Quinoa is the seed of a grass-like plant found in the Andes Mountains of South America. It is not technically a grain, but it is often referred to as a whole grain because it is nutritionally similar. It resembles couscous in size and shape but is ground into flour to make gluten-free pasta (often made with a blend of quinoa and corn flours). It’s superior to traditional white flour pasta in amounts of protein, iron and phosphorous and is considered a complete protein, which is important to vegetarians.
Spelt is a close relative of wheat but yields noodles with a deeper flavor. It combines well with olives, feta cheese and tomatoes for a Mediterranean-inspired dish. This niacin-rich ancient grain can help with heart health by lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Pasta made from stone ground corn is yet another whole grain, gluten-free option when it comes to choosing noodles. It can range from white to yellow in color, depending on the type of corn used. This type of pasta can be a bit mushy, so it’s best to avoid using it in soups. Try combining it with spinach, peppers, or sun-dried tomatoes.
Use the table below to help you decide which types of whole-grain noodles will be best for you and your nutritional goals. Each brand and variety will have a different flavor, so you might want to experiment with a range of new-to-you whole grains.
Each of these values represents a single 2 oz serving of dry pasta (about 1 cup cooked). The fat content in all varieties is less than 1 gram per serving!
*Please note that foods that are naturally gluten-free can be contaminated during the manufacturing process. Always read labels and look for certified gluten-free products if gluten intolerance is an issue for you.
This article has been reviewed for accuracy and approved by licensed and registered dietitian, Becky Hand.