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The 10 Best-Tasting High-Protein Pastas Ranked

Best High-Protein Pastas

Pasta is a weeknight dinner go-to, a crowd-pleasing option and a pantry staple with so many pastabilities. The world of pasta is deep and vast, spanning a wide range of shapes, ingredients (not just wheat), production methods (we see you, bronze-cut pasta), and cuisines.

With all of those options, it's nearly impossible to get bored eating pasta, but some folks are interested in their pasta dinner working a little harder for them. One of the ways to do that is to explore the ever-growing world of high-protein pasta. There are more options on shelves every time we look, so it seemed like now was the right time to take a twirl through the options on the market at the moment. Our list of the best-tasting high-protein pastas will help you work these noodles into your meal routine. We also chatted with registered dietitians to find out exactly what you should know bout high-protein pasta and the best ways to shop for the souped-up noodles.

Related: 16 Best High-Protein Foods to Eat

What is high-protein pasta?

According to Stevie Lyn Smith, MS, RDN and registered dietician at InsideTracker, high-protein pasta can be made from a range of ingredients. Popular options include chickpeas, lentils, brown rice, soybeans, peas and edamame. “The protein content and texture can vary slightly in each,” Smith adds.

“Protein pasta can absolutely make a difference for people, especially those with a lot of diet restrictions or picky eaters,” adds Breanna Woods, MS, RD, registered dietitian at Blogilates. “Many protein pastas are gluten-free and made with simple ingredients. Even better, many protein pastas are also high in fiber, a nutrient most Americans lack.”

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Which pastas are high in protein?

There are a variety of protein pastas available made from a plethora of different ingredients. Some of the most popular types of protein pasta include chickpeas, lentils, edamame, and lupini beans. The amount of protein varies based on the brand and the ingredients, but they’ll almost always contain more protein than pasta made with wheat flour.

A standard two-ounce serving of pasta has approximately seven grams of protein per serving. That’s not a super low amount, but these days there are high-protein pasta brands out there with two or even three times that. “Protein pasta makes it very easy to bolster the protein content in your meal, with some brands providing 20 grams or more of protein per serving,” says Woods.

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What are the health benefits of high-protein pasta?

Incorporating high-protein pasta into your diet can be beneficial for virtually anyone. Although many people may opt for protein pasta when trying to limit their carb intake, there are other health benefits to incorporating it into your diet.

“Elevating your protein consumption can enhance several aspects of health, including promoting muscle repair and growth, boosting energy levels, and increasing satiety, which can help in managing hunger and supporting weight management efforts,” says Mariana Dineen, registered dietitian and founder of Elemento Health.

While protein pasta has health benefits on its own, you’ll want to make sure the rest of the meal is balanced. “I recommend pairing protein pastas with a vegetable, small protein source and healthy fat to provide the right balance of macro- and micro-nutrients at each meal,” says Lauren Papanos, MS, RD, CSSD, registered dietitian and hormone health researcher.

Related: Can You Eat Too Much Protein and How Much is Too Much?

The 10 Best High-Protein Pastas, Ranked

Now that you know why you might want to try high-protein pasta, here is our list of the best-you’re eager to try protein pasta, keep on reading to find out our favorite brands, based on taste and nutritional value.

10. Barilla Protein+ Penne

<p>Walmart.com</p>

Walmart.com

Not sure what to pick? You can’t go wrong with Barilla, which is widely available in grocery stores. The brand's protein + penne option has 10 grams of protein per serving and about 5 grams of fiber. The pasta is made from a blend of flours: semolina, durum wheat, lentil, chickpea, barley, and spelt, plus the addition of pea protein. This blend makes this pasta taste the most like traditional pasta, but also means it's on the lower side when it comes to protein pastas.

9. Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti

<p>Explore Cuisine</p>

Explore Cuisine

Another dietitian-recommended protein pasta is this black bean spaghetti from Explore Cuisine. Although the name might make you think the pasta is made from black beans, this pasta is actually made from black soybeans. which are higher in protein than the black beans you're probably making black bean soup with. A serving of this pasta has 25 grams of protein, so you get a power with your pasta.

The noodles are thin but also hearty, which makes them a versatile choice. They're good for classic sauced pastas and also a solid option for something like a noodle bowl, noodle soup or even a pasta salad. This black bean pasta doesn’t taste like traditional pasta, but the flavor is natural enough and the consistency is similar to standard pasta, so it works well as an alternative or substitute.

