Several Fooducate community members recently asked us about veggie pasta and wanted to know if it is a better choice compared to plain. Great question!
Let’s take a look at Barilla Veggie Penne Pasta, for example. It comes with added tomatoes and carrots. A standard 2-ounce serving has 200 calories, 8 grams of protein (10-15% of the daily value), and is a naturally good source of vitamin A. There are only 2 grams of fiber (8% of the daily value).
Here is the ingredient list:
Semolina (wheat), Durum Flour, tomato puree, carrot puree (carrot, lemon juice concentrate, water), Niacin, Iron (Ferrous Sulfate), Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic acid.
Compare to the standard Barilla Penne product, which has these ingredients:
Semolina, Durum Flour, Niacin, Iron (Ferrous Sulfate), Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid.
The only difference between these two products is the tomato and carrot purees. Although the purees may add vitamin C and vitamin A compared to the plain pasta, the fiber content of both pastas is identical – just 2 grams.
Since most people enjoy their pasta with a tomato based sauce, adding tomato and carrot purees to the pasta ingredients for their vitamin A and C content does not make sense.
On the other hand, a grain product should provide a higher level of fiber, and the veggie pasta does not. So how about a third and even better choice – whole grain pasta? Here is the ingredient list for Barilla’s Whole Grain Penne:
Whole grain durum wheat flour, semolina (wheat), durum wheat flour, oat fiber.
This pasta boasts 6 grams of fiber per serving, 3 times as much as the other 2. A much better choice.