6 Must-Try Noodle Alternatives for Pasta Fanatics

All pastas are not created equal.

The average, run-of-the-mill pasta you likely enjoyed as a child is typically made of semolina (wheat) and durum flour (wheat), with some added vitamins and mineral for good measure. A typical serving of this OG pasta contains about 200 calories, one gram of fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates, two grams of fiber and seven grams of protein.

These days the supermarket shelves are flooded with all types of pastas (veggie, rice, quinoa, bean, etc.) with all sorts of nutritional claims, from calorie-free or highfiber to highprotein or gluten-free. We sorted through the clutter to find the best of the best when it comes to nutritional bang for your buck and taste.

Here’s the lowdown on our nine favorite pastas available on the market.

Pro Tip for Pasta Portions

If you’ve ever read the nutrition facts panel on a package of pasta, understanding what a portion means can be kind of tricky. Typical portions are listed in grams and that’s for dry pasta; translating that to cooked pasta in cup portions can be confusing. A typical serving size of two ounces can range from two-thirds to about one cup of cooked pasta depending on the shape. For instance, two ounces of dry tortellini equals one-half cup, which cooks up to one cup. Meanwhile, a two-ounce serving of dry ziti is two-thirds of a cup, but it’s one and one-quarter cup cooked.

1. Zero Calorie, Zero Carbs: Shirataki Noodles

No calories, no soy, no net carbs and no fat: Shirataki noodles sound too good to be true. And depending on your palate, this might be the case. “Made from only two ingredients — soluble fiber and water — these noodles really are calorie-free, making them a great option for those looking to lose weight,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., RD. You can find shirataki noodles under the brands NoOodle, Miracle Noodle and House Brands’ Tofu Shirataki and Smart Noodle, which contain 20 calories per serving. Fair warning — they are super-low in calories and, well, everything else, but they’re probably not for everyone. The noodles have a slight fishy smell when the packaged is first opened. After rinsing thoroughly, boiling and then heating in a pan as instructed, the texture cannot be mistaken for regular pasta. But, if low-calorie, low-carb is your goal, these are worth a try.

2. Gluten Free, High Fiber: Tolerant Organic Bean Pasta

Pulses, or beans, are having a well-deserved moment, thanks to their naturally high fiber and filling protein content. Tolerant took non-GMO black beans and red lentils and created three legume-based pastas: penne, rotini and mini-fettuccini. They’re a great gluten-free pasta alternative that isn’t made of brown rice. While the texture of these can be a little chewier than regular pasta, they have a delicious, “earthy” taste. A two-ounce serving provides about 212 calories, 10 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein.

3. Gluten Free, High Protein: Explore Asian Bean and Soy Pasta

Another organic bean-based pasta, Explore Asian has created a variety of options, including adzuki bean spaghetti, soybean spaghetti, edamame and mung bean fettuccini, edamame spaghetti and black bean spaghetti. Although it varies slightly based on the type of bean used in the pasta, the fiber and protein content is off the charts. A two-ounce serving has 180 to 207 calories, 10 to 15 grams of fiber and 20 to 25 grams of protein. Like the Tolerant pastas, they don’t have quite the same taste or texture of pasta, but they’re still delicious.

4. High Fiber, Added Vitamins and Minerals: Ronzoni Smart Taste

Here’s another pasta option bulked up with fiber that still tastes like pasta. “This option is healthy as well as perfect for kids because it tastes just like regular pasta yet has 2.5 times the amount of fiber. Smart Taste is also a great source of important nutrients like vitamin D and calcium,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., RD. Most Americans come up short when it comes to getting enough fiber, and many are deficient in vitamin D too. A two-ounce serving has 180 calories, five grams of fiber and six grams of protein.

5. High Fiber: Barilla White Fiber

Fiber is a game-changer when it comes to feeling full. “Barilla White Fiber offers three times the amount of fiber compared to regular pasta, but looks and tastes like regular pasta, making it a kid- and family-friendly option,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., RD, author and founder of F-Factor Nutrition, a private nutrition counseling practice in Manhattan. “A two-ounce cup serving has 180 calories, a whopping six grams of fiber (24 percent of the Daily Value) and six grams of protein. Because the calories can still add up quickly, try this pasta as a side dish with lots of fresh vegetables and grilled chicken or fish,” recommends Zuckerbrot

6. Low Calorie, High Protein: Ronzoni 150

The Ronzoni 150 line does it all. It is 25 percent lower in calories, and a two-ounce serving has 13 grams of protein and seven grams of fiber. The best part is that it still tastes like pasta and has the great texture you’d expect. The only downside (if we had to include one) is that it only comes in three shapes: thin spaghetti, penne and rotini. To keep the calories in check with any pasta meal, load up the dish with veggies and lean proteins, and use a tomato-based sauce instead of sauces that include cream.