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I don’t know how long you’ve been experimenting with whole grain pasta recipes, but it’s safe to say that the whole grain pasta options out there are a whole lot tastier than they used to be. Years ago, I tried whole grain pasta for the first time—and vowed it would be the last. The consistency was gritty and off-putting, and the pasta tasted super al dente no matter how long it spent in boiling water. For a decade, I skipped over every whole grain pasta recipe I found in cookbooks, magazines and blog posts. No matter how great the picture looked, that initial whole grain pasta experience made me too skeptical to try again.
A few years ago, I started seeing whole grain pasta recipes everywhere, and figured the recipe developers behind them were maybe onto something that I wasn’t. Had food companies finally figured out a formula for whole grain pasta that could actually stand up to the refined grain version? Slowly, I started dipping my toes back into the depth of whole grain pasta recipes available, and was pleasantly surprised.
I won’t lie and tell you that whole grain pasta is exactly the same and just as delicious as the kind of pasta you likely grew up with, I will offer you the reassurance that it’s totally delicious in its own right, when used in the appropriate recipes. Whole grain pasta is still a little grainier than the original (duh), which means it does best in recipes with tons of other add-ins, or with especially heavy sauces. The following recipes all make great use of whole grain pasta, and just might change your mind about the stuff.
Mushroom Penne with Walnut Pesto
This meatless mushroom whole grain penne recipes certainly isn’t lacking. Lightly browned mushrooms and a homemade walnut pesto give it plenty of depth.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage
This whole wheat pasta with broccoli and chicken sausage tastes great with whatever kind of sausage you like, actually. Go sweet or spicy, and try different kinds of meat.
Balsamic Orecchiette with Spinach, Craisins and Feta
Never had orechiette? The ear-shaped pasta is delicate and dense at the same time, and adds interesting textural variety to a pasta dish. This balsamic whol grain orecchiette with spinach, craisins and feta is a great first foray into the stuff.
Crock-Pot Ziti with Veggies and Cheese
Didn’t think it was possible to make a whole pasta dish in the slow-cooker? You’ll be thrilled to know that this Crock-Pot whole grain ziti recipe proves you wrong.
Roasted Broccoli and Chickpea Lemon Pasta
You can use any type of pasta for this roasted broccoli and chickpea lemon pasta dish, but the recipe author recommends whole wheat elbow macaroni.
Whole Grain Pasta with Sardines, Garlic and Capers
The idea of a whole grain pasta with sardines, garlic and capers is polarizing, sure. But if you live salty, briny things, give it a try.
Bacon Alfredo Bake with Whole Grain Pasta
Frankly, making this bacon alfredo bake with whole grain pasta instead of regular is a no-brainer. There’s so much going on that you won’t notice the difference.
Whole Grain Pasta Salad with Cucumber Dressing, Peas and Fresh Dill
Winter, spring, summer or fall, this hearty green pasta salad works as a main or a side dish.
Instant Pot One-Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Spaghetti and meat sauce isn’t a difficult dish to begin with, but making it in the Instant Pot is an even simpler shortcut.
Vegan Creamy Tomato Shells
These vegan whole grian tomato shells are “creamy” thanks to a sauce made with almond milk and pureed cashews.
Mozzarella Meatball Casserole
A hearty baked meatball pasta casserole thats guaranteed to satisfy.
Broccoli Shells and Cheese
These broccoli shells with cheese have all the magic of mac and cheese, plus extra fiber and nutrients from the whole grain pasta and broccoli.
One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese
If you’re in the mood to keep things simple, go for this one-pot whole grain mac and cheese.
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Balsamic-Spinach-Basil Dressing
Want something fresh and simple, but still comforting? This meatless whole grain spaghetti with balsamic-spinach-basil dressing is worth a try.
Vegan Bolognese with Whole Wheat Penne
What is vegan bolognese, exactly? You’ll have to read the recipe to find out.
Why not hybridize two classic pasta dishes? This lasagna bolognese is the stuff of dream, and it’s made with whole wheat no-boil lasagna noodles.
Rachael Ray’s Whole-Wheat Pasta with Escarole, Gorgonzola and Walnuts
In this guest-worthy pasta recipe, whole wheat pasta plays nice with escarole, gorgonzola, and walnuts.