5 “Pastas” This Nutritionist Recommends Over and Over Again

updated Oct 12, 2020
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Is there anything better than a big bowl of pasta? I sure don’t think so — and I’m a registered dietitian. Pasta is quick, easy, comforting, versatile, and always, always, always there when you need it most (i.e., right now). There’s just one catch: I usually vote for those new high-protein, legume-based options instead of the traditional flour-based stuff. Shocking, I know.

Legume-based pastas are loaded with carbohydrates, protein, and fiber all in one. Add a veggie and a sauce and you have a complete and balanced dinner that’s ready in less than 20 minutes! Legume-based pastas are also a fantastic way for those with intolerances to get their pasta fix, because they’re naturally gluten- and grain-free. They also don’t taste too far off from the real deal. Additionally, they’re a budget-friendly source of protein. Need I say more?

Here are five different legume-based pastas that I find myself recommending to clients and adding to my own grocery list time and time again.

Credit: Banza

1. Chickpea Pasta 

Chickpea pasta is closest in color and flavor to white pasta; when mixed with a sauce and veggies, you’ll barely even be able to notice the swap. With 13 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber in a 2-ounce serving, chickpea pasta will fill you up (and keep you feeling full). In addition to protein and fiber, chickpeas are also an excellent plant-based source of iron and magnesium. My go-to way to eat chickpea pasta is tossed with pesto, roasted tomatoes, and lots of Parmesan cheese. 

Brands to Look For

Credit: Walmart

2. Red Lentil Pasta 

Red lentil pasta is bright red with a hearty, slightly nutty flavor. Made with red lentil flour alone, this pasta is an excellent source of plant-based protein and belly-filling fiber. I recommend pairing this with sweet and savory coconut curry sauce or a vegetarian mushroom Bolognese.

Brands to Look For

Credit: Walmart

3. Green Lentil Pasta 

Similar in texture and flavor to red lentil pasta, green lentil pasta is nutty, chewy, and pleasantly al dente. Green lentil pasta contains about double the amount of protein as white pasta, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking for an extra protein boost. 

Brands to Look For

Credit: Walmart

4. Edamame and Mung Bean Pasta

To make this “fettuccine,” both edamame and mung beans are ground into flour and turned into protein-packed pasta. With a whopping 14 grams of fiber per serving, mung bean and edamame pasta is lower in carbohydrates compared to other legume pastas. Mung bean and edamame pasta is rather mild and slightly sweet in flavor, which is why I like to pair it with basil pesto or creamy butternut squash sauce.  

Brand to Look For

Credit: Thrive Market

5. Black Bean Pasta 

Like its other legume-based peers, black bean pasta is packed with protein and fiber, and lower in carbs than white pasta. It also contains 10 percent of our daily calcium requirements and 30 percent of daily iron requirements. Its texture is a bit chewier than traditional pasta and cooks quickly, in just 4 to 5 minutes. Be sure to watch the clock closely so it doesn’t turn to mush.

Brands to Look For

Have you tried any of these legume-based pastas?