12 High-Protein Pastas That'll Leave You Satisfied for Hours
Few foods are as adored as pasta. From a classic spaghetti and meatballs dish to a cozy lasagna dinner, pasta is a comforting staple that's crave-able and satisfying.
Traditional pasta that's made with wheat flour and water often has a little bit of protein, particularly if it's made with enriched flour (aka with added vitamins and nutrients), as most popular brands are — clocking in at around 7 grams per 2-ounce serving, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. But if you want even more protein in your bowl along with some steady energy from healthy carbs, leaning on high-protein pasta varieties can be a good idea.
After all, most people should aim to get at least 46 grams of protein per day, according to the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and many high-protein pastas contain an average of 20 grams of the nutrient. By including ingredients that are natural sources of protein (e.g. lentils, chickpeas, and even eggs), pasta manufacturers have been able to pack more protein in their bowties and corkscrews without affecting the shape and taste that seemingly everyone knows and loves. Not to mention, because many of these ingredients pack tons of fiber, too, these pastas offer a significant amount of fiber per serving (which, reminder, is good for digestion, stabilizing blood sugar, and so much more).
Protein pasta is a particularly good choice for those following a high-protein diet (duh) as well as vegetarians (who eat eggs). And since many of these kinds of pasta are made with beans, they're also naturally free of gluten, opening the door for more food options for those living a gluten-free lifestyle.
How to Choose a High-Protein Pasta
Picking the best high-protein pasta is pretty simple with a little know-how. The first step is to check the nutrition label and see how much protein one serving of pasta contains. While there's no true definition of what can be considered "high-protein" pasta, generally speaking, you should shoot for an option that has more than 7 grams of protein per serving — or more than what traditional wheat-based pasta provides. (Related: Easy And Healthy Pasta Recipes to Satisfy All Of Your Carb Cravings)
Taking an inventory of the ingredient list on the box of pasta can help you determine which box is best for you. As with plenty of other packaged products, it's a smart idea to opt for high-protein pastas that contain ingredients that you can pronounce. Typically, fewer ingredients mean that there's less room for questionable additives such as chemicals included in your box of noodles, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While ingredients such as gums and stabilizers may sound like something you don't want in your diet, small amounts are likely safe to enjoy, and they are needed to allow the pasta to hold its shape when boiled or promote shelf stability.
How to Include Protein Pasta In Your Diet
High-protein pasta can be served just as you would enjoy traditional pasta. For a particularly balanced bowl, however, consider mixing a serving of high-protein pasta (which is, on average, 2 ounces) with some olive oil, herbs, spices (e.g. garlic and basil), and some veggies. Of course, you can add lean protein to the mix, but thanks to the protein content of the pasta, you certainly don't need it. (Related: Should You Start Buying High Protein Bread?)
High-protein pasta can be enjoyed cold as an addition to pasta salads as well. And while you can also add it to soups, keep in mind that, thanks to the lack of gluten found in certain varieties (such as those that are bean-, legume-, and pulse-based), these noodles may not hold their shape when they are submerged in water for an extended period of time. Your best bet is to add your cooked protein pasta to your soup immediately before serving.
The 12 Best High-Protein Pastas
The grocery store is now jam-packed with pasta options that contain ingredients that boost the protein content of your noodles, making it challenging to know which one you should choose. Among the sea of protein pastas out there, here are the 12 best choices, according to nutrition experts.