There's a lot of hype right now about the difference between whole grain, whole wheat, and refined pasta. Today we're going to look at the difference between whole wheat vs. whole grain pasta, plus why they can be a better option than your regular refined pasta.

Comparing Whole Wheat and Whole Grain Pasta

What is the difference between whole wheat and whole grain pasta? Each of them are made up of three components; bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole grain can be looked at as an umbrella term because whole wheat is a whole grain, but whole grain also includes other grains like wheat, oat, barley, quinoa, rice, and more. Whole wheat on the other hand only contains wheat kernels and no other grains.

Whole wheat and whole grain pasta can be a healthier pasta option for you and your family. Wheat and grain products are known to be healthier choices as they are said to improve cholesterol and glucose levels and help with weight management. Sometimes, making the switch from regular pasta to whole wheat or whole grain is not always easy for pasta lovers or picky eaters. Let's take a deeper look into the two to find out which might be the best fit for you.

Making homemade pasta noodles with pasta maker with some ingredients around.
Making your own pasta can be a super fun activity, and it only takes a few ingredients.


Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain Pasta: Ingredients and Production

Whole wheat pasta is made specifically with the entire wheat kernel that is ground up into flour. The flour is then mixed with eggs (sometimes) and water to create a dough that is later cut and shaped into specific styles of pasta. This can be done at home or at large-scale production.

Whole grain pasta on the other hand can be made with a single type of whole grain or a combination of various whole grains. Grains that are commonly used to make pasta are wheat, barley, corn, quinoa, buckwheat, rye, etc. The process will be identical in how to make pasta, it's the ingredients that differ slightly.

Pasta Carbonara. Spaghetti with bacon, parsel and parmesan cheese.
Whole wheat and whole grain pasta have distinct flavors and should change how you prepare your dish.


Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain Pasta: Taste and Texture

Whole wheat pasta tends to have a nutty flavor. This often does not go well with the acidity of tomato sauce which is why many people decide they don't want to switch away from their regular refined pasta. Wheat pasta is better prepared with an alfredo sauce, pesto, or olive oil and garlic. When it comes to texture, whole wheat is typically going to be chewier and denser than refined pasta.

The flavor of pasta can drastically change depending on the grain used. Generally, whole grain pasta is going to have darker flavor profiles than other refined and processed pasta.

Pro Tip: Peppers or spices add a great flavor to your whole wheat and whole grain pasta dishes.

©Ezume Images/

Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain Pasta: Culinary Uses

Whole grain pastas, including whole wheat pasta, have similar culinary uses. Their distinct flavor does have items that it is best paired with. This pasta goes well with roasted vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, squashes, beets, and carrots. Some spices can go well with these pastas by adding chilies or crushed red pepper to your sauce. And to top it off, a tangy cow milk cheese such as Parmesan or a nutty Fontina are your best options.

Healthy Creamy Hummus pasta with mushroom and roast tomatoes
Whole wheat and whole grain are healthier substitutes for refined and processed pasta.


Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain Pasta: Health Value

Backed by the FDA, whole wheat and whole grain pasta have been claimed to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and certain cancers. These pastas are nutrient dense with protein, complex carbs, fiber, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Whole wheat and whole grain pasta are known to be healthier than regular pasta since regular pasta is refined and the nutrients are stripped away.

Savory farfalle pasta with walnuts pesto, broccoli and parmesan cheese
Both whole wheat and whole grain pasta are great options if you're looking for nutritious pasta.

© Siuta

Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain Pasta: Which is Better?

Ultimately, one is not better than the other since whole wheat is a type of whole grain pasta.

Depending on the type of dish you plan on cooking, certain whole wheat pastas or a combination of whole grain pastas can be a great addition to any meal. Overall, they are more nutritious than their processed competitor, have more fiber which leaves you feeling fuller, and can often be used as a healthier substitute.

Our Favorite Pasta Recipes

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