Can I Eat Pasta on a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?

March 11, 2019

Can I Eat Pasta on a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?

Cutting to the chase…

Think pasta will derail your healthy living goals? You’re not alone. Pasta stresses people out! Especially health-conscious folks. Sure, they love a good noodle dish but it’s often relegated to “cheat days” to avoid unwanted weight gain and uncontrolled blood sugars.

But truth bomb: pasta is only “unhealthy” when it’s refined (and/or smothered in animal products, like butter, dairy, and meat, which are high in saturated fats). You can have your vegan pasta, and eat it too! Just choose whole grain varieties, read the labels carefully, and incorporate whole food plant-based ingredients like cashew cream, oil-free marinara, and lots of veggies!

Digging Deeper

Does pasta deserve its rep as an unhealthy food? Heck to the no! But thanks to low carb fad diets like Atkins, Paleo, and Keto we’re often bombarded with anti-carb messaging, from morning news shows to Pinterest recipes to food packaging. Given this national conversation on pasta, it’s no surprise people freak out a little when they see pasta is included (encouraged, even) with a whole food plant-based lifestyle.

But seriously pasta lovers, rejoice! Noodles are not the enemy. The opposite, actually; whole grain consumption is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension! So keep your vegan noodles on the menu -- just make them whole grain.

Refined carbs vs. Whole Carbs

When it comes to nutritional value, there is a big difference between white pasta and whole grain pasta.

White refined pasta is heavily processed so it’s devoid of nutrients. Most importantly, it’s stripped of its fiber. Without fiber, the refined carbs rush through our bloodstream causing blood sugar spikes and drops. And since fiber adds bulk to the food, without it we’re less satiated -- making us more likely overeat soon after mealtimes. So yes, white pasta can indeed lead to unwanted weight gain. Not to mention, traditional pasta recipes are often laden with saturated fats, like butter, cheese, and red meat -- not great for your waistline or your long-term health.

Whole grain pasta is a different story. It’s minimally processed and has its fiber and nutrients intact (like protein, iron, and B vitamins). Unlike white pasta, your digestion and blood sugars are regulated with whole grains so you feel full longer and are not as inclined to dive into a second bowl shortly after eating.

How to shop for WFPB pasta now you know you CAN eat vegan noodles on a whole food plant-based diet. Hurray! Time to stock up.

Our biggest tip as you head to the grocery store? Always read nutrition labels when buying anything packaged. The words “wheat pasta” on the front of the package do not necessarily mean that product is made with “whole grain” or “whole wheat” ingredients. But don’t fret! We’re here to help you make the right choice in the pasta aisle.

Tips when shopping for whole food plant-based pasta:

  • You want minimal ingredients (whole grains and water preferably).
  • Look for words that indicate whole grain ingredients, like whole grain, whole wheat, brown rice, buckwheat (soba noodles), quinoa, spelt.
  • If it says “100 percent durum semolina” or “golden amber durum wheat,” it’s refined. Food companies can be tricky this way!
  • Be cautious of gluten-free pasta; they can be packed with additives and unhealthy ingredients. Again, look for minimal ingredients like brown rice and water or 100% buckwheat. (Our favorite organic brown rice noodles are made by Tinkyada, so good!)

Hungry yet? Let’s get cookin’...

5 of our Favorite Healthy Noodle Recipes

All these tasty recipes are whole food plant-based and on your table fast!

1. Oil-Free Marinara with MamaSezz Veggie Sausage

A dinner recipe that’s kid-friendly AND easy? Heck yes. This recipe calls for ready-made MamaSezz Marinara Sauce and our savory Veggie Sausage. All you have to do? Boil the pasta!

2. Creamy Plant-Based Avocado Pasta

You don’t need dairy to make creamy comfort food! Grab a ripe avocado instead and whip up this easy pasta dish in minutes.

3. Dairy-Free Mama’s Mac Broccoli Alfredo 

Told ya you don’t need dairy! Our Mama’s Mac Sauce is a dream come true for alfredo lovers moving towards plant-based cuisine.

4. Hearty Vegan Lasagna

A healthy twist on a comfort food classic, this vegan lasagna proves that nutritional yeast and vegan pasta dishes go hand in hand. Find nutritional yeast in the spice aisle of your grocery store.

5. Ginger Pad Thai 

Made with brown rice noodles and 100% whole food plant-based, this vegan pad thai hits the spot when takeout cravings come a-knocking.

No time to cook? No worries.

Get gluten-free and vegan noodle dishes, delivered from MamaSezz ready to heat-and-eat!

1. Mama’s Mac 

Organic brown rice elbows are smothered with our signature Mac Sauce to make the best vegan Mac and “Cheese” you’ve ever had. Seriously, it’s guaranteed to please even your pickiest eater. Just check out the customer reviews here.

2. Bolognese with Pasta 

Good news! You can enjoy bolognese, without the BS (Bad Stuff). Our plant-based take on a family favorite is thick, full-bodied, and guilt-free thanks to cholesterol-free tempeh standing in for ground beef.

3. Lazy Lasagna 

Loved by the MamaSezz Heart Beet Gang and customers alike, cashew cream and our Oil-Free Marinara Sauce combine into the ultimate dairy-free comfort food. Heads up -- you may want to order more than 1. It’s that good.

Now that we’ve noodled on it…

We can all agree that a healthy lifestyle and eating pasta are not mutually exclusive.

  • Your body needs whole carbohydrates!
  • Always chose 100% whole grain pasta over refined versions. Refined white pasta is stripped of its fiber and nutrients, which can lead to unwanted weight gain and unregulated blood sugars.
  • Read labels! Food companies often call items “wheat pasta” that aren’t actually whole grain.
  • There are soooo many whole food plant-based noodle recipes to explore - get out there!
  • You can always get ready-made and gluten-free pasta dishes delivered by MamaSezz. Easy peasy.