8. Bentilia Rotini

<p>Bubble Goods</p>

Bubble Goods

If you’re interested in adding pasta to a soup or stew, then fun, twisty rotini is the way to go. It's also a great shape for tossing with butter and cheese for the little eaters in your life. This pasta, which is made from red lentil flour, has 25 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving. The brand also has another line, called Bentilia10, that adds 10 additional nutrition-packed foods—cranberry, broccoli, sweet potato, kale, spinach, sunflower seeds, shiitake mushrooms, pumpkins and maitake mushrooms—to the red lentil pasta base.

7. ZENB Cavatappi Pasta

<p>ZENB</p>

ZENB

ZENB’s protein-filled pasta is made from one ingredient: yellow peas. Yes, that’s it. This vegan, gluten-free option is delicious and just about melts in your mouth. It has 17 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving and a hearty 11 grams of fiber, too. Thick and twists cavatappi is a great choice for mac and cheese, which is a great way to work this pasta into your recipe routine.

6. Lupii Penne

<p>Thrive Market</p>

Thrive Market

As you can probably tell, penne is a favorite of mine, especially this protein-packed option from Lupii. Made with lupini bean flour and chickpea flour, this plant-based option is great for a number of pasta dishes and is packed with 14 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber per two-ounce serving.

Lupini beans, a flat yellow bean that resembles a lima bean, have become more popular in recent years because they're high in protein, fiber and vitamins. One important note: If you have a peanut allergy, keep in mind that lupini beans are also a legume and people who are allergic to peanuts may also have a reaction to lupini beans, according to the FDA.

5. Goodles Lucky Penne

<p>Target</p>

Target

Goodles is another one of my favorites because the brand is home to a host of different shapes and flavor profiles and is widely available at stores like Target. (Bonus: It's fun to have the cute, cheery package in my pantry.) The brand's penne has 10 grams of protein per two-ounce serving and also includes other vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, C, E, K, biotin, zinc and more. In terms of texture, it’s a bit on the gummier side, but once you add your sauce and other mix-ins the texture is less noticeable.

4. Ancient Harvest Green Lentil Penne

<p>Ancient Harvest</p>

Ancient Harvest

Amy Davis, RD, registered dietitian and business development coordinator at Fresh Communications, is a fan of this green lentil penne from Ancient Harvest. This pasta packs 14 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving and four milligrams of iron. Keep in mind that this pasta is a bit on the thinner side, so it might be a little more fragile than some of the other options, but the hole in the penne is great for grabbing sauce.

3. Chickapea Elbows

<p>Amazon</p>

Amazon

As a macaroni and cheese enthusiast, elbows are a staple in my kitchen. This pasta from Chickapea is made with two organic ingredients—chickpeas and lentils. It tastes just like my childhood so that’s how I know it’s good. A 3.5-ounce serving of Chickapea Elbows has 24 grams of protein and seven grams of fiber.

2. The Only Bean Organic Edamame Fettuccine Bean Pasta

<p>The Only Bean</p>

The Only Bean

This edamame pasta has a slightly nutty and earthy flavor, which makes it fun to play around with in the kitchen. “This subtle difference in taste, combined with its nutritional benefits, makes edamame pasta a versatile and healthful option that can complement a wide range of sauces and ingredients, from classic tomato-based sauces to more innovative culinary creations,” says Dineen. Try pairing it with chicken or adding the wavy light green noodles to a veggie soup. A 3.5-ounce serving of this edamame pasta has 44 grams of protein per serving and 19 grams of fiber.

1. Banza Penne Pasta

<p>Banza</p>

Banza

I’m not kidding when I say I have Banza waffles for breakfast, the brand's pizza for lunch and this chickpea pasta for dinner. I’m probably Banza’s #1 fan, but there’s a reason for that—their pasta is packed with protein and is delicious. The key ingredient in Banza pasta is chickpeas. Unlike other protein pastas I’ve tried, it’s not gummy or slimy, but instead thick and substantial, which means it can stand up to sauce and also holds up well in baked pastas.

From a nutritional standpoint, a 3.5-ounce serving of Banza’s Penne Pasta has 20 grams of protein and eight grams of fiber.

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