Low FODMAP pasta: exploring nutritious options and tasty recipes

by | Apr 1, 2024 | Low FODMAP | 0 comments

Pasta is an easy and versatile mealtime option that can satisfy the whole family and makes great leftovers.  Unfortunately, traditional pasta is also the source of gas and bloating for a lot of people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome.  Thankfully though, low FODMAP pasta is readily available so pasta lovers on the low FODMAP diet need not give up their favourite dish.

Today we’ll explore low FODMAP pasta varieties and common brands, tips for getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, and tempting recipes that will leave you with a serious pasta craving.

What is low FODMAP pasta?

As you might already know, our bodies don’t digest FODMAPs so they end up in the large intestine where bacteria break them down and release gas as a by-product in a process called fermentation.  Traditional wheat pasta contains fructans, which is a highly fermentable FODMAP and the main culprit in post-pasta belly bloat.

Therefore, low FODMAP pasta is any pasta noodle not made from wheat, and instead made from grains (and pulses) that are low in FODMAPs.

It’s easy to assume that low FODMAP pasta must be gluten-free pasta since the latter is always wheat-free, but there’s a catch.  Some gluten-free pasta is made with high FODMAP ingredients such as amaranth flour, black bean flour and lentil flour.  This is why it’s important to check food labels to ensure your pasta is indeed low FODMAP.

How to pick low FODMAP pasta?

Since you can’t completely rely on gluten-free pasta also being low FODMAP, here are some steps to take to strengthen your odds of selecting a true low FODMAP pasta.

1. Start with gluten-free

When choosing a low FODMAP option, first look for pastas advertised as gluten-free. These should be easy to find as many pasta companies now make gluten-free varieties, and most neighbourhood grocery stores sell gluten-free products.

2. Check for certified low FODMAP pasta

Next, scan the package for low FODMAP certification.  Monash University and Fodmap Friendly both have low FODMAP certification programs that guarantee a product is low FODMAP based on lab testing.  The two symbols below represent these certifications.

Schar is a company that makes low FODMAP pasta which has been certified low FODAMP by Monash.

Low fodmap certification symbols by monash university and fodmap friendly

3. Refer to the Monash FODMAP app

If you can’t locate one of these certification symbols, then check the Monash FODMAP app.  The app will tell you which types of pasta are low FODMAP and at what serving sizes.

Common low FODMAP pasta varieties per the Monash FODMAP app:

  • Brown rice pasta
  • Chickpea pasta (up to 1 cup cooked per the app)
  • Gluten-free pasta made with corn and rice flour
  • Quinoa pasta
  • Soba noodles (100% buckwheat pasta noodles)
  • Wheat pasta – yup, you read that correctly!  One half cup cooked wheat pasta is low FODMAP, so if you steal a few penne from your husband’s plate while eating out on the low FODMAP diet, you should be fine.

4. Read the ingredients list

The next step involves referring to the ingredients list.  If any of the following flours are listed in the first 3 ingredients, it’s possible that the pasta is not low FODMAP, so put it back on the shelf and slowly back away:

  • Amaranth flour
  • Soy flour
  • Red lentil flour
  • Black bean flour

When shopping for soba noodles (traditionally made from buckwheat flour), always check the ingredients list as many soba noodle products contain wheat flour. Ideally, you’re looking for soba noodles made from 100% buckwheat flour.

Infographic explaining how to pick low fodmap pasta

Who knew choosing a low FODMAP pasta could be so difficult? Ya, I know. That’s why I included a list of dietitian-reviewed low FODMAP pasta options below.

Low FODMAP pasta brands

Your nearby grocery store will likely sell at least a few gluten-free varieties of common pasta brands.  For more selection, pop into larger grocery stores, or dedicated gluten-free or specialty food shops.  Failing that, there’s always Amazon.

Examples of low FODMAP pasta:

  • Barilla gluten-free (elbows, fettuccine, lasagna, penne, rotini, spaghetti)
  • Catelli gluten-free (fusilli, spaghetti, penne, macaroni, linguine)
  • Eden (100% buckwheat soba noodles)
  • Explore Cuisine (chickpea fusilli)
  • GoGo Quinoa (macaroni, lasagna, spaghetti, fusilli)
  • ItalPasta gluten-free (fusilli, penne, spaghetti, lasagna)
  • Jovial gluten-free (spaghetti, penne, fusilli, elbows, capellini, farfalle, lasagna, shells, fettuccini, manicotti) – Check Jovial’s website for store locations in Canada (eg. in Ottawa: Herb & Spice, Whole Foods)
  • La Molisana gluten-free (fusilli, penne, spaghetti)
  • President’s Choice gluten-free (spaghetti, penne, fusilli, macaroni)
  • Rizopia gluten-free (elbows, shells, lasagna, fusilli, fettuccini, spaghetti, penne)
  • Rummo gluten free (potato gnocchi, penne, elbows, fusilli, rigatoni, linguine, elicoidali, spaghetti, stelline). Rummo also makes a gluten-free chickpea and brown rice fusilli that’s higher in fibre.
  • Schar gluten-free (fusilli, penne, spaghetti) – Monash certified low FODMAP
  • Tinkyada gluten-free (elbows, shells, penne, fusilli, spirals, spaghetti, fettuccini)

Tips for making healthy pasta meals

Processing wheat into flour results in a loss of micronutrients such as iron, folate, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.  In Canada, these nutrients must be added back into the flour in a process called “enrichment“.

