I can’t resist a heaping plate of noodles — carbonara, Bolognese, spicy ramen, you name it — but I know it’s not something to base an entire diet around. Packed with carbs and processed sugars, but low in protein and iron, pasta is not healthy. I wanted to find a tasty alternative I could actually feel good about eating — and to my surprise, it’s easier said than done. Zoodles might be the obvious choice, but the texture and taste is a far cry from the carby goodness I know and love. Plus, who has the time and ambition to spiralize a zucchini? Whole-wheat pasta is a step in the right direction, but it’s made entirely of flour, so you should still eat it in moderation.
I spent the last four months buying and trying every plant-based pasta I could find on Amazon. After tasting them all, the four below proved to be just as good — if not better — than the real deal.
The spaghetti that started it all. Compared to traditional pasta, each two-ounce serving has 357 percent more protein, 550 percent more fiber, three times the iron, and half the carbs. Explore Cuisine makes pasta out of adzuki beans, brown rice, and mung beans, but its edamame spaghetti is my favorite — especially when topped in olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and minced garlic.
Hesitant to try plant-based pasta? I don’t blame you. However, I found that red-lentil penne tastes the most like traditional pasta on its own — but with twice the protein. For a quick and easy meal, coat Ancient Harvest Pow!’s rotelle in marinara sauce.
I know what you’re thinking: Black beans are great on the side of a chicken enchilada, but an entire plate of them? Make no mistake, this pasta tastes a lot like black beans, but it’s a great base to a hearty meat sauce. This one from Tolerant Foods has 22 grams of protein and 62 percent of your daily fiber per three-ounce serving.
Chickpeas can help you control your blood sugar, improve your digestion system, and lose weight. So if you’re going to eat chickpeas, why not have them in pasta form? A box of Banza’s macaroni and cheese has twice the protein, eight times the fiber, and fewer net carbs.
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