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If you’re looking for the best protein pasta, there’s a good chance you’re trying to increase your daily protein intake. However, the thought of eating another grilled chicken breast isn’t very appealing. Thankfully, there are plenty of non-chicken protein snack ideas to choose from, and while whole wheat pasta has been around for a while, protein pasta is becoming a very popular choice for many health and fitness enthusiasts.

However, when you’re staring at the wall of pasta at your local grocery store, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming and confusing. I’ve been there.

In this guide, I’ll share our top picks for the best protein pasta options on the market today. I’m a nutrition coach who’s consumed plenty of pasta over the years, and the GGR testers who carefully tested each type of pasta include certified personal trainers, weightlifters, runners, and even an Olympian. 

If you’re not sure which protein pasta you should try, or maybe you had a bad experience with one in the past, fear not. We’re about to dive deep into the world of protein pasta and help you find the perfect choice for your next pasta salad or spaghetti night.

Best Protein Pasta

Best Overall Protein Pasta: Barilla Protein+

Good for: Anyone looking for a high-quality protein pasta

Best Overall

Barilla Protein+ Elbows Pasta

GGR Score: 4.28 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based high-protein pasta
  • Certified vegan and Non-GMO
  • No additives
  • Kosher

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Non-GMO
  • 10 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving
  • Available in multiple traditional pasta shapes
  • Made in the United States
  • More affordable than other pasta alternatives

Cons

  • Not gluten-free
  • More expensive than traditional pasta
  • May not be available in your local grocery store and more expensive online

Bottom Line

Barilla Protein+ Elbows Pasta is a plant-based alternative to traditional pasta. It contains 10 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving. Unlike other alternative pastas, Barilla contains wheat, and adds lentils, chickpeas, and peas to increase the protein content. Reviewers state that this pasta’s taste and texture are closer to traditional pasta than other alternatives they have tried.

While it was tough to choose a winner for the best overall protein pasta, Barilla Protein+ takes the crown.

The formulation is well-balanced, with 10 grams of protein and only 190 calories per serving. This is right in the middle of the pack, as we tested options with both higher amounts of protein and fewer total calories.

Cooking Barilla Protein+ Pasta.

RELATED: How Much Protein Do You Need to Build Muscle?

However, where Barilla Protein+ really shines is the experience. After all, food is meant to be enjoyed, even if you’re looking for protein, and Barilla has nailed the pasta experience. 

GGR Senior Staff Writer Lauren Strong, CPT, loved the taste and texture, giving both categories a strong 5-out-of-5 rating. She said, “Pretty spot-on for taste. You barely notice a difference between this protein pasta and a traditional pasta. The texture is similar to traditional pasta because it’s not gluten-free, so there is regular wheat to bind it all together.”  

Barilla Protein+ Pasta with sauce and cheese.

In my personal experience with various protein pasta over the years, I can say that not all taste like pasta. Some aren’t even close. Sure, other options may have great macros. But at the end of the day, we want pasta that actually tastes like pasta, and Barilla Protein+ does. 

Serving Size2 oz dry
Price per box$7.45
Calories per serving190 calories
Protein per serving10 g
Carbs per serving38-39 g
Fat per serving1 g
IngredientsSemolina (wheat), durum wheat flour, lentil flour, pea protein, chickpea flour, barley flour, spelt flour 

Best-Tasting Protein Pasta: Goodles Pasta

Good for: Those who want the best-tasting pasta we tested

Best-Tasting

GOODLES Pasta Variety Pack

GGR Score: 3.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based nutrient-enhanced pasta
  • 21 nutrients from a variety of plants
  • Clean Label Certified
  • Low glycemic index, NON-GMOs, and no artificial flavors or preservatives

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Happiness is guaranteed on GOODLES website, and a full refund if you do not love it
  • More affordable than other pasta alternatives
  • 21 nutrients from plants like broccoli, spinach, and kale
  • Also available as mac and cheese
  • GOODLES gives away at least 1% of all products to organizations that address food insecurity

Cons

  • Very limited reviews
  • Not gluten-free
  • More expensive than traditional pasta

Bottom Line

GOODLES Pasta is a nutrient-enhanced pasta with 21 nutrients from a variety of plants. This pasta alternative has very limited reviews but they are mostly positive. Customers noted that the taste and texture was better than other protein pastas they had tried.

