Saturday, October 01, 2011

Pasta Test

Last time I shopped at Aldi, there was no whole-wheat pasta. When I asked the clerk, she said it had been discontinued due to lack of sales. Oh no! We'd been so disappointed with whole-wheat noodles in the past, and Aldi's was not only cheap but also a great product. We didn't have choke down the brown pasta because it was "good for us." It actually tasted great.

Yesterday I bought one box each of five different brands of pasta. In separate saucepans, I cooked about 1/4 cup of each kind. Here are our conclusions:

Hogsdon Mill has the brownest taste of the ones we bought, but it was edible.
15.8 cents per ounce.

Da Vinci 100% whole wheat also tasted brown, but acceptable.
19.9 cents per ounce.

Racconto 8-whole-grain pasta had a nicer texture and a lighter taste than the two 100% ones. It's a blend of grains: wheat, rye, buckwheat, kamut, spelt, etc.
16.2 cents per ounce.

Ronzoni Healthy Harvest and
Barilla Whole Grain
were our favorites. They're both half whole-wheat and half white. The taste and texture is much closer to the white pasta we'd been used to prior to discovering the now-gone pasta from Aldi. The ingredient list and nutrient list on the Barilla and Ronzoni look very similar to the label on the Aldi box.
Barilla = 9.0 cents per ounce
Ronzoni = 10.5 cents per ounce

For nutrition reasons, I'd prefer to buy Rocconto. The taste and texture is comparable to the Ronzoni & Barilla, but the mix of whole grains has a variety of minerals that you don't find when eating just wheat. But the Rocconto is almost twice the price of the Barilla. I think that means Barilla wins out for our family.


  1. Well at least for now you can enjoy the Rocconto cause you still have more in the box! :) or do a mix of pastas... I like to buy the whole wheat too but often forget which one I liked and which one I didn't enjoy. I really have liked the pasta that claims serving of vegetables in it... it's good and it's colorful! :)

  2. We had something similar happen. We always bought whole wheat pasta at Costco. The last time we shopped there I bought a pack of 8. I didn't even look at it, assumed it was the same as always. My mom was visiting and made it. The first bite was a surprise-it wasn't whole wheat. I couldn't finish the plate of pasty stuff. I didn't think I was that much of a pasta snob. Very interesting, what you found, I'll have to do a similar test with the brands that are available at my grocery store. I learned my lesson and to not pick up a package just because the packaging is similar without looking at it.

  3. Ours was gone from Aldi too, but this last time they had ww pasta again. It was the Fit and Active brand. The kids ate some yesterday and didn't tell me they noticed any difference. I never thought to look at the ingredients this time around. Not that it would have been helpful as I don't have a list from the discontinued box.

  4. Ewe, I've been taught that lesson too, but I'm not sure I've learned it yet. For example, we don't use much shampoo here, but we do use lots of conditioner. I don't know how many times I've brought home the shampoo bottle instead of the conditioner bottle: the bottles look almost identical.

    I'll keep looking, Glenda. Maybe they'll get another shipment and I can hog it all for myself. :-)

  5. Thanks for the price/taste comparison, Susan! I like doing that, but rarely take the time. It's more Rob's style to take the time.

    Today I was at Kroger and discovered that the Kroger brand was on clearance because it was being discontinued. It's half whole wheat, and also has oat fiber. Haven't tasted it yet, but bought six boxes because they were practically giving it away: 4.3 cents per ounce!

  6. Ooooh, Sandy, what a find!