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Low FODMAP Pasta: What Are Your Choices?

You are following a low fodmap diet, and let’s be real, it’s a challenge! The last thing you need is to give up your comfort foods, like pasta. Is there a low fodmap pasta that is safe for you to eat?

Stick with me and we will sort it out so you know exactly what pasta you can eat, and how much. I will also test drive a few of those pasta brands for you. Let’s get started.

Things to Know About Low Fodmap Pasta

A low FODMAP diet is not just a list of foods that you can’t touch. It is also about the amount of food that you eat. You can probably tolerate FODMAPS up to a certain amount. Then you get tipped over into irritable bowel symptoms.

You might be surprised to learn that you can even eat wheat pasta – yes, your favorite pasta – if you are able to stick to a ½ cup serving. 

My information comes from the Monash FODMAP app, which is the gold standard for low FODMAP dietary guidelines. Monash University, in Australia, created this app. They diligently test foods to keep an accurate and up-to-date FODMAP list.

Monash uses a red, yellow and green light system to let you know whether a food is allowed, and how much of that food you can eat.

The serving size that is allowed by the Monash app assumes that you aren’t also eating other FODMAP foods at the same time. Think of it as a bucket that you can fill – if you fill it up with pasta, you are not going to fit anything else in without consequences.

Of course, you are ultimately responsible for what you eat, and if you know that a certain food is going to set you off, don’t eat it, even if Monash says it is okay! Know your own body and test foods out in small amounts.

Learn more about the low FODMAP diet.

Quinoa Pasta

Quinoa pasta is low FODMAP. You should be able to eat a cup of quinoa pasta at a meal with no ill effects. That being said, I have not found a pasta made with only quinoa. They usually have rice and amaranth added, which makes me think you can’t make a great pasta just with quinoa. 

If you know differently, let me know in the comments.

Chickpea Pasta

Chickpeas are a FODMAP food because they contain galactans. However you may be able to eat up to a cup of chickpea pasta. This is because the galactans can leach out into cooking water when you boil the pasta. (Canned chickpeas can also be eaten in small amounts.)

Banza Chickpea Pasta

Boxes of Banza spaghetti and cavatappi, with bowls of the cooked products.

Banza chickpea pasta holds its shape very well, but does not have the springy texture of wheat pasta. The spaghetti is slightly grainy, with a definite flavor. 

After some consideration I decided it is the flavor of chickpeas. The pasta kind of disintegrates in your mouth as you chew it, and it really feels like you are eating a mouthful of chickpeas.

Banza Chickpea Cavatappi also has a good shape and structure. But, like the spaghetti, it has the texture and flavor of eating chickpeas.

Corn Pasta

Corn contains the polyol sorbitol, so is a FODMAP food. Whether you can eat it depends on how it is prepared and the amount you eat. 

Sweet corn, and canned corn kernels contain sorbitol. Corn used to make flour and tortillas is lower in sorbitol. So, a limited amount of corn tortillas, grits, polenta, tamales, pupusas and arepas are allowed on the low FODMAP diet. 

Pasta made with corn is also low in sorbitol, so you can eat one serving, which is about a cup. 

I have not had pasta made with only corn. However, corn is a frequently mixed with other grains in gluten free pastas. For instance, Schär makes spaghetti that is a blend of rice and corn flour. Many of the other pastas I talk about in this post contain corn.

Rice Pasta

Rice is a low FODMAP food, and you can safely eat gluten free pastas made with rice. Again, Monash recommends limiting your serving to one cup. 

Jovial and Tinkyada both make a high quality gluten free rice pasta.

Tinkyada Spirals

A cooked sample of Tinkyada gluten free pasta spirals.

Tinkyada brown rice pasta has a good taste and texture. However when you take it out of the water it will have a starchy coating. 

The directions say to rinse the pasta with cold water for superb texture, and this does get rid of that starch. However you don’t always want to rinse your spaghetti with cold water. I don’t rinse spaghetti, but if you are using the spirals for pasta salad, definitely rinse them.

At $4.79 for a 16 ounce package of spaghetti, Tinkyada is a bit more pricey than some of the other name brands. But an extra $2.00 is worth it for a good quality spaghetti.

Read a review of Tinkyada pasta.

Spelt Pasta

Spelt contains fructans, and you do not want to eat more than a ½ cup serving. This is not a common grain to find in store bought pastas. If you are on a low FODMAP diet, I would stick with grains that are safer to eat.

Gluten-Free vs Low FODMAP Pasta

An assortment of packages of gluten free pasta.

