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What Are the Different Types of Whole Grain Pastas?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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Pasta made from whole grains is as a healthy and fiber-rich alternative to traditional pasta products, which are largely made from white flour and processed grains. While wheat flour is the most common material used in whole grain pasta, manufacturers have turned to a variety of other grains to produce these heart-healthy pasta products. Other than those made from whole wheat, some other types of whole grain pasta include products made from brown rice or corn. Buyers seeking alternatives to traditional pasta products can also find whole grain pastas made from buckwheat or spelt, both of which offer distinctive, nutty flavors as well as a variety of nutrients.

Whole wheat pasta is one of the most widely available types of whole grain pastas. Unlike traditional pasta made from processed flour, whole grain wheat pasta is made from the entire wheat germ, which has not been stripped of its many nutrient-rich layers. By including the entire wheat kernel, pasta makers can create products with a rich, nutty taste and heartier texture than standard pasta. Whole grain pasta made from wheat may also be referred to as purum, kanut, or semolina pasta.

Spelt is another common whole grain pasta ingredient. Spelt is similar to wheat, but has a stronger flavor that's quite distinct. Pasta made from this product is not only free of glutens, but also rich in many vitamins and minerals. As a gluten-free whole grain alternative to wheat, spelt pasta is appropriate for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. It may also be referred to as rye pasta.

Whole grain pastas made from brown rice has a distinct texture that tends to be smoother and denser than wheat noodles. It may need to be cooked longer than any types of pasta so that it is soft enough to eat. Like other whole grain pastas, brown rice noodles are rich in fiber and protein, as well as vital nutrients.

Buckwheat, which has traditionally served as a grain used for making pancakes, is now used to make many varieties of whole grain pasta. It features a rough texture and dark hue, and is free of the glutens found in wheat. Buckwheat may also be referred to as soba, and is sometimes mixed with other grains to create a flavor closer to traditional white pasta.

Whole grain pasta made from corn has the softest texture of all whole grain pasta products. It has a pale color, and looks like standard pasta made from white flour, but is actually made from heart-healthy grains of corn. Unlike other whole grain pastas, varieties made from corn tend to have very little fiber or protein.

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