We have already talked about all the rage gluten-free pasta is today. One of the most popular gluten-free pasta variants is brown rice pasta. It is pretty self-evident that this feel-good food is made from the fiber-rich grain, brown rice.
People who are averse to whole wheat and flour based products usually find their refuge in this nutritious alternative. Mild-flavored and just the right amount of chewy, brown rice pasta can easily be your next pick for a sumptuous lunch.
However, like the dispute between the nutritive profile of brown bread and white bread, rice-based pasta is also subject to this debate. While rice-based pasta is a great alternative to wheat and flour pasta, people are doubtful if it is as good as durum wheat pasta or not, when it comes to taste and nutritional profile.
Due to the excessive refinement and processing that food products like pasta go through, we’d say that it is valid enough to be concerned about the amount of actual nutritious content left in them. Branding and marketing such foods as superfoods, thus, can be misleading and breach consumer trust.
While rice noodles and pasta are gluten-free products & great for those with gluten intolerance, concerns around their nutritional profile are valid because gluten-free does not necessarily mean healthy. Therefore, this article will tell you all that you should know about brown rice pasta and how healthy it actually is. Look out for our suggestions for the 6 best brown rice pasta brands as you read below.
What is Brown Rice Pasta?
Currently, the market is brimming with alternatives to wheat pasta. Among these choices are lentil pasta, quinoa pasta and pasta made from chickpea and corn. However, the most popular gluten-free pasta on the shelves is rice pasta made from both white and brown rice.
And there’s no points in guessing what brown rice pasta is made of.
Brown Rice vs Pasta – Which is Better? Calories, Protein, Fats, Fiber
Brown rice is often dubbed as a superfood by many, and for valid reasons. A single serving of such pasta consists of nearly three grams of fiber as compared to regular pasta.
It can also supply you with an ample dose of micronutrients like selenium, manganese and magnesium.
Pasta made from brown rice is singled out for its texture and taste.
You need not worry about your pasta turning mushy from some extra cooking time in the water. Pasta made from brown rice is sturdier and you can never go wrong with it.
Coupled with a lip smacking sauce, your choice of veggies and a sprinkling of nuts on top with some good old olive oil- brown rice pasta with its mildly chewy texture will surely impress you.
As for whether it’s healthy or not, that depends largely on your diet, generally speaking. It’s important to balance your macronutrients and micronutrients, and figure out where brown rice pasta fits into it.
But integrating a serving or two of this gluten-free goodie makes it easier for you to achieve a well-rounded diet profile than regular pasta. Due to its lower carbohydrate content, higher fibre content, and better micronutrient profile, brown rice pasta sounds like a treat which is also full of health benefits.
Are Rice Noodles Gluten Free?
Yes, rice based noodles are absolutely gluten free. It has additional benefits, besides being palatable to those who are allergic to gluten.
One of these benefits is that brown rice noodles are quite filling and can help you in reducing some weight. If you find yourself wondering why Asians have a comparatively less obesity ratio despite eating like literal kings (Don’t fool us by saying you haven’t drooled over Vietnamese Pho, Pad Thai or a scrumptious and healthy looking bowl of Japanese Ramen), it’s because they thrive on rice and rice based products coupled with other nutritive sources such as soy-based products like Miso, foods that are mostly steamed rather than fried and including fresh greens.
Of course, it depends on you on how you wish to cook it. But gluten-free rice pasta yields the best possible results only when they are consumed in a way without destroying their whole grain profile, as well as small portions that prevent you from overeating in order to finish everything on your plate.
Along with being rich in manganese and selenium, rice noodles like brown rice pasta are also abundant in phosphorus. Besides being gluten-free, rice noodles are also quite healthy.
What is So Special About Brown Rice Pasta and Noodles?
Brown rice pasta is considered a specialty by many. Aside from being one of the best gluten-free pasta alternatives, pasta made from brown rice is preferred because of its nutritional value. We all love experimenting with different grains. The obsession goes beyond replacing them with each other as and when the need for it arises.
Replacing whole wheat or refined flour with a whole, unprocessed grain like brown rice in pasta and noodles isn’t really new, but it is special. Given the mild and chewy texture, brown rice noodles and pasta are a hit among gluten-free consumers and those who like that perfect amount of bite and flavor in their pasta dishes. It also has an earthy taste to it which is quite unique.
Anyway, taste and texture aside – rice pasta and noodles are all the rage due to their nutritional value.
Surely, durum wheat pasta is considered to be a wholesome meal on its own, but some cuisines where rice is the staple ingredient make their noodles and pasta from rice flour.
We must have also mentioned that rice pasta is a gluten free alternative and is preferred mostly by those who like to savor flour based food, but can’t because Celiac disease or gluten intolerance holds them back.
However, the drift towards products made from whole grains has made brown rice pasta immensely popular today.
Whole grains and legumes have significantly more fiber and protein than processed, refined grains. This is also the reason why they are considered as one of the most effective superfoods that can keep your gut healthy , prevent bloating and keep you energized throughout the day.
This is why food made from whole grains and legumes like buckwheat, chickpea, red lentil, millets and corn are replacing refined flour based food products.
There are more benefits of transitioning to such whole grain foods like brown rice pasta. Here are some details that will help you figure how to incorporate it in your diet-
Delving into the nutritional value of brown rice pasta, we find that it has a moderate calorie count. It isn’t too high on calories like pasta made from refined flour, but it isn’t so low that it doesn’t fulfil your calorie requirements.