It is generally safe to eat gluten free pasta on the low FODMAP diet. However, it is not the gluten that is a problem. It is the wheat, which contains fructans. 

According to Monash, you can still eat wheat pasta as long as you limit yourself to no more than ½ cup serving. This is not much pasta, and you might just want to find a good variety that doesn’t contain wheat. 

Many gluten free pastas are a mixture of different grains, and it is important to check the ingredient list and see if there is anything there that you know you cannot tolerate.

Here are some of the common gluten free pasta varieties in the US grocery stores.

Ronzoni Spaghetti

Ronzoni makes gluten-free spaghetti with a blend of white rice, brown rice, corn and quinoa. This spaghetti has a smaller diameter than regular spaghetti, so right away you know it is not the real thing. 

The taste is very mild, and the texture is so soft that it is just on the edge of being mushy.

Mueller Spaghetti

Mueller makes gluten free pasta with a corn and rice blend. This pasta takes longer to cook than the directions say it will. 

Even after this longer cooking time, the texture is very chewy and slightly grainy. The spaghetti strands are the same size as regular spaghetti, but with a much yellower color.

Barilla Spaghetti

Barilla spaghetti gets higher marks than Ronzoni and Mueller. This company makes gluten free pasta with corn and rice flour. It has a distinctly yellow color. 

There is not a lot of flavor in this pasta, but the springy, chewy texture is very similar to a wheat pasta. It does not feel mushy. If you pair it up with a sauce that can add flavor, this is a good choice.

Rummo Spaghetti

Rummo spaghetti is the closest I have found to regular wheat spaghetti. The size and the color of the spaghetti strands is very similar to wheat. Rummo is made in Italy with rice and corn. Of course the Italians are going to make great pasta, even if it is gluten free. 

Rummo is more expensive than the American brands, but still not out of reach. I paid $4.19 for a 12 ounce pack of Rummo, while a 12 oz box of Ronzoni was $2.79. I think it was worth the extra dollar or two for a superior product.

Cooked Samples of gluten free Mueller, Ronzoni, Rummo and Barilla spaghetti.
Clockwise from top left: Mueller, Rummo, Ronzoni, Barilla

The Pocket Storehouse Wheat Sourdough Pasta

If you live in Australia, you are in luck! This country is home to the only wheat pasta that is certified by Monash as low FODMAP. The Pocket Storehousemakes this wheat sourdough pasta. Check out their website to see all their interesting products.

Sadly, The Pocket Storehouse does not ship products overseas.

 

What To Put On Your Pasta

The main things for you to watch out for in a pasta sauce are onions and garlic. I know, onions and garlic are the soul of pasta sauce. However, they are also red light FODMAP foods. You do not want to eat them at all on the low FODMAP diet.

You can use a garlic infused oil to get that garlic flavor, since the oil infusion does not contain the sugars that create FODMAP symptoms.

Fresh tomatoes are not high FODMAP, but when you start to use concentrated tomato paste you can get enough fructose to cause symptoms. For this reason, I would stay away from commercial brands of pasta sauce unless they are marked low FODMAP.

Stay away from cream based pasta sauces, as they contain lactose.

You can find many recipes for low FODMAP pasta sauces online.

Check out Fody Foods  to find a variety of low FODMAP pasta sauces.

Prego also makes a Sensitive Recipe Low FODMAP Pasta Sauce.  

Can I Put Parmesan Cheese on My Low Fodmap Pasta?

According to the Monash app, you can eat 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese at your low fodmap meal. So go ahead and sprinkle parmesan on your pasta!

H2: The Last Morsel

Why suffer without pasta on a low FODMAP diet? Using the Monash app as a guide, we find that there are quite a few varieties of pasta that you can eat.

Quinoa and rice are low FODMAP grains used to make gluten free pasta. These are often in combined with other grains. 

Chickpeas and corn are both on the FODMAP list. However the type of corn used in pasta is lower in FODMAPs than sweet corn. The cooking water can also leach away FODMAPs when you boil pasta.

Spelt and wheat both contain fructans. You may still be able to eat pastas made with these grains, but should limit yourself to a half cup serving.

Gluten free pastas are usually safe to eat, since they do not contain wheat.

Pasta sauces are another story. Common ingredients like tomato paste, onion and garlic can add a lot of FODMAPS to a sauce. It is best to either make your own, or buy a brand that is labeled low FODMAP.

What is your experience with the low FODMAP diet? Have you found pasta that you love? 

If you are embarking on this diet and confused about what to eat, I can help! I provide personalized nutrition counseling to guide you through the diet and get you out the other side.

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