Made from ingredients like whole wheat, spelt, Kamut, quinoa, rye, brown rice, and buckwheat, these noodles are more
healthful than refined-flour versions, says registered dietitian Jacqueline Baumrind. "Whole grains tend to be rich
in fiber, which is good for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease." And whole grains are full of important
nutrients, including B vitamins, the minerals magnesium and selenium, and phytochemicals. People sensitive to gluten
can get these benefits, too; whole grain pastas from buckwheat, brown rice, and quinoa are gluten free.
But don't think of whole grain pasta as a health food substitute for the pasta you remember. Just as tofu is better
appreciated on its own terms rather than as a stand-in for meat, whole grain pasta dishes aren't going to taste the
same as your mom's macaroni and cheese.
Whole grain pastas are sturdier and earthier tasting than their more processed counterparts, so play up their unique
flavors and textures with toppings that complement them. Pastas made from flavorful grains like rye and buckwheat
stand up well to assertive toppings like a robust tomato sauce or sautéed peppers and a grating of sharp cheese.
Others, like those made of quinoa or Kamut, work best with more delicate toppings. Experiment with sauces and cooking
times, as whole grain pasta is sensitive to over-and undercooking, and discover which of these new pastas you like best.
A look at how whole grain pastas measure up.
WHOLE WHEAT, SPELT, AND KAMUT
BENEFITS:Mild, nutty flavor; a good introduction to less refined whole grain varieties
NUTRITIONAL BONUS Up to five times the fiber of refined-flour pasta
MULTIGRAIN PASTA (May include wheat, rye, buckwheat, Kamut, spelt, millet, barley, and rice)
BENEFITS: Wide range of flavors and grain combinations
NUTRITIONAL BONUS: High in fiber; may have thiamin, riboflavin, niacin
BROWN RICE PASTA
BENEFITS: Wheat and gluten free
NUTRITIONAL BONUS: High in fiber; has potassium and thiamin
QUINOA PASTA(Often includes corn)
BENEFITS: Often gluten free
NUTRITIONAL BONUS: High in protein
BUCKWHEAT NOODLES (Also called soba)
BENEFITS: gluten free when made from 100 percent buckwheat flour
NUTRITIONAL BONUS: High in protein and B-complex vitamins