By Michele Foley and Roxanne Webber

Cooking with whole-wheat pasta is a good way to work whole grains into your diet. Unfortunately, the end result is often gritty and tastes of cardboard. CHOW wanted to see if there were any versions we’d actually enjoy eating, so we tasted five brands of whole-wheat spaghetti—both plain and with tomato sauce—and ranked them from 1 to 5 (1 being the best). Below are our comments on their flavor, texture, sauce retention, and appearance.

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$5.58 for two 12-ounce packages

De Cecco

$3.99 for a 17-ounce package

Bionaturae Organic

$2.49 for a 16-ounce package

DeLallo Organic

$2.99 for a 16-ounce package

Ronzoni Healthy Harvest

$2.99 for a 13.25-ounce package

RANKING 1 2 3 4 5
They say “Contains only high-quality natural ingredients and provides 20% of recommended daily fiber intake.” “Wheat for the De Cecco family mill comes from the world’s best wheat crops and gives this pasta its excellent aroma and nutritional quality.” “Made in a century-old pasta factory in Tuscany, Italy … dried slowly and naturally at low temperatures.” “Made from semolina obtained from only the finest Durum wheat grown in the best growing region in Italy, Tavoliere di Puglia.” “All natural and made from whole grains.”
Flavor It tastes like regular pasta, and that’s a good thing. A little earthy and wheaty, but overall pretty good. Very nutty and grainy, which makes it taste chalky. It tastes like bran cereal—gritty and hard. It tastes bleak, like paper.
Texture Tender and smooth. Cooks to a nice al dente—firm and a little chewy. Rough and gritty, almost like pebbles. It reminds us of cardboard. Tough and chalky on the outside, mushy in the middle.
Sauce Retention Holds the sauce well. Grabs the sauce well. Holds the sauce well. Soaks the sauce right up. Holds the sauce just fine.
Appearance Doesn’t even look wheaty. By far the best-looking of the bunch. Light in color. It looks appetizing. Flecked with brown spots, it has a sort of healthy appeal. Thick and dark brown. This can’t be spaghetti. Too dark and thick. Looks like PVC piping.
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