Goodles hit the protein pasta scene in 2021 with some of the best high-protein mac and cheese I’ve ever tried. I still buy and eat it regularly. In 2023, they launched unflavored pasta available in a variety of shapes and sizes: Lucky Penne, Loopdy-Loos, and Curveballs.

A hand holds some uncooked Goodles pasta.

The taste is excellent. GGR Head of Content Nicole Davis, CPT, PN-1, said Goodles were nearly indistinguishable from boxed pasta. They had a slightly chewy and firm texture, while other kinds of protein pasta are often soft and mushy. 

She said, “I LOVE GOODLES. I had tried their mac and cheese before trying just the plain noodles, and both slap, as the kids would say. Even my kids love these and cannot tell the difference between them and regular boxed pasta brands (which is saying something). This is one ‘protein’ product that I would purchase repeatedly over the regular version.”

Goodles pasta cooking in a pot.

This was a strong contender for the best overall pasta, but had a lower total score from our testing than Barilla, mainly due to the formulation score, although both are great options.

RELATED: 67 High-Protein Foods for Weight Loss

Serving Size2 oz dry
Price per box$4.49
Calories per serving180 calories
Protein per serving10 g
Carbs per serving38 g
Fat per serving1 g
IngredientsSemolina (wheat); wheat flour; chickpea protein; wheat protein; nutrients extracted from broccoli, spinach, kale, pumpkin, sweet potato, sunflower seed, cranberry, chlorella, maitake mushroom, shiitake mushroom

Best Budget Protein Pasta: Banza Chickpea Pasta

Good for: Anyone who wants a high-quality option on a budget

Best Budget Protein Pasta

Banza Chickpea Cavatappi Pasta

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Chickpea pasta alternative
  • Vegan, gluten free, and NON-GMO
  • 11 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving
  • Low-carb, high-protein alternative to traditional wheat pasta

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 11 grams of protein
  • 3x more fiber than traditional pasta
  • 25% fewer carbs
  • Available in a large variety of traditional pasta shapes

Cons

  • Customers note it is very easy to overcook the pasta
  • Mixed reviews on taste and texture
  • More expensive than traditional pasta

Bottom Line

Banza Chickpea Cavatappi Pasta is a gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta. Banza pasta is available in a large variety of traditional pasta shapes like penne, rotini, and elbows. This pasta has mixed reviews on both taste and texture. Customer reviews indicated that it was easy to overcook this pasta and that the water gets foamy during the cooking process and may boil over the pot.

If you’re looking for a high-quality pasta with a good amount of protein that’s more budget-friendly than the other options on our list, Banza Chickpea Pasta is a great choice. You get 11 grams of protein in each serving for 190 calories, which is great to see in a pasta product. 

A Banza box is held next to a pot of cooking pasta.

GGR Editor Frieda Johnson, NASM-CNC, ISSA-SET, tested this pasta and was impressed. Other options use a blend of flours, but Banza’s primary ingredient is chickpeas. Despite this, the flavor isn’t overpowering. 

Frieda said, “I was very impressed with how well it held together compared to other gluten-free pastas I’ve had. It also didn’t have the grainy texture I’ve experienced with some plant-based pasta. It has a really nice, mild flavor that didn’t compete with the sauce I put it in at all.”

RELATED: Protein Powder Alternatives

Eating meal made with Banza pasta.

In my experience, Banza pasta gets very foamy when cooking, as do other types of protein pasta I’ve tested. The packaging warns you this will happen, but be prepared to stand near your stove and turn down the heat if the water starts to boil over. 

Serving Size2 oz dry
Price per box$3.18
Calories per serving190 calories
Protein per serving11 g
Carbs per serving35 g
Fat per serving3 g
IngredientsChickpeas, pea starch, tapioca, xanthan gum

Best Gluten-Free Protein Pasta: Ancient Harvest Red Lentil Pasta

Good for: Those following a gluten-free diet

Best Gluten-Free

Ancient Harvest Pasta Rotini Red Lentil

GGR Score: 3.75 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based protein pasta
  • Contains red lentil and quinoa flour
  • Certified gluten-free and NON-GMO
  • Kosher

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Only 2 ingredients
  • Free from top 9 allergens
  • Certified gluten-free

Cons

  • Mixed reviews on taste
  • Customers shared that pasta is “mushy” and does not hold shape
  • More expensive than traditional pasta
  • Only available in rotini shape

Bottom Line

Ancient Harvest Red Lentil Rotini Pasta is a plant-based high-protein pasta alternative. Unlike competitors, it is only available in the rotini shape. Customer reviews were mixed on taste. Many noted that they preferred chickpea-based alternatives. Both positive and negative reviews noted that the pasta didn’t hold its shape well and was “mushy”.

