13 Popular Low Carb Pastas, Ranked Worst To Best

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There's nothing quite as comforting as a warm bowl of pasta covered in a delicious sauce. The only downside of this delectable dinner is that it can be pretty high in carbohydrates since traditional pasta is made using white flour. Here at Mashed, we're all for indulging every so often, but if you want to enjoy pasta on a regular basis it can be helpful to seek out more carb-friendly alternatives. Some people may also need low-carb pastas to fit into their nutritional plan or special diet like those with celiac disease who aren't able to enjoy regular pasta because of its flour content.

Whatever the case, low-carb pastas have become increasingly popular in recent years. This has allowed many brands to be creative with their ideas and recipes, and ultimately it has given us a long list of tasty pasta alternatives to choose from. Some of these pastas are designed to taste just like the real stuff, while others are intentionally given a unique flavor and texture. We combed through the most popular low-carb pastas available and found the ones you should be seeking out of the grocery store, as well as the ones you should leave on the shelf. Here are some notable low-carb pasta products, ranked from worst to best.

13. Banza Pasta

Banza is a popular pasta brand that has been around for many years. The company was among the first to create low-carb pasta that was intended to be healthier for you. While we respect their O.G. status, we're disappointed that they haven't figured out how to improve their recipe by now. This brand makes 

Offering multiple pasta products that all contain virtually the same ingredients, Banza pasta isn't bad, but it's pretty underwhelming, especially if you're expecting it to taste and feel like real noodles. There's a definite legume flavor, which is expected coming from chickpea pasta, but is not super tasty. 

Our biggest beef with this pasta is the texture. While we don't expect it to have the same chewiness as regular pasta, this stuff falls apart really easily after being boiled. It needs to be cooked al dente and enjoyed immediately for the best results. It does not reheat well and becomes crumbly and mushy if it's overcooked by even a minute. "This pasta came out too mushy for me," complained a reviewer on Amazon. "I only boiled it for 3 minutes and it was overdone." Overall, we're not fans of this staple brand.

12. Miracle Noodle Fettuccine

Miracle Noodle is another brand that makes multiple low-carb pastas. Their products are actually shirataki noodles, which are made from the Konjac plant and enjoyed throughout Japan (via Healthline). It's a little hard to judge how tasty these noodles are because their flavor depends heavily on how they're prepared. They're pretty much tasteless on their own. No pasta has a ton of flavor when eaten dry, so we can't dock them any points for this.

However, the texture of this pasta is where it loses out again. These noodles have a gelatinous feel and can be hard to get used to. There's just enough bite to keep us interested, but don't have real pasta in mind when you nosh on these. Miracle Noodles work well in cold noodle dishes and many Asian dishes, which makes sense considering how popular they are in Japan. However, we don't think these would hold up to a heavy cream sauce or a dish with too many ingredients. This pasta is okay for people who don't mind the texture, but it's not our first pick for a low-carb alternative.

11. Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles

Sea Tangle's noodles are similar to the Miracle Noodle Fettuccine discussed above. They're made with sea kelp, which offers a variety of health benefits. When prepared correctly, this pasta substitution is just okay. Again, these noodles work well in Asian dishes and when paired with a light broth or sauce. They wouldn't work well if you're trying to find a low-carb way to enjoy carbonara or chicken Alfredo. The noodles are very small and glassy and need to be balanced with a decent amount of acid to tame them.

Because this pasta substitution is made from sea kelp, they have a briny flavor to them. This may be off-putting for some people while others might not mind it. You can offset that flavor by rinsing your noodles for several minutes before preparing them. It will also help to soften them up before eating. They can be a little gummy at times and are easy to overcook. While they taste fine when prepared correctly and paired with the perfect light sauce, we aren't impressed with the lack of versatility of this pasta substitution.

10. Trader Joe's Red Lentil Sedanini Pasta

Like most of America, we love Trader Joe's. From their plethora of refrigerated dips to their never-ending snack section, there's something for everyone at this grocery store chain. Trader Joe's is all about following current food trends, and it wasn't long before they jumped on the low-carb pasta train. TJ's currently offers quite a few alternative pasta options including this red lentil sedanini pasta.

