Let's talk Gluten Free Pasta...
I have tried A LOT of gluten free pasta varieties, and they are NOT all created equally. Some turn to mush and others become slimy when you cook them. The main thing to keep in mind when cooking gluten free pasta is to follow the package directions and not overcook it. Don't let the bad ones deter you from trying other brands, because there are a lot of excellent gluten free pasta options out there!
Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or you're following a gluten-free diet for other reasons, this is the best gluten-free pasta guide to help you still enjoy the foods you love without the gluten that comes with traditional pasta.
The biggest difference between gluten free pasta and wheat-based pasta is the cook time. If you overcook gluten-free noodles, they break apart and turn to mush, and it happens very quickly. My biggest tip is to the following the cooking process on the package to ensure your noodles don't turn into a slimy mess. Make sure you have boiling water before adding your noodles. If the water isn't at a rolling boil, you'll end up with a messed up cooking time and chewy texture, and I don't mean chewy in a good way.
I see posts in Gluten Free Facebook groups almost daily with people complaining that their pasta salads don't turn out well with gluten free pasta. One of my biggest tips when cooking any pasta type is to salt the pasta water. Salted water gives the pasta better flavor and some of these gluten-free pasta noodles need all the flavor they can get. Cook to al dente so the noodles don't turn to mush in your cold pasta salad. I'm sharing several pasta salad recipes below that use gluten free pasta.
These are my tried and true recommendations and the gluten-free pasta brