By Johanna Hartzheim, CPO & Co-Founder
Noodles, pasta, spaghetti – all these words probably make you think of a delectable meal smothered in sauce. While many of us tend to love a good pasta or noodle-based dish, do you know what the difference is between different types of noodles and pasta? In this article, we’ll describe how pasta, noodles, egg noodles, and spaghetti differ, as well as which option is the healthiest.
What is the difference between pasta vs. noodles vs. spaghetti vs. egg noodles?
The difference between pasta and noodles lies in the ingredients and processing used to make each. Pasta is made from a dough containing durum wheat and water, while noodles are made with water and flour that has been milled from common wheat. It’s important to note that pasta is always made with wheat, while noodles can be made from many different ingredients besides wheat, such as buckwheat, rice, beans, and quinoa. Once the dough is made, pasta undergoes an extruding process that creates varying shapes, whereas noodles go through a sheeting process. The sheeting process involves the noodle dough being rolled flat into a sheet before being pulled through a cutting machine that slices the dough into single strands.
Spaghetti and egg noodles describe variations of pasta and noodles. Spaghetti is a type of pasta that is characterized by its long, stringy shape. As the name suggests, egg noodles are a type of noodle that is made by incorporating eggs (more egg than other noodle types) into the wheat flour-based dough.
What is the health difference between noodles vs. spaghetti vs. pasta vs. egg noodles, e.g. for calories and carbs?
A single serving of traditional pasta, such as spaghetti, contains 43 grams of carbohydrates and 221 calories. The nutritional profile of noodles differs depending on what is used to make the noodles. For example, one serving of rice noodles contains 44 grams of carbohydrates and 192 calories, whereas one serving of egg noodles contains 40 grams of carbohydrates and 221 calories. As you can see, traditional pasta, rice noodles, and egg noodles all have about the same amount of carbohydrates, while rice noodles contain slightly fewer calories.
Are pasta and noodles the same thing? Do pasta and noodles taste the same?
Pasta and noodles are not the same thing. The main differences between pasta and noodles are the ingredients used to make the dough and the process used to cut the dough. Depending on the texture of the noodle, you might think noodles taste similar to pasta. However, the preparation method used to make a pasta or noodle dish can greatly change the taste. While pasta is often boiled and covered in an Italian sauce, noodles are staples of Asian dishes, frequently pan-fried, stir-fried, or added to soups.
Is spaghetti considered a noodle? Is spaghetti a type of pasta?
Since the shape of spaghetti is similar to noodles, you may hear spaghetti and noodles used interchangeably. However, as defined by the National Pasta Association, a noodle must contain at least 5.5% egg content. Spaghetti does not match this criterion, and is therefore not considered a noodle. Similarly, the National Pasta Association defined pasta as being made with durum wheat and water. Since spaghetti is made with these ingredients and does not contain eggs, it is a type of pasta.
What is healthier: pasta or noodles? Are egg noodles healthier than pasta?
Some noodle varieties are healthier than pasta. This is because noodles can be made from a wide array of ingredients. Soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat flour, contain fewer calories and carbohydrates than other noodle varieties and pasta. Soba noodles are also high in protein and fiber as well as a great source of manganese.
Egg noodles are not healthier than pasta, since they are high in carbohydrates and calories, just like pasta. The overall nutritional profile of egg noodles is very similar to that of pasta.
Can I substitute egg noodles for pasta in a recipe? Can I substitute pasta for egg noodles?
Yes, you absolutely can substitute noodles for pasta, and vice versa, in a recipe. While it is up to personal preference, note that egg noodle recipes typically suggest cooking the noodles until they are soft and tender, while pasta recipes recommend cooking the pasta al dente (slightly firm). Either way, if you’re in a pinch or just looking to try something different, you can’t go wrong with swapping pasta and egg noodles in your favorite recipe!
Can you still eat bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes when trying to lose weight?
Yes, you can still enjoy bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes while maintaining your weight loss goals. The key to losing weight is to be in a calorie deficit or consuming fewer calories than you burn. This means you will want to be aware of the number of calories in each of your meals. To help with this, opt for smaller portions and try swapping refined carbohydrates with those made from whole grains. Foods made from whole grains will keep you fuller for longer, helping you to stay on track with your daily calorie and weight loss goals.
Which is healthier: pasta or rice?
Pasta and rice are very similar nutritionally, with each containing approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates and less than 1 gram of fat and sugar. The main differences between refined (white) pasta and white rice are in the amount of calories, fiber, and protein in each. Pasta contains more calories, more fiber, and more protein than rice. However, many healthier varieties of pasta and rice are available that are more nutritious than their refined counterparts.
Which is healthier: bread or rice?
When looking at the nutritional content of a single serving of bread and rice, bread may be considered the healthier option. This is due to bread containing fewer calories and carbohydrates than rice. However, rice does contain more protein, vitamins, and minerals compared to bread. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to white bread and white rice, try opting for multigrain bread, sourdough bread, rye bread, and brown rice. All of these options contain more nutrients than traditional bread and rice choices.
Where can I buy fresh pasta online?At Wildgrain, we specialize in making high-quality, fresh pastas that are delivered directly to your door. Wildgrain is the first bake-from-frozen delivery subscription service for breads, pastries, and fresh pastas. Some of our popular pastas include fresh fettuccine and fresh tonnarelli. Learn more about Wildgrain and our artisanal baking and cooking methods.
About the Author
Johanna Hartzheim is the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Wildgrain.
This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional nutrition and/or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific nutrition and/or medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.