Pasta may not be the first food that comes to mind when you think about gluten-free items. Thanks to Ancient Harvest, we have a protein-packed option with only two ingredients, making it a great choice for those with food sensitivities. 

Ancient Harvest Protein Pasta in a strainer.

Due to red lentil flour being the primary ingredient, the taste is stronger than the more neutral-tasting pasta you may be used to. Our tester, Frieda Johnson, NASM-CNC, ISSA-SET, said she enjoyed the mild, nutty flavor, but it may overpower neutral flavors, like olive oil or milder sauces. 

Ancient Harvest Red Lentil Pasta is also certified gluten-free and verified non-GMO. You know you’re getting ingredients you can trust, which is important for anyone who needs to avoid gluten due to food sensitivities.

Eating Ancient Harvest Protein Pasta.

One callout is that the prices vary widely on Amazon. The price to have a box of pasta ordered via Amazon Prime can cost up to $11.15, but if you live in an area with same-day grocery delivery, it’s significantly cheaper, and currently available for $4.29 at grocery stores in my area. 

Serving Size2 oz dry
Price per box$4.29-$11.15
Calories per serving200 calories
Protein per serving14 g
Carbs per serving37 g
Fat per serving1 g
IngredientsRed lentil flour, organic quinoa flour

Best Low-Carb Protein Pasta: ZENB Pasta

Good for: Anyone looking to minimize their carbohydrate intake

Best Low-Carb

ZENB Plant-Based Variety Pack Pasta

GGR Score: 3.78 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based pasta alternative
  • Certified gluten-free, NON-GMO, and vegan
  • No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Only one ingredient: yellow peas
  • Available in 7 different shapes including lasagna
  • Certified gluten-free

Cons

  • Limited availability in stores outside the Chicagoland area
  • Mixed reviews on taste
  • More expensive than traditional pasta

Bottom Line

ZENB plant-based pasta uses one ingredient, yellow peas. This pasta has 12 grams of protein per serving. It is available in 7 shapes including lasagna which is not available from other pasta alternative competitors. There were mixed reviews on the taste and texture, noting it tasted very strongly of peas.

Protein pasta is typically made with different types of plant-based proteins, so you’re probably not going to find one low enough in carbs to fit something like the keto diet, but some will still have lower carbs than others. ZENB has the lowest carbohydrate content of the pasta we tested, and it has a high protein content.

This gluten-free pasta only contains one single ingredient: 100% yellow peas. The result is a pasta that contains 12 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per serving. 

The total carbohydrate content is 36 grams, which is in line with the other products on our list. However, ZENB’s fiber content (7 grams per serving) is among the highest. If you track just the net carbs—total carbs minus dietary fiber—you’ll only be consuming 29 grams of total carbohydrates.

RELATED: How Much Carbs, Protein, And Fats Per Day Is Ideal?

Caine Wilkes, USAW-1, OLY, and a weightlifting competitor at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,, thoroughly tested ZENB pasta. He said he could barely tell the difference between ZENB and regular pasta, but had one important warning: the pasta is much better when cooked al dente, as it quickly becomes mushy if cooked too long. 

Overall he was impressed, saying, “This was very good, and a fantastic option for gluten-free or non-GMO eaters. It’s pricey, and the texture is lost if overcooked, but overall I was impressed with these.”

If you’re looking for an option that’s packed with fiber and protein, ZENB pasta is worth a try. 