The pasta holds its shape well and doesn't get mushy after cooking, which we appreciate. However, the flavor is a little strong and not ideal for people who don't enjoy the taste of lentils. "It's a bit too dry and lentil-y as a dinner...you def[initely] need to add something else to it rather than just the sauce," wrote one contributor to Trader Joe's Reviews. With so many other great pasta options at Trader Joe's, we'll leave this one on the shelf.

9. Barilla Chickpea Rotini

Barilla has been a staple in the pasta game for a long time. The company recently began developing low-carb pasta alternatives and this chickpea rotini is a great example of what happens when you try to improve on your competitors' products. Unlike many other chickpea pastas, Barilla's version does not have a strong legume flavor. it also does not have a mushy texture that falls apart when it's cooked 30 seconds longer than al dente. "Best pasta alternative ever!!! Healthier option that isn't tasteless and has a cardboard texture is a win in my book!" wrote one reviewer on Influenster.

This pasta is more reminiscent of whole wheat pasta, which isn't quite as indulgent as the regular stuff, but is still much better than a plate of noodles that taste like beans. It's also affordable and can be found in most grocery stores. Overall, we're impressed with Barilla's efforts and will be buying this again in the future.

8. Palmini Linguini

Hearts of palm refer to the inner core of some types of palm trees. This fibrous vegetable is quite tender and can be easily shredded to resemble strands of pasta. Palmini linguine has minimal flavor and relies heavily on the sauce to give it flavor. The texture is pretty firm and doesn't really have the mouthfeel of pasta but it isn't gross either. (Many reviewers suggest soaking the noodles in water or milk before warming in your sauce to help soften them up.) But with only 20 calories and 4 grams of carbs per serving, it may be worth the sacrifice.  

"Great alternative to pasta if you are low-carb," one person wrote on Influenster. Have used [these] in ramen dishes to red sauce pasta to Alfredo."  Overall, this is a good option if the texture isn't an issue for you and if you have a killer sauce to pour on top.

7. Trader Joe's Hearts of Palm Pasta

This pasta is very similar to Palmini's linguini, but we think it has a slightly better texture. Although Hearts of Palm Pasta smells strong and earthy right out of the package, it cooks down to something much more subtle. After it's cooked, the flavor is very mild and would pair well with any pasta sauce. "We mixed ours with some other veggies, tomato cream sauce, and some parmesan cheese, and it worked out quite nicely," suggested What's Good at Trader Joe's.

Because this is a vegetable, the texture is not nearly as satisfying as the distinctive chew and slightly gummy texture of regular pasta; it's more reminiscent of spiral zucchini or sweet potato. Of course, no low-carb pasta is going to be a perfect substitute, so it's important to keep your expectations somewhat low when looking for an alternative to the real stuff. With that in mind, this is a decent choice.

6. Explore Cuisine Edamame Spaghetti

Explore Cuisine makes several low-carb pastas and their edamame spaghetti is one of their most popular products. As the name suggests, this is spaghetti made using the familiar green immature soybean. In fact, the only ingredient in this pasta is edamame bean flour. These soybeans are popular in Asian cuisine and also happen to be high in protein and fiber. Using them makes this pasta an excellent source of protein and fiber as well. While the texture isn't perfect, but the product is impressive overall. "The texture is very satisfying. It's definitely different from a flour pasta's texture, a bit chewier, but in a good way," noted Well and Simple Health. "Especially where it's a fine spaghetti, the chewy, almost meaty texture is nice and give you that full mouth feel."

This pasta has a slight earthy flavor, so it's best complemented with additions like mushrooms, olive oil, and cheese. The natural green color of this product may be an issue to those with young picky eaters, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Overall, we think this is a great pick.

5. Tolerant Foods Red Lentil Rotini

As we mentioned above, lentil pasta is a tricky spot to navigate. Pasta that has an overwhelming lentil flavor isn't enjoyable to eat because it just tastes like lentils. Thankfully, Tolerant Foods seems to have found the magic recipe because this pasta has barely any lentil flavor at all, despite lentil flour being the only ingredient. It also has a great texture and doesn't crumble when cooked.

