If you've scanned your grocery store lately, you may have realized that pasta isn't just pasta anymore. The aisles are full of boxes made with flour alternatives —everything from quinoa to lentils. It's suddenly a confusing choice to pick out your spaghetti for dinner.
But we see all these options as opportunities. We rounded up 10 alternative pastas, from easy-to-source to quirky, so you can find the one that's best for you.
1. Trader Joe's Black Bean Rotini, $2.99 for a 12-ounce bag
Don't let the inky black color of this pasta scare you! This one is made from 100% black beans, which makes it full of protein and fiber (14 and 15 grams, respectively) but also a uniquely earthy flavor. It's especially fun to use this in something Southwestern-slanted.
2. Pow Green and Red Lentil Pasta, $28 for six 8-ounce boxes
These colorful gluten-free pastas look a bit like they fell out of those boxes of tri-color pasta that's so often used to make pasta salad, but instead of vegetables like spinach and tomatoes providing color, the hue comes from green and red lentils.
The legume is ground into a flour and combined with quinoa flour — together they lend a whopping 25 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber to each serving. The flavor is earthy and rich, which pairs well with a roasted vegetable sauce.
3. Cappello Almond Flour Pasta, $130 for six 9-ounce boxes
This well-packaged pasta happens to be both gluten-free and grain-free, as it's made with almond flour. There are eggs added to the dough, which lends a bit of rich texture to the pasta, and the almond flour gives it a delicate nuttiness that pairs particularly well with pesto.
4. Banza Chickpea Pasta, $22 for six 8-ounce boxes
Lisa, our lifestyle editor, has already sung the praises of this alt pasta. It's made completely from chickpea flour, so it's gluten- and grain-free. And like the lentil pasta, a serving contains 25 grams of protein as well as 13 grams of fiber. It cooks up al dente, with a pleasant, mild flavor — try it with Alfredo sauce.
One thing to note, however, is that this pasta contains more sugar than most — 9 grams in a serving, while the same amount of regular pasta contains under 2 grams — so it's best to watch your portion size.
5. Ancient Harvest Super Grain Pasta, $40 for twelve 8-ounce boxes
A mix of quinoa and corn flour makes this gluten-free pasta light in texture and flavor. It comes in a wide array of shapes, including penne, spaghetti, and shells. These would work well as comforting buttered noodles.
6. Garrofallo Gluten-Free Pasta, $23 for six 16-ounce bags
Garrofallo is a tried-and-true Italian brand of pasta that you can trust. Their gluten-free line is a mix of corn, quinoa, and rice and comes in a nice mix of classic shapes. It's scarily close to regular pasta in taste and appearance, which means you should try pairing it with Bolognese sauce.
7. Le Veneziane Corn Pasta, $15 for four 8.8-ounce bags
This gluten-free, 100% corn pasta has a pleasant yellow hue and happens to hail straight from Italy. It's got a light, delicate flavor that's just faintly sweet from the corn, so it's of course the perfect choice for a pasta that's filled with corn kernels.
8. Monograno Felicetti Kamut Pasta, $8 for a 17.6-ounce box
This Italian pasta is the only one on the list that's technically not gluten-free, but Kamut is an ancient strain of wheat that contains a different kind of gluten that is found in modern varieties of wheat. Some individuals who are mildly sensitive to regular wheat — not those with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerances — might be able to tolerate it better than traditional pasta.
It's the closest you get to pasta that tastes like pasta, if you can tolerate it. Pair it with a full-flavored sauce like puttanesca.
9. Jovial Brown Rice Pasta, $15 for three 12-ounce boxes
Made with 100% brown rice flour, this gluten-free pasta has a mildly nutty flavor that tastes wholesome yet works with most sauces. Try it with a sausage and green veggie-spiked dish.
10. Barilla Gluten Free Pasta, $16 for eight 12-ounce boxes
This is the workhorse gluten-free pasta — easy to find and easy to work with. It's made to mimic your good ol' blue box of traditional Barilla pasta and is a mix of corn and rice flour. It will definitely work with your favorite marinara sauce, whether it's homemade or store-bought.