Serving Size2 oz dry
Price per box$6.23
Calories per serving200 calories
Protein per serving12 g
Carbs per serving36 g
Fat per serving1.5 g
IngredientsWhole yellow peas (with skin)

Best Protein Pasta for Building Muscle: The Only Bean Protein Pasta

Good for: Those looking to build lean muscle

Best for Building Muscle

The Only Bean Soy, Black Bean, and Edamame Spaghetti

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based pasta alternative
  • One ingredient pasta
  • Choose from soy, black bean, or edamame pasta
  • Certified USDA organic, NON-GMO, gluten-free, Kosher, and Vegan
  • Available in 6 or 2-packs and single boxes

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Only one ingredient either soy, black bean, or edamame
  • 25 grams of protein per servings - significantly more than competitors (around 10-15 grams)
  • Certified Gluten-free and made in a gluten-free facility
  • 100% satisfaction is guaranteed when purchased from the Only Bean website

Cons

  • May not be available in store near you
  • Only available as spaghetti and fettuccine
  • According to customers, it is very important to follow cooking instructions
  • More expensive than traditional pasta and alternative pasta competitors
  • Mixed reviews on taste

Bottom Line

The Only Bean plant-based high-protein pasta comes in three varieties: soy, black bean, and edamame. It has 25 grams of protein per serving, which is much higher than other plant-based pasta alternatives, which are typically closer to 10 grams per serving. Customers note that it is very important to follow cooking instructions to rinse with cold water for the best taste and texture.

If you’re looking to maximize your protein intake with the highest protein content we’ve seen in a protein pasta, The Only Bean Protein Pasta is the best choice. 

An assortment of The Only Bean protein pastas.

This pasta comes in three varieties, each made of a single ingredient. You can choose edamame pasta, soybean pasta, or black soybean pasta. Each variety contains 25 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving, which is very high for a serving of any food, let alone pasta.

For comparison, one serving has about as much protein as you’d expect to see in a standard scoop of the best whey protein powder

Now, the tradeoff comes with the flavor and texture. 

Erin Chancer, CPT, a senior editor here at GGR, tested The Only Bean in all three varieties. She said, “They differ slightly, but each flavor is pretty close to ‘pasta.’ Interesting texture, a little grittier than traditional pasta.”

Freshly cooked black bean pasta from The Only Bean.

She gave the taste a 4.3 out of 5, and the texture a 4 out of 5. They certainly aren’t bad by any means, but not quite as similar to traditional pasta as the other options on our list.

Overall, Erin was pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoyed each pasta. However, she did note that you need to drain the pasta carefully. Each variety tends to hold more water than standard pasta, especially the black soybean pasta. 

Serving Size2 oz dry
Price per box$4.83
Calories per serving190 calories
Protein per serving25 g
Carbs per serving20 g
Fat per serving3.5 to 4 g, depending on the variety
IngredientsOrganic edamame beans, organic black soybeans, organic soybeans.

Other Protein Pasta We Researched

  • Pasta Lensi: Similar to The Only Bean, each of the three varieties of this Italian pasta contains a single ingredient. However, the pasta was out of stock during our testing, and at the time of writing, so we weren’t able to get our hands on a box.
  • Cybele’s Rotini: With 15 grams of protein, a unique ingredient list that contains cauliflower, parsnips, and green lentils, and a “subtle nutty taste,” we were excited to try this pasta. However, like Pasta Lensi, it’s been out of stock for several months, and we’ll never review a product we haven’t personally tested ourselves.

How We Picked and Tested The Best Protein Pasta

We didn’t just read nutrition labels and call it a day–we tested every protein pasta on this list ourselves. 

Our testers ordered the pasta and prepared it exactly as instructed, paying careful attention to the most important categories, like price per serving, taste, formulation, texture, and more. 

To make sure these scores and testing notes were completely unbiased, we graded each pasta using our testing methodology, which rates the most important categories on a scale of 1 to 5. I took these scores and used them to create this list.

Barilla Protein+ Pasta cooked and plain in a bowl

As a foodie and pasta enthusiast, I’ve also enjoyed three of the six kinds of pasta on the list many times over the years. Even though I wasn’t involved in the official testing process, I have plenty of experience cooking with protein pasta. 

Benefits of Protein Pasta

If you’re not quite sold on eating pasta made entirely from edamame or other plant-based sources, you may wonder why you should consider protein pasta in the first place. Here are a few reasons you may want to add protein pasta to your diet. 

