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Protein In Pasta: Everything You Should Know

January 28, 2021 4 min read

Protein In Pasta

Pasta is best known for being high in carbohydrates, and it’s often the first type of food we drop when we start to think about cutting calories or going on a healthy eating binge. But did you know that the levels of protein in pasta are also high (not to mention the other nutrients and minerals that are present)?

Pasta can be a great source of protein in your diet, and we aren’t just talking about your regular egg or whole wheat pasta.

High protein pasta – prepared with red lentils or edamame beans – contains double or even triple the levels of protein that regular pasta does, and is perfect for gym-goers, weightlifters, veggies, or vegans

In this article, we examine the levels of protein in pasta and explore which types of pasta have the most protein. Keep reading, and find out all there is to know about protein in pasta!

How Much Protein is in Pasta?

We all know that pasta is high in carbs, but does pasta have protein? Yes! And even more than you may realize.

One cup of whole-wheat dried pasta from the store contains, on average, 8 grams of protein.

Meanwhile, one cup serving of freshly made egg pasta prepared at home with a pasta maker contains a similar level of protein too. 

Compared to other common carbs, this is a high level of protein - white rice, for instance, contains only 4 grams of protein per cup (half the amount of protein in spaghetti!), while potatoes contain as little as 1 gram of protein per cup. 

Regular pasta doesn’t contain as much protein as traditional protein sources like meat (chicken contains 31 grams of protein per cup), or veggie protein sources like tofu (which contains 20 grams of protein per cup).

However, if you aren’t counting your carbs, then regular pasta is an excellent protein supplement. 

Increasingly, there are also high protein noodles available in stores. Prepared with high protein ingredients such as beans or lentils, these kinds of pasta are protein-rich alternatives to regular pasta.

Let’s take a look at them in more detail!

Is Protein Pasta Better Than Regular Pasta? 

Commonly known as ‘protein pasta,’ these protein-rich varieties of pasta are prepared using protein-heavy ingredients that differ from traditional wheat pasta, but that can be used with the same sauces and in the same dishes.

Protein pastas contain double or even triple levels of protein compared to regular pasta.

For that reason, they are increasingly popular with fitness lovers looking to build muscle or with veggies and vegans in need of a protein boost to their diet.

High protein pasta, however, is considerably more expensive than regular pasta. 

There are several brands and ingredients to look at, but here are the most common sources of high protein pasta:

Lentil pasta 

Lentils are a huge source of protein. Red lentil pasta is often created by turning red lentils into flour and creating a dough with pea protein. 

  • Red lentil pasta contains as much as 20 grams of protein per serving of pasta (or around 40 grams of protein per cup of pasta!).
  • Red lentil pasta is also lower in carbs and higher in fiber than regular pasta. 

Chickpea pasta 

Chickpeas can be ground down into flour, then rolled into delicious pasta shapes that are high in protein and high in fiber. 

  • On average, a cup of chickpea-based pasta contains 40 grams of protein.
  • An average 3 or 4 ounce serving of chickpea pasta contains 20 grams of protein, which is almost triple the quantity of protein found in regular pasta. 

Bean-based pasta 

Beans are an excellent source of protein, and there is a large variety of different bean-based pasta available for sale. 

Commonly, high protein beans such as edamame or mung beans are used to prepare flour, which is then turned into pasta shapes.

  • Explore Cuisine’s Edamame and Mung Bean Pasta is one of the highest protein varieties out there, containing a staggering 80 grams of protein per cup of pasta! 
  • For a regular-sized serving, that’s as much as 40 grams of protein per meal! 

Protein Pasta Brands 

At the store, you can find a large number of protein pasta brands for sale. They can be prepared using different ingredients and have different levels of protein.

The following protein pasta brands have the highest protein levels and taste delicious too!

  1. Banza Chickpea Pasta
  2. Modern Table Meals Lentil & Pea Pasta
  3. Tolerant Organic Lentil Pasta
  4. Barilla ProteinPlus
  5. Explore Cuisine Edamame & Mung Bean Pasta
  6. Ancient Harvest Protein Pasta
  7. Barilla Red Lentil Rotini
  8. Chickpea: Lentil & Chickpea Pasta
  9. The Only Bean Pasta
  10. Cali’Flour Foods Yellow: Lentil & Cauliflower Pasta

How to Add More Protein to Pasta? 

It’s not exactly common to prepare pasta without a sauce, and so there are also plenty of different recipes that can also add extra protein to the meal. 

  • Meat pasta. For instance, spaghetti bolognese is one of the most popular pasta dishes in the USA. The amount of proteins in this pasta depends on the type of mince and pasta you use, but preparing bolognese with lean ground beef and traditional wheat pasta provides around 24 grams of protein per serving. Add cheese, and you’re getting even more protein!
  • Meatless pasta. Veggies and vegans can also supplement their sauce and pasta with protein-rich ingredients, such as extra beans or tofu. This is a great way of adding low fat but protein-rich ingredients into your diet to replace traditional protein sources such as meat or fish. Pasta dishes can even be topped with protein-rich vegan cheese!

Protein in Pasta: How Much is Enough? 

As you now know, regular pasta contain a surprising quantity of protein

Besides, if you're looking to add extra protein into your diet - it’s super easy to prepare protein-rich sauces (meatballs, Quorn mince, etc.) that are literally packed out with protein. 

If you need to supplement your diet with added protein, if you’re trying to build muscle, preparing for a sporting event, or if you’re veggie or vegan, then switching to a high protein pasta is a great way to do this.

Often containing double the amount of protein you find in regular pasta, high protein pasta is the perfect protein supplement!

Hopefully, our guide to protein in pasta will be a great resource for you to decide which protein-rich pasta is best for you!

Want to cook homemade pasta like a pro? Check out this FREE step-by-step guide on making homemade pasta: 


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