5 Alternatives to White Pasta You'll Want to Try


By now, no doubt you've been advised hundreds of times to avoid white pasta. But does that mean you have to give up noodles altogether? No way! These days the pasta aisle is loaded with alternatives. Read on for the lowdown on five different types, and delicious recipes to try with each one.

Brown Rice Pasta

Pros: It's gluten-free and a great source of B vitamins.

Beware: Brown rice pasta tends to stick together while cooking, so stir frequently. (Color varies among brands.)

Spring Pea Pasta Salad
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

2 tsp. salt

2 cups fresh green peas, or 1 10-oz. box frozen, thawed

1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed (about 5 oz.)

2 cups sugar snap peas (about 6.5 oz.)

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon or dill

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. tube-shaped brown rice pasta, such as caserecce or penne

½ cup crumbled soft goat cheese or feta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have ready 2 bowls of ice water. When water boils, add 1 tsp. salt, peas and edamame and bring back to a boil. Cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or sieve, transfer vegetables to a bowl of ice water. Add sugar snap peas to pot of water and bring back to a boil. Cook until just tender, about 30 seconds. Transfer to other bowl of ice water, reserving boiling water. Once vegetables are cold, drain well. Cut sugar snap peas into fourths crosswise.
  2. In a serving bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar and mustard. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until thickened and well combined. Stir in shallot and tarragon. Season with 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper.
  3. Cook pasta in reserved pot of boiling water until al dente, about 12 minutes or according to package directions. Drain pasta well and immediately transfer to bowl with vinaigrette. Add vegetables and cheese. Gently toss together until pasta is well coated. Season with additional pepper, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

PER SERVING: 411 Calories, 14g Fat (3g Sat.), 11mg Chol., 6g Fiber, 12g Pro., 57g Carb., 669mg Sod., 6mg Iron, 114mg Calcium

RELATED: 16 Whole Grains You Need to Try

Kamut Pasta

Pros: This ancient variety of wheat technically called khorasan wheat (Kamut is a brand name) boasts omega-3s, along with magnesium and zinc.

Best for: It’s similar in texture to regular pasta, with a buttery, slightly nutty flavor. Use it in any pasta dish—baked, sautéed or cold in salad.

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Whole-Wheat Pasta

Pros: It has a sturdy texture and an earthy, nutty flavor. Plus, it has double the fiber of ordinary pasta, with fewer calories.

Best for: Use it in any pasta dish—hot or cold in salad.

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Spelt Pasta

Pro: It has a tender texture and a mildly nutty flavor. This ancient grain is rich in protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.

Best for: Sautéed dishes (it can fall apart when baked)

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Recipes developed by Lori Powell