of Japan’s most popular foods. This brand of soba noodles is made entirely with buckwheat, a gluten-free, high-fiber whole grain.
Buckwheat is linked to improved heart health, balanced blood sugar, lower inflammation, and cancer prevention. In comparison, the nutritional value of 100% buckwheat noodles is very similar to 100% whole-wheat spaghetti.
That said, the protein found in buckwheat is a kind that our bodies can use more effectively. Plus, for those who avoid gluten, soba noodles are a great choice.
174 cal, 27.5g protein, 15.9g total carbs, 6.8g fiber
Introducing fitness fettuccine. Pasta Young is made in the motherland with only four ingredients (isolated soy protein, semolina flour, gluten, and wheat fiber).
Its macros are mind-blowing. The only reason why this pasta isn’t higher on my list is because its ingredients aren’t full of whole foods like the other brands.
Isolated soy protein, for example, isn’t a whole food. That said, isolated soy protein is easier on your digestive system. In this form, it is stripped of most of the indigestible carbohydrates and fibers found in whole soybeans. Give it a try and see how your tummy responds.
Pasta Young’s texture is very close to traditional boxed pasta. Because of the high protein content (27.5 grams per serving!), this brand will fill you up fast.
190 cal, 11g protein, 35g total carbs, 5g fiber
You’ve seen this brand in the grocery store. Made from chickpea flour and pea protein, Banza pasta is high in protein and fiber and rich in iron and calcium.
A study from 2016 found that people who regularly eat chickpeas or hummus have a lower BMI and waist circumference and are 53 percent less likely to be obese. Plus, one cup of this stuff (cooked) contains 15 grams of protein. You’ll also hit 45 grams of carbs (but this kind of carb is complex compared with the simple carbs in white pasta).
While the texture of Banza pasta is better than other bean and legume pastas, the flavor does resemble garbanzos more than flour. Pair it with pesto to compliment this pasta’s nutty flavor.
160 cal, 14g protein, 29g total carbs, 12g fiber
Lupini beans are native to the Mediterranean and have become a popular bar snack at restaurants up and down the Italian coast. With 26 grams of protein per cup, it’s among the highest protein foods that grow on our planet, other than soybean.
This pasta is keto-friendly, grain-free, gluten-free, and vegan! It offers a satisfying chewy and sticky texture (much like whole wheat pasta). For the perfect plate, serve with marinated chicken, lemon, olive oil, and fresh parsley.
210 cal, 15g protein, 36g total carbs, 6g fiber
Lentils are rich in soluble fiber—the single best carbohydrate to help you burn belly fat. Soluble fiber forms a thick gel when it binds with water in your body. This gel then slows digestion down, keeping you feeling full and satisfied for a longer time.
Satiating protein and fiber combine in this pulse-based pasta. This thick and sturdy spaghetti pairs well with a rich and flavorful sauce. Tolerant Simply Legumes Green Lentil Pasta is another amazing brand that brings the big benefits of lentils to our pasta shelves.
200 cal, 24g protein, 21 total carbs, 12g fiber
Soybeans may seem like a humble food, but these little pockets of power are full of potassium and rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
Even in pasta form, soybeans are full of nutrients that are great for your heart, gut, blood sugar, and immune system. Fiber-rich soybeans can help curb your appetite and stay full for longer.
All the options from Seapoint Farms wowed me–they’re my go-to for family pasta night. Organic, vegan, low-carb, and gluten free, this pasta fits all diets! Each variety is flavorful, filling, and full of protein.
Pasta is one of my four core dinners. Don’t know what the core four is? This concept will cut your meal plan and prep time in half! Learn how I meal plan for me and my family in my Healthy Meals Made Easy E-Book without the stress and overwhelm, all while hitting all my health and protein goals.
Now that pasta’s back on the menu, try one of my go-to nutritious pasta recipes.