A cup of cooked brown rice pasta has 190 calories which means that it can meet up to 10 percent of your daily calorie needs. Eating small servings in moderation is a good way to incorporate this food in your diet.
Bringing the Best of Both Worlds
It will be a better way to look at the merits of brown rice pasta as the best of both worlds. Brown rice is high in antioxidants and a moderate glycemic index.
It means that it can keep you full for a longer time as it takes longer to digest and reduces unnecessary calorie intake. You won’t find yourself reaching out for a bar of head achingly sweet chocolate or potato crisps after having a go at a small bowl of brown rice pasta.
Pasta is a food that is highly rich in complex carbs and therefore, has a moderate glycemic index. This makes it safe for people with type 2 diabetes.
Therefore, brown rice pasta brings to you the best of both worlds – and you won’t feel like you have settled for less, even if you’re eating it over regular pasta because you cannot eat gluten.
Protein, Carbs and Fiber Galore!
Brown rice pasta is perfect for those who are looking for a power punch of carbohydrates, fiber and protein. A single 2-ounce serving of this gluten free pasta/noodle alternative can give you 40 percent carbs, 3 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein.
Another fun fact about brown rice pasta is that it can supply about 8 percent of your daily Iron needs. Brimming with antioxidants, a serving of brown rice pasta paired with veggies is good in preventing the risk of chronic disease.
It also contains manganese, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus.
The 6 Best Brown Rice Pasta and Noodles You Should Sample Right Away!
We understand that with so many products around, you might be averse to the tactics of greenwashing. What if your brown rice pasta isn’t actually made of it and is not ethically sourced? Would that make you the spawn of Satan *cue evil laughter*?
No. But, it can make you an unsuspecting consumer who fell for a marketing gimmick of some brand that is masquerading as healthy and ethical.
This is why we bring to you our curated list of the best brown rice pasta brands we could find. If you are thinking about beginning your tryst with this wholesome alternative, your search ends here. Pick any of the following and cook up a storm!
Thrive Market’s Brown Rice Pasta is the first choice on this list because of myriad reasons – it’s organic, soy-free and sugar-free and a safe treat for vegans and vegetarians alike. Packed with the goodness of brown rice, this variant comes in fun shapes like Penne, Shells, Fusilli and Spaghetti. Each box of Thrive Market’s weighs 16 oz and is priced at $3.99 each which makes it quite a steal deal. It also has the B Corp certification which is a private standard determining if a for-profit company is meeting high standards of social and environmental performance.
Available for sale on Amazon as well as their own website, Tinkyada is a brand preferred by several consumers. Exclusively focused on making pasta from brown rice, Tinkyada has been in business for 25 years and never has it failed its fans even once. Their brown rice pasta Spaghetti is made from whole-grain, organic brown rice and is Non-GMO Project verified, USDA Organic certified, Certified Vegan, Certified Gluten-Free and Certified Kosher.
Next up is Bionaturae’s Brown Rice and Lentil Spaghetti which is 100% organic as certified by USDA Organic. Moreover, it is a safe treat to indulge in for those who are allergic to soy or gluten. Bionaturae promises the same texture as regular pasta and is made in a gluten-free facility, which is a great reason for trusting this brand. USDA Organic, Allergen Free and Glyphosate Residue Free certified, this pasta is no mean joke. Priced at $4.59, Bionaturae is a decent buy.
Made in Canada in a premier gluten-free facility, Cadia’s brown rice spaghetti pasta is made from simple ingredients and gives you that perfect al dente texture (of course when cooked right) which tastes delicious with a scrumptious sauce. Cadia also carries Non-GMO verified, vegan and certified gluten-free certifications that make it a trusty brand when it comes to premium brown rice pasta. The product comes in other variants, but the composition stays the same. Count on Cadia for being one of the best, yet extremely grounded and authentic about their products.
Speaking of organic brown rice noodles, we can’t miss out on Annie Chun’s Maifun Brown Rice Noodles.
If you savor Asian dishes with a rich broth and ramen-style fun on the plate, these 100% whole grain noodles are a treat you will enjoy.
The brand offers other varieties of brown rice noodles such as Pad Thai Brown Rice Noodles, available here on Amazon. Free of preservatives, non-GMO and vegan, these noodles are safe to eat for everyone.
What Is Our Take on Gluten-Free Pasta Made from Brown Rice?
Brown rice pasta is excellent for those who need to eat gluten-free or who need a lower carb, higher fiber alternative. However, you must remember to watch out for valid certifications that tell you whether the pasta is organic (USDA organic), non-GMO (Non-GMO Project) and fairly made (B-Corp, Fairtrade).
Now don’t just buy brown rice pasta because we or anyone else is telling you to. Do your research and test the waters before embracing the wave. It may be that you prefer whole wheat pasta to brown rice pasta, or simply, brown rice over pasta to cater to your nutritional requirements and suit your tastes.
For a transition that is truly healthy, it must not just suit your body, but also be something that you like and will be able to consistently maintain. There is no one size fits all approach as far as gluten-free pasta is concerned. Choose wisely, take your budget into account and invest in whole grain food after consulting your physician/nutritionist and listening to what your body needs.
Brown rice pasta isn’t going to pump up your health on its own unless it is accompanied by an ample dose of vegetables, protein, additional fiber and some control on your part. Couple your diet with enough exercise to reap the benefits of this gluten-free, superfood-derived product and you are good to go!