Increased Protein Intake

Whether your goal is to build muscle, lose weight, or simply follow a balanced nutrition plan, adequate protein intake is important.

According to GGR Editor Frieda Johnson, a certified nutrition coach, “Using protein pasta is an easy way to increase the protein content of a meal that is traditionally carb-heavy. Since many kinds of protein pasta are made using legumes like chickpeas or lentils, they also tend to have higher fiber content as well. They are a convenient addition to a plant-based diet or for anyone who is trying to get in more protein.”

Cooking Ancient Harvest Protein Pasta

Sure, you can eat more whole-food protein sources, or use a supplement, but protein pasta offers a fun, non-traditional source of protein to add some variety to your diet.

RELATED: High-Protein Foods For Muscle-Building

High Fiber Content

Along with protein, most protein pasta options are rich in fiber, as they’re often made with plant proteins and may include various whole grains. Adequate fiber intake has been associated1 with a variety of health benefits, including improved digestive health, feelings of fullness between meals, improved blood sugar, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. 

It’s not always easy to get enough fiber from your diet, so protein pasta is a great way to boost your daily intake. 

While most options aren’t true low-carb pasta, some individuals prefer to track net carbs, the total carbs minus dietary fiber. If you follow this sort of plan, high-fiber pasta can result in fewer net carbs than regular pasta.

RELATED: Plant vs. Animal Protein

Satiety

Finally, protein pasta is great for increasing satiety, the feeling of fullness between meals. Both protein2 and fiber3 have been shown to improve satiety, which can help support weight loss goals. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, nobody wants to be hungry an hour after finishing a meal.

Dumping Banza protein pasta into a pot.

If you find yourself particularly hungry, swapping out regular pasta for protein pasta may be a helpful strategy.

Buying Guide: What to Look for in Protein Pasta

If you’re having a hard time deciding which protein pasta to choose, here are the most important factors to consider.

Protein Content

This may seem obvious, but not all protein pasta is created equal. In this guide alone, the options we suggest range from 10 to 25 grams of protein per serving. This is significant, especially as many people consume more than one serving at a time.

If your daily protein targets are low, this may not matter as much. However, for those trying to consume significant amounts of protein each day, pasta that’s very high in protein can be a helpful addition to a daily plan. 

Food Sensitivities

Protein pasta is generally plant-based, but it uses a variety of ingredients. For those with no food sensitivities, any of the options in our guide will work. If you know you have issues with a certain ingredient, like wheat, legumes, or specific types of beans, you’ll want to carefully check the ingredient list before purchasing anything.

Price

Finally, you should always consider the price. While no protein pasta is as expensive as a tub of protein powder, the costs can quickly add up, especially if the pasta becomes a staple in your weekly grocery shopping. 

If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to choose a pasta that won’t cause any financial stress if you go through several boxes each week.

FAQs

What pasta is the highest in protein?

The Only Bean Protein Pasta contains 25 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving. This is the highest protein content we’ve seen in pasta so far.

Is pasta with protein better for you?

This depends on your goals. If you’re looking to increase your protein and fiber intake, protein pasta will be a better choice than most standard pasta. However, if you already get enough protein and fiber, and you’re simply looking for a higher carbohydrate content, regular pasta is the better choice.

Is protein pasta worth it?

Yes, in our opinion, protein pasta is worth the additional cost. Many brands aren’t significantly more expensive than standard pasta, and the increased protein and fiber content are well worth it for most people. Protein pasta is usually made from veggies, which may provide additional micronutrients in each serving.

Is Barilla Protein+ pasta healthy?

Yes, Barilla Protein+ Pasta is rich in protein and fiber from plant-based sources, two beneficial ingredients that can support many health goals. As long as you don’t have food sensitivity to any of the ingredients, this is a healthy choice. 

References

  1. Ioniță-Mîndrican CB, Ziani K, Mititelu M, et al. Therapeutic Benefits and Dietary Restrictions of Fiber Intake: A State of the Art Review. Nutrients. 2022;14(13):2641. Published 2022 Jun 26. doi:10.3390/nu14132641
  2. Moon J, Koh G. Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2020;29(3):166-173. doi:10.7570/jomes20028
  3. Clark MJ, Slavin JL. The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(3):200-211. doi:10.1080/07315724.2013.791194

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