3 High-Protein Gluten-Free Pastas You Should Try!

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High-protein pasta is the new thing! Made from legumes like chickpeas and lentils, these gluten-free pastas have 2-3 times the amount of protein and fiber as traditional pasta. We think they're worth a try!

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Photography Credit: Andy Christensen

Have you heard about high-protein pasta? It’s a thing, and you (or your kids!) may love it.

Last month the Simply Recipes team tasted three popular legume-based pastas for our gluten-free pasta Pantry Power series. A few of us loved them, others did not, but we were all impressed by the nutritional content of these bean-based pastas: two to three times as much protein and up to four times the amount of fiber over traditional wheat and gluten-free pastas – not to mention a ton of vitamins!

Here’s what you should know about high-protein bean pastas, and whether or not you may want to try them out for you or your family!

Legume-based gluten-free spaghetti pasta

From top to bottom: Explore Edamame Spaghetti, POW Green Lentil Spaghetti, and Banza Chickpea Spaghetti

The Ingredients in High-Protein Pasta

Traditional pasta is made from durum semolina wheat and most gluten-free pastas are made from corn or brown rice. But high-protein pasta – which also happens to be gluten-free! – is made from beans or legumes. The spaghettis we tested from Banza, POW!, and Explore are made from chickpeas, green lentils, and edamame, respectively.

As a result, each of these had more protein and fiber than our favorite gluten-free pasta. Here’s a quick look at how these bean-based pastas compare to traditional wheat and gluten-free pastas:

Per 2-ounce serving:

  • 365 Everyday Wheat Spaghetti: 7 grams protein, 2 grams fiber
  • Bionaturae Gluten-Free Spaghetti5 grams protein, 1 gram fiber
  • Banza Chickpea Spaghetti: 13 grams protein, 5 grams fiber
  • POW! Green Lentil Spaghetti: 14 grams protein, 7 grams fiber 
  • Explore Edamame Spaghetti: 24 grams protein, 13 grams fiber

The bean pastas also had higher levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium than their wheat-and-corn-based counterparts.

Not bad at all! If you want to get more protein and fiber into your diet or your family’s diet, this is one way to do it.

Pow green lentil gluten-free pasta spaghetti

How Do They Taste?

More protein and fiber is great and all, but how do these bean-based pastas actually taste?

The first thing to note about high-protein legume pastas is that you probably won’t fool anyone into thinking it’s just plain ol’ pasta, or even a more traditional-tasting gluten-free pasta. The texture is a bit chewier with a slightly earthier, more legume-y taste. (Which is not necessarily a bad thing! A few of us quite like the mild chickpea flavor of Banza’s pasta.)

The key here is managing expectations: If you or your kids are fans of beans or lentils in general and don’t mind some of that flavor in your pasta, and if you’re ok with a bit more chew, then you could probably swap out your traditional pasta for one of these without much fuss.

You’ll never know until you try!

Banza chickpea gluten-free pasta spaghetti

3 High-Protein Gluten-Free Bean Pasta Brands to Try

Here are a few popular high-protein legume pasta brands we think are worth trying:

BANZA

Three of us named Banza our favorite gluten-free bean-based pasta! Made from chickpeas, it had the mildest, most pleasing flavor of all the legume-based pastas we tried. Try out a variety pack with shells, penne, elbow, and rotini pasta, or feed your kids some of Banza’s high-protein mac & cheese!

Banza sells almost any pasta shape you could want, including ziti, cavatappi, rigatoni, casarecce, gemelli, lasagne, and angel hair.

POW!

POW! protein pastas from Ancient Harvest are made from red lentils, green lentils, and chickpeas. Overall, POW! pastas have a stronger legume flavor than Banza. We found POW!’s green lentil spaghetti to be a tad bitter on its own, but it had a nice, soft noodle and the bitterness wasn’t detectable once we added a red sauce.

Like Banza, POW! offers a variety of pasta shapes, too! Try their green lentil penne, chickpea elbows, red lentil rotini, or their quinoa and lentil mac & cheese.

EXPLORE

Explore’s high-protein pastas are made from edamame, black beans, mung beans, chickpeas, and green and red lentils. Like the others, the bean varies according to the type of pasta you buy. We found their edamame spaghetti to be more akin to a soba or rice noodle than a spaghetti noodle, and a better fit for salad or soup rather than sauce.

At 12 grams of protein per serving, the protein content of Expore’s chickpea and lentil pastas is on par with Banza and POW!, but their edamame spaghetti has 24 grams of protein per serving – double that of all the other legume-based pastas! If protein is your pasta priority, then Explore’s edamame pasta is the way to go.

Have you tried any of these high-protein pastas? Which ones are your favorite? Have any others you’d recommend? Do tell!

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Cambria Bold

Cambria Bold is the Product and Lifestyle Director for Simply Recipes. She has almost a decade's worth of online editorial experience and know-how, first as the Managing Editor for Apartment Therapy's green living site Re-Nest (RIP) and later as the Design and Lifestyle Editor for Kitchn. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and their two little girls. And, yes, this is her real name.

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2 Comments

No Image3 High-Protein Gluten-Free Pastas You Should Try!

  1. Michele

    Our family has tried the Banza and POW products. The chick pea versions are not our favorites as they seem to have a grainy texture and taste. Our favorite is the POW red lentil rotini as it seems to hold its shape and texture better than chick pea versions. We had a particular “epic fail” with the green lentil penne…it literally fell apart even though we followed the cooking directions and used the lowest cooking time recommended.
    All said, the POW red lentil rotini is now a staple in our home for pasta alternatives (and I am Italian, so that says a LOT!). Its terrific to have a healthy choice when making traditional pasta dishes.

  2. Anna

    As a long time diabetic I have tried several plant based alternative pasta and am not a fan. Folk have to be careful not to consume it too often as it can cause chronic constipation especially with elderly, children, folk who do not consume at least 2 litres of water daily and take part in some sort of exercise. I found most of it tasted and felt like eating well spiced textured cardboard… There are other “fake” pasta and noodles out there which are really disgusting to cook let alone eat….Can’t improve or imitate a good pasta, unfortunately I am unable to eat starchy foods, or high carbs due to self medicating my type 2 diabetese with diet alone.

chickpea lentil based gluten-free pasta3 High-Protein Gluten-Free Pastas You Should Try!