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Whole Wheat pasta best recipes

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I want to incorporate more whole wheat pasta into meals, but my boyfriend is a pasta purist and in general isn't crazy about switching over often. Just wondering if you might share any whole wheat pasta recipes that are "better" with whole wheat than traditional that he might enjoy....

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  1. Have you tried soba (Japanese buckwheat) noodles? They are very tasty with a Thai-style peanut butter dressing. I did this the other day with a couple spoonfuls of crunchy pb, some soy sauce, sesame oil, and chopped snap peas. Good served cold too.

    Also, if you're making a very sauce-heavy pasta dish, especially tomato sauce, it should cover the taste of the whole wheat noodles.

    1. For an Italian version: stick with stronger flavoured sauces like puttanesca (tomatoes, capers, garlic, olives, anchovies), norma (tomatoes, garlic, eggplant) or something with sausage, tomatoes & peppers. There's also a very rich pasta dish they eat in the alps called "pizzoccheri" that uses buckwheat pasta. It includes: butter, sage, parmigiano cheese (lots), fontina cheese (lots), potatoes, garlic, and greens (usually swiss chard or leafy green cabbage).

      For an asian version, i used to buy a yummy soba noodle salad from whole foods that included: red peppers, mushrooms, fresh red chile, tofu, sesame seeds, cilantro, chives, garlic, ginger, sesame oil & soy sauce. seemed to really work well with the whole wheat flavour.

      1. I don't have any recipes in particular that are "better", as I rarely use regular pasta anymore. But I can mention that when we started using WW pasta, we would slowly incorporate it in. For a 2 oz serving, we would use 1 oz regular and 1 oz WW. Now all we eat is WW and no one misses the old stuff.

        I do agree with the above as well, that tomato based sauces cover the initial taste difference quite well.

        1. Try Barilla Whole Grain pasta ... it's 51% whole wheat as opposed to 100%. That 49% difference makes this pasta appealing even to those who dislike whole wheat. Best of all, you're getting the benefits of eating whole wheat and *all* sauces are well accepted by this pasta.

          Barilla --> http://www.barillaus.com/Home/Pages/B...

          1. I like the nutty taste of ww pasta with pesto and vegis--asparagus, mushrooms, zucchin, parm chese. Good hot or as a pasta salad.

            1. My answer. None. Last night I tried whole wheat linguini in a lemony white wine sauce with seafood at my fave italian restaurant. It was like eating flattened whole wheat bread. I joked that it's a good way to reduce my pasta intake. I second the Barilla whole grain rec. And if you really want to use w.w. pasta, bake it with strongly flavored sauces & cheese.

              1. Okay, buckin' the trend here. I actually prefer a white sauce with WW pasta.
                Although I use butter for the roux, if you use skim milk or canned skimmed evap, it's not too rich. Lots of sauteed onions, mushrooms, and/or maybe spinach, and/or maybe cannelini beans. In this case, I prefer my tomatoes fresh, sliced, on the side, with a sprinkling of Parm.

                Also, check out Barilla Plus pasta. Yellow box. I couldn't grab a link to paste in here, but it's a multi-grain pasta, not quite as assertive as WW, but good protein.

                Alternatively, eat the white stuff and throw a couple of tablespoonsful of wheat or oat bran in your morning smoothie and call it even!

                1 Reply
                1. re: nemo

                  The specific brand of WW pasta makes a huge difference. Agree with Snorkelvik, Nemo and others who recommend the Barilla Plus. If you've got a Whole Foods nearby (Whole Paycheck discussion nothwithstanding), their store brand WW spaghetti is very good -- not as strongly flavored as some of what Trader Joe's carries -- and not significantly more expensive than Barilla Plus would be.

                2. I like to render good bacon and then use some of the fat to soften shallots and garlic and wilt spinach or some other green. Then I add chicken stock, parmesan, ww pasta, and the bacon and call it a meal.

                  1. Hi... I don't have a recipe, but I do have some other transitional suggestions, because I too want to use more whole wheat pasta, though I don't like the flavor or texture. Cooks Illustrated did an article on whole wheat pasta brands, and they pointed out that Eden Organic (but not Eden Biodynamic) and Bionaturae are good, but *not* wheaty tasting--they're semolina and whole wheat blends. I haven't found the Eden Organic, but the Bionaturae is great and, as per the article, not too wheaty, especially if you get spaghettini instead of spaghetti. You can eat the spaghettini the way you usually eat your semolina pasta, without really noticing that it's got whole wheat in it at all.

                    Also, since whole wheat pasta does seem to tend to have a thicker texture and an oddish cinnamony taste sometimes, I'd put it in very highly flavored dishes with Sicilian or North African influences, and with other chewy things like chard and raisins.

                    1. My two favorite sauces for whole wheat pasta are 1) a chipotle beurre blanc (I use chipotle sauce in place of the vinegar) with salmon or smoked salmon and/or broccoli and 2) steamed spinach and artichoke hearts with lemon, garlic and parmesan.

                      1. It also works in a baked ziti where you substitute goat cheese for the ricotta and use a spicy meat-based sauce - good comfort food.

                        1. I've been trying to cook with whole wheat pasta more, but I can't seem to figure out how to get the texture right. It either tastes grainy (undercooked) or like soggy cardboard (overcooked). I've been checking it every minute after 10 mins, but I've never gotten it al dente. Does whole wheat pasta just taste weird?

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                          1. re: juliaz

                            There are some really good whole wheat pastas now and my hubby used to be like your bf but now he prefers the whole wheat pasta. One little thing I do when cooking it is add Hawaiian rock salt into the water when it is boiling. This salt is the best and brings out the best flavor in pasta. One of my fav. things to do with whole wheat spaghetti noodles is make a bolognese to go on top. This is amazing!