Good News:
Pasta is Healthy!

Make today the last day you pass on penne, snub spaghetti or refuse rigatoni. It's time to learn the true nutritional value of pasta, a versatile and healthy food.

By Vicki Martinez

Good News: Pasta is Healthy!

Make today the last day you pass on penne, snub spaghetti or refuse rigatoni. It's time to learn the true nutritional value of pasta, a versatile and healthy food.

By Vicki Martinez

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What do the popular Mediterranean-style diet (scientifically backed as one of the healthiest diets in the world) and Italian cooking have in common? Pasta is a staple in both. So, why does the humble and healthy noodle have such a bad rap? Keep reading to understand the misunderstanding of pasta health benefits.

Take Pride in Penne: The Nutritional Value of Pasta

Yes, pasta has carbs. Contrary to modern belief, that’s a good thing! Pasta is a complex carbohydrate, meaning it’s digested slower, keeps you full longer and steadies blood sugar levels.

No saturated
or trans fat

Low-fat food (less than 1 gram per serving)

Zero cholesterol

7 grams of protein (per 2-ounce serving-dry)

Good source of fiber* with 3g/serving, enriched with folate/iron

*Fiber varies by brand.

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Perfect Pasta Portions

To enjoy the true nutritional value of pasta, treat it the same way as any other food—everything in moderation. Any healthy diet requires portion control. And so it is with pasta nutrition.

To keep the carbs and calories down, complement pasta with colorful vegetables, lean proteins and fresh herbs.

By following the recommended serving size per person—2 ounces of dry pasta equals 1 cup of cooked pasta—pasta accounts for only 200 calories in your dish.

Use Barilla’s Easy Portion Reference Guide for a helpful visual for measuring portions.

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Gluten-Free Penne with Chicken Vodka Sauce

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Angel Hair with Kale Walnut Pesto

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Whole Grain Spaghetti with Beets

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Mezzi Rigatoni with Pesto, Leeks and Squash

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Pasta Pairings

Salad is healthy, right?

But drenching it in dressing and piling it high with croutons quickly takes healthy out of the equation. The same is true when preparing an Italian-style dish. To maintain the nutritional value of pasta, choose healthy toppings.

Pesto: A unique Italian flavor and a little goes a long way.

Marinara: Improve pasta nutrition by pairing it with a healthy tomato-based marinara.

Extra-virgin Olive Oil: Substitute high-calorie butter with a quality EVOO.

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Take advantage of pasta health benefits by including this glorious food in your meal planning. No more will you reject rotini, shun shells or give campanelle the cold-shoulder. 

Need inspiration? Choose your favorite ingredients--from oils, herbs and vegetables to cheeses and proteins — and create a unique, healthy dish using Barilla's Pasta Recipe Builder.