Native to the Andes, quinoa is the seed of a leafy plant related to beets. When ground up and mixed with corn or wheat flour, quinoa produces a mild-tasting, high-protein pasta. Gluten-free eaters should choose brands that contain only quinoa and corn flours. Top it with tofu and organic tomato sauce for a vegan, amino acid-rich meal.
Typically made of 100 percent durum wheat — a hard, high-quality grain — this dense pasta is higher in fiber, protein, B vitamins, and minerals than semolina varieties, which use only part of the grain. Whole-wheat pasta's hearty flavor and grainy texture make it a good base for pesto and vegetable sauces.
Related to rhubarb, buckwheat has been used for centuries to make noodles in Asia. Japanese soba is the most common type in the U.S., with a nutty flavor and high amounts of protein and dietary fiber. Traditionally, soba is served hot in soup or cold with a soy-based dipping sauce.
Made from a blend of soy protein and yam flour, these Japanese noodles are packaged in water and readily absorb other flavors. A low glycemic-index food, tofu shirataki is particularly high in soluble fiber. Toss the heated noodles with a sweet teriyaki and serve with stir-fried veggies. Note: Noodles must be refrigerated.