"Not only is this pasta delicious (good body without being dense or sticky), it passed muster with the gluten-eaters in my house, it's organic and non-GMO, and I don't have to feel guilty about pasta anymore because this stuff is a lean, guilt-free protein source," exclaimed Want Not. This pasta is tasty enough to be served warm with a sauce or cold in a pasta salad. It's a great option for parents with picky eaters who want to provide a healthier alternative to nutritionally weak white pasta.

4. Capello's Fettuccine

Cappello's Fettuccine ticks off two important boxes for this list: It's gluten-free and grain-free. Although it is made from almond flour, the texture is remarkably similar to white flour pasta. Fans of almonds may even think this fresh pasta tastes better than the regular stuff. It cooks well and does not get mushy when it's overcooked for a couple of minutes (none of us are perfect in the kitchen, okay?).

"I have tried numerous gluten-free pastas and they either taste like cardboard or the pasta gets so mushy that it loses its appeal. Cappello's fettuccine is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME," a reviewer on Amazon gushed. Our only gripe with this product is that it tends to be pricier than many other low-carb pastas on the market. However, given the fact it's gluten-free and has a delicious taste that doesn't make you feel like you're missing out on anything, it may be worth the extra few dollars.

3. Al Dente Carba-nada Egg Fettuccini

This low-carb pasta option from Al Dente relies on eggs to create the soft, doughy pasta. Some reviewers think the egg flavor is too prominent in the noodles, but we don't really notice it. The egginess also gives this pasta a homemade feel that reminds us of egg noodles used in homestyle chicken noodle soup. And because it doesn't rely on chickpeas or lentils, there's no weird aftertaste.

"​​I absolutely love this pasta!" wrote one happy customer on Influenster. "As a type 1 diabetic, I'm always looking for low-carb options that still have great flavor. These noodles are so easy to whip up and taste delicious with any sauce!" 

This is the type of pasta that doesn't make you wish you were eating the real stuff, which is a pretty amazing feat to accomplish. It works well in soup or paired with a creamy sauce. We'll definitely be buying this product again. 

2. Fiber Gourmet Light Elbows

Fiber Gourmet makes several low-carb pasta options including linguine, penne, and rotini. But their best product is their elbows, which take us right back to our childhood. They contain 50% fewer calories than standard wheat pasta but boast more protein and fiber. And the best part? They taste remarkably similar to the regular stuff. "Other pasta impersonators were as tasteful as rubber bands!" wrote a customer on Amazon. "This pasta has the texture and mouthfeel that regular pasta has, THAT is the big deal of this pasta!" 

The texture is slightly less firm than regular pasta but still holds up well, even when it's reheated. This pasta can even be frozen and thawed without totally ruining the texture. These elbows are perfect for making Instant Pot mac and cheese or adding to a vegetable soup. For anyone on a low-carb diet, the entire Fiber Gourmet brand is a lifesaver. We recommend trying their different pasta variations for all your noodle needs.

1. Great Low Carb Bread Company Elbows

If going low-carb has made you seriously miss out on macaroni and cheese, grab yourself a package of Great Low Carb Bread Company's elbow pasta. Made with pea protein, oat fiber, and a few other ingredients, this pasta tastes about as close to the real stuff as we could ask for. It just barely beats out Fiber Gourmet's elbows with it's flavor. "​​I'm overly ecstatic to FINALLY have found a noodle that works for me to be able to eat my childhood favorite Mac and cheese. I would HIGHLY recommend," wrote a satisfied reviewer on Amazon.

These elbows are a little higher in carbohydrates than some other ones on this list, but they are still significantly lower in carbs than traditional pasta. They're also higher in protein and fiber than many of its low-carb competitors, which is an added bonus. Whether you're looking to make the perfect batch of mac and cheese or need dinner with a simple tomato sauce, this is the best low-carb pasta you can buy.