A Healthier Bowl of Pasta
Whole-grain and higher-fiber pastas are healthier. But how do they taste?
It's brown, and it sometimes feels like it's biting you back when you bite
into it. It comes in many shapes and types. It can single-handedly boost the
fiber and nutrients in any meal that features it. It's whole-grain or
high-fiber pasta, and it's coming to a supermarket near you (if it's not there
You know you're onto something when a major brand jumps on the bandwagon,
right? Well, not too long ago, Barilla (which is as much fun to say with an
Italian accent as it is to eat) came out with a higher-fiber line of pasta,
But do these new healthier pastas pass the taste test?
Well, pasta (like most foods) is all about three things: color, flavor, and
texture. Most Americans are used to white, tender, pleasantly neutral-tasting
pasta. Not everyone is going to eat 100% whole-wheat pasta and love it. But
there are options out there.
Barilla Plus is the brand I think is most similar in look and feel to
white-flour pasta. This company was definitely thinking outside the pasta box
when they formulated this new product. They added a grain and legume flour
blend that includes lentils, chickpeas, egg whites, spelt, barley, flaxseed,
oat fiber and oats. The egg whites and the legumes boost the protein, the
barley and oats boost the soluble fiber, and the flaxseed provides some healthy
And how does it taste? This pasta is similar indeed to regular pasta -- even
passable to most kids, I suspect.
Comparing the Healthier Pastas
Most of the whole-wheat pastas I found featured whole durum wheat flour,
which is the same as saying "whole semolina flour." Apparently,
"semolina" is another word for "coarsely ground durum wheat."
You'll probably only come across this type of wheat when reading pasta labels.
Durum wheat is thought to be the best wheat for pasta-making, thanks to its
higher protein and gluten content (gluten is a type of protein in wheat that
helps give baked products structure).
I'm not going to lie to you: The 100% whole-wheat pastas may take some
getting used to. I actually didn't mind that they were browner and heartier,
especially when they were part of a fab recipe that included several other