Gluten-Free Redo

Use Your Noodle

How to choose the best gluten-free pastas for your recipes
Use Your Noodle

First came the parade of pasta shapes (the National Pasta Association currently showcases 51 shapes on its website). The high-fiber, high-protein pasta explosion followed. But these days, semolina spaghetti and whole-wheat penne are relinquishing shelf space to gluten-free options that are worth trying—whether you’re avoiding gluten or simply looking for a change of pace.

BUCKWHEAT
Tasting notes: Bold, nutty flavor with a chewy texture and firm, dense bite. Check the package carefully to make sure no wheat flour has been added.
Best shapes: Pick spaghetti and spirals; they hold their shape well and won’t stick together.
How to use it: Serve with Asian-style sauces and stir-fries or cheese sauces that complement the buckwheat flavor.
Try: Orgran Buckwheat Pasta Spirals

CORN
Tasting notes: Reminiscent of popcorn; for best texture, choose a blend of corn-quinoa pasta.
Best shapes: Elbows, rotelle
How to use it: Add to baked pasta dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, or toss lightly with cream, cheese, or pesto sauces that complement the corn flavor. Avoid using in pasta salads because it can get tough when cooled.
Try: DeBoles Corn Elbow Style Pasta

POTATO
Tasting notes: Compact but tender texture and neutral flavor; look for brands that blend potato and rice or corn.
Best shapes: Long strands, such as fettuccine and spaghetti, that benefit from potato pasta’s tenderness.
How to use it: Toss with light, brothy sauces that coat the strands and keep them from sticking together.
Try: bionaturæ Gluten Free Spaghetti

QUINOA
Tasting notes: Delicious whole-grain flavor; closest in texture to whole-wheat pastas.
Best shapes: Shells, rotelle, pagodas
How to use it: Top with spicy or bold-flavored sauces that stand up to the whole-grain flavor.
Try: Ancient Harvest Garden Pagodas

RICE
Tasting notes: Mild, neutral flavor; firm, somewhat grainy texture easily absorbs other flavors.
Best shapes: Choose firm shapes (e.g., penne, shells) that won’t fall apart or turn gummy if overcooked.
How to use it: Serve with tomato-based sauces that stick to the noodles.
Try: Tinkyáda Organic Brown Rice Penne

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comments

Lundberg Family Farms also makes great brown rice pasta that is suitable for GF-ers and those trying to go GF. Theirs are pretty reasonably priced and can be found at most supermarkets and Trader Joe's stores. I really like most of their products and they're very GF friendly. :)

Marie - 2013-10-16 00:34:31

You didn't mention Korean sweet potato noodles. They cook up like rice or bean noodles and have good texture. They come in a multitude of forms.

Susan wright - 2013-10-15 23:23:58

Yes, it does take longer than rualegr past. I've found it's a lot more fragile, too.You're really right, it's just trial and error. And thanks for the luck! Hopefully I'll be able to post a gluten-free lasagna recipe soon. *fingers crossed*~Kelsey

Javier - 2012-05-02 17:37:46