Healthier Bowl of Pasta (cont.)

And how does it taste? This pasta is similar indeed to regular pasta -- even passable to most kids, I suspect.

Comparing the Healthier Pastas

Most of the whole-wheat pastas I found featured whole durum wheat flour, which is the same as saying "whole semolina flour." Apparently, "semolina" is another word for "coarsely ground durum wheat." You'll probably only come across this type of wheat when reading pasta labels. Durum wheat is thought to be the best wheat for pasta-making, thanks to its higher protein and gluten content (gluten is a type of protein in wheat that helps give baked products structure).

I'm not going to lie to you: The 100% whole-wheat pastas may take some getting used to. I actually didn't mind that they were browner and heartier, especially when they were part of a fab recipe that included several other ingredients.

Which healthier pasta is highest in fiber or protein, and which brands boost your plant omega-3s as a bonus? Here's a table to help you compare (fiber, protein and fat are measured in grams).

Pasta (2 oz. dry) Calories Fiber Protein Fat Bonus?
Barilla Plus Spaghetti 210 4g 10g 2g 0.2 g plant omega-3
Westbrae Natural Organic Whole Wheat Lasagna 210 6g 8g 1.5g  
Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini 208 8g 9g 3.5g 0.7 g plant omega-3
Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Rotelle Pasta 210 5g 8g 1.5g  

More About Healthier Pasta Brands

Here are more details about these whole-grain or higher-fiber pastas:

  • Barilla Plus Penne: While this enriched multigrain pasta isn't 100% whole wheat, it contains a grain and legume flour blend, along with semolina. This blend generally includes lentils, chickpeas, oats, spelt, barley, egg whites, ground flaxseed and wheat or oat fiber. What this means is that the pasta is high in protein (from the legume flour and the egg whites,) contains some plant omega-3s (from the ground flaxseed,) and will boost your fiber significantly (thanks to the legumes, whole grains, ground flaxseed.) Cooking time for the penne variety is 11-12 minutes.