Few meals are as delicious and indulgent as a heaping pile of pasta covered in sauce. Unfortunately, too many bowls of this classic carb can do a number on your waistline. Just one 2 oz. serving of wheat pasta packs more than 40 grams of carbs, making it a surefire way to spike your blood sugar and slow fat loss—which is why brands like Ancient Harvest have been at the forefront of making pasta shapes out of chickpeas and lentils. But are they the real deal?

Chickpea elbows have 12 grams of muscle-building protein per 2 oz. serving, compared with 7 grams in the same amount of wheat pasta. So the calories are the same, but you’re getting a more balanced macronutrient profile overall. “In general, bean- and legume-based pastas are an excellent alternative to traditional pastas for anyone interested in increasing fiber intake, managing blood sugar levels, and eating more nutrient dense foods and sustainable, plant-based proteins,” says registered dietitian Malina Malkani.

A 2016 study in Food & Function also found that legume pastas retained more of their nutrients during the cooking process compared with wheat pasta. Another bonus: These veggie pastas release their starches more slowly, keeping you fuller for longer.


Red lentil rotini has 7 fewer grams of carbs and more than double the iron of most wheat pastas. An additional benefit: It’s gluten-free.

Wheat Rotini V.S. Red Lentil Rotini
Nutritional Break Down
Wheat Rotini V.S. Red Lentil Rotini
200 Calories   200 Calories
7 g Protein   14 g Protein
42 g Carbs   35 g Carbs
1 g Fat   1 g Fat
Farafalle pasta with pesto sauce

6 Healthy Low Fat Pasta Recipes

Pasta isn't all that bad. Here, we give you six recipes for turning pasta into muscle fuel.

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