Unfortunately, Health Canada does not require gluten-free flours to be enriched, so gluten-free low FODMAP pasta can be a little low on micronutrients.  It can also suffer from low fibre content, which doesn’t align well with the goal of eating high fibre low FODMAP foods during the elimination phase of the diet.

So, after identifying a few low FODMAP pasta options you’d like to try, check the nutrition facts table and opt for the higher fibre option.

A few fibre and nutrition standouts include: GoGo Quinoa’s fusilli and macaroni, (6g fibre per 85g dry pasta), Explore Cuisine’s chickpea pasta (9g fibre per 85g pasta) and Rummo’s chickpea and brown rice fusilli (4g fibre per 85g dry pasta).

In addition to choosing higher fibre pasta, there are a few tricks to whipping up healthy pasta meals:

  • Bump up the fibre by adding some canned and rinsed lentils or chickpeas to the meal – for example: replacing half the ground beef with lentils in spaghetti.
  • Create a balanced meal that looks like a mash up of the healthy plate model: 1/2 plate vegetables, 1/4 plate whole grains, 1/4 plate protein.
  • Add lots of vegetables to your pasta.
  • Aim for a similar ratio of pasta to protein when using meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • If you’re preparing a vegan or vegetarian pasta dish, opt for chickpea pasta as it’s a good source of protein.
  • Have a side salad when making recipes that don’t call for many vegetables (eg. pasta carbonara).

Low FODMAP pasta sauces

Pasta meals rely on sauces that are often chock-full of garlic and onion.  In the case of cream sauces, they may also contain lactose.  There are two solutions to this conundrum: make sauce from scratch and omit garlic and onion, or buy pre-prepared low FODMAP sauces.

Pasta sauce from scratch

Pre-prepared pasta sauce

  • Fody Foods makes low FODMAP pasta sauces: marinara, tomato basil, vegan bolognese, arrabbiata.
  • Rao’s Homemade Sensitive Marinara – no garlic or onions (on Amazon.ca for Canadians).
  • Prego Sensitive traditional tomato pasta sauce – no garlic or onions (available in the US)

So without further ado, let’s explore the wonderful world of low FODMAP pasta recipes.

Tempting low FODMAP pasta recipes

This first low FODMAP pasta recipe is from a collection of healthy and delicious recipes available in my low FODMAP meal plans.  These 5-day meal plans provide highly customizable low FODMAP meals and snacks that will help keep you organized as you navigate the low FODMAP diet.

If you peek below my recipe, you’ll find a curated list of other enticing low FODMAP pasta recipes that will show you just how many delicious options exist on the low FODMAP diet.

Bowl of low fodmap noodles with peanut sauce

Low FODMAP vegetable noodle bowl with peanut sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 14 oz extra firm tofu chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups green beans tips cut off
  • 6 oz soba noodles (100% buckwheat)
  • 1 pepper, red sliced
  • 5 green onions chopped, green tips only
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil garlic-infused
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Peanut sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 6 Tbsp water warm
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter creamy
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (3 limes juiced)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce

Instructions
 

Peanut sauce instructions

  • Grate the ginger. Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Prepare noodles, tofu and vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Prepare noodles according to their package instructions.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange 1" tofu cubes in a single layer on one of the baking sheets, and green beans on the second baking sheet. Spray both lightly with cooking oil.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then remove green beans. Bake tofu for another 20 minutes until golden brown. Set both aside when done.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil on medium heat in saute pan. Saute green onions until soft.
  • Add sliced peppers to saute pan and saute until al dente, then turn heat to low and add tofu, green beans, peanut sauce (see directions above) and amount of cooked noodles desired. Stir well to coat in peanut sauce and cook until warmed through.
  • Serve topped with diced cilantro and lime wedges.
Keyword low fodmap pasta

Meat-based pasta

Seafood-based pasta

Vegetarian pasta

Vegan pasta

  1. One pot veggie pappardelle vegan bolognese
  2. 30 minute green pasta recipe with kale
  3. Sweet and sticky ginger buckwheat noodles

Asian-inspired pasta & noodles

  1. Thai peanut noodles
  2. Vegan soba noodle salad
  3. Asian chicken noodle salad
  4. Soba miso soup with bok choy and jammy eggs

Pasta salads

  1. Macaroni slaw
  2. Macaroni salad
  3. Mediterranean pasta salad

Spaghetti squash pasta

  1. Spaghetti squash with fried eggplant
  2. Spaghetti squash lasagna
  3. Spaghetti squash enchilada
Collage of 6 images of low fodmap pasta recipes

Final Thoughts

By understanding which pasta varieties are low FODMAP and choosing nutritious options like quinoa and chickpea pasta, people can enjoy healthy and gut-friendly pasta meals on the low FODMAP diet.  And with so many enticing recipes available, there’s bound to be a low FODMAP pasta dish you’ll love.

Struggling to implement the low FODMAP diet?  Consider working with an IBS dietitian who can help you navigate the ins and outs of the low FODMAP diet. Keren is Monash FODMAP-trained and has years of experience helping people manage their IBS.  Click here to book a complimentary 15-minute call to connect with Keren and learn about working together.

Get in touch with Keren and book a free 15-minute discovery call today!

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