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Nutritional Comparison of Polenta and Pasta

Polenta vs. Pasta

I went out to dinner last night, and a friend of mine ordered a spicy chickpea dish that came with polenta discs. The other friend I was with had ordered pasta primavera, and we got into a discussion about which was a healthier dish, the polenta or pasta.

The best way to answer that question is to compare them nutritionally, so check out the chart when you


5 slices
Basil & Garlic Polenta
5 slices
Quinoa Polenta
2 ounces
dry macaroni
2 ounces
dry whole wheat macaroni
Calories 140 160 210 198
Fat 0 g 0 g .9 g .8 g
Sat. Fat 0 g 0 g .2 g .1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 mg 0 mg 0 mg
Sodium 620 mg 540 mg 3 mg 5 mg
Carbs 30 g 32 g 42.7 g 42.4 g
Fiber 2 g 2 g 1.8 g 4.7 g
Protein 4 g 4 g 7.4 g 8.3 g

As you can see from the chart above, polenta may be lower in calories, fat, and carbs, but it's also much higher in sodium than the pasta. The macaroni is also higher in protein, and the whole wheat variety is higher in fiber as well. The flavor and consistency of these two foods are also very different, so depending on your personal preference, and what your needs are nutritionally, there isn't a huge difference when it comes to choosing between these two grains. Personally, I'm a polenta fan but tell me, which do you prefer?

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Join The Conversation
William14788731 William14788731 2 years
This is totally inaccurate. Home made Polenta (ground corn/corn meal processed by boiling water and cooking) has almost no sodium unless you add it. Some pre-processed junk used as a roll is going to be over-salted, over-processed and probably terrible for you. As others said, the measures here mean nothing -- compare ounces to ounces, not ounces to slices. My polenta bag says 1mg sodium per serving (1/6 cup dry, 33grams, about 1 cup cooked). I cook 1 cup dry corn meal at a time with about 4 cups of water of broth (the latter, home-made, low sodium) and it yields about 6 cups (including the cup of red onion and some garlic). 114 calories. I don't use the butter some people do, and DO sauté the online and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil, so the calories in the result is going to be a little more. However, it will also be a lot less than pasta. To be "afraid" of polenta or pasta or quinoa or oatmeal or barley is unfathomable. It is like being afraid of pastina or couscous... I guess if there are special dietary needs it might be an issue in some cases, but how hard is it to check with a doctor that you probably frequent anyhow? Living seems to me to be a lot easier than people make it. Mix your grains and veggies and don't continually eat ridiculous amounts of anything... For example, eating 2 cups of cooked polenta with the rest of a meal IS a lot. Unless your focus is to maintain obesity, eat less than a cup... of ANYTHING. Eventually your stomach (without stapling) will resize to your portions. Drink water (club soda may be even more filling ;-). So much misinformation on the internet...
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 5 years
Also, 5 slices is a LOT of polenta.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 5 years
Polenta is gluten-free, and it's really not fair to look at the sodium of polenta that is already seasoned. If you add in the pasta seasonings, it's got sodium too.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 5 years
Pasta pasta pasta for me. I love pasta. :)
J-Rabbit J-Rabbit 5 years
I would think that the cheese/sauce added to the macaroni would drastically change those numbers. Who eats plain pasta? (I'm assuming that you don't add much to polenta, but I don't know for sure b/c I've never had it.)
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 5 years
I like the taste of most pastas better than most polentas. #ceenzoli, some pastas show the serving size for both uncooked and cooked portions. For me it's easier to measure after cooking. The one is my cabinet is 2 oz dry = 3/4 cup cooked.
Spectra Spectra 5 years
I would think that if you make polenta at home from scratch, it wouldn't have nearly as much sodium in it. I personally prefer whole wheat pasta because of the fiber and protein in it.
darc5204 darc5204 5 years
No need for homemade polenta to be so salty.
misskacie misskacie 5 years
Although I'm not a fan of processed food, I'm REALLY glad to see that some food companies are looking out for us gluten intolerants. Since I can't have pasta I'll definitely take the next best thing. More quinoa, please!
ticamorena ticamorena 5 years
wow, not only is that the very first time i've seen ready-made polenta, but polenta made out of quinoa?! Yeah, I'll stick to my home-made version. Good to know it's good for you because I'm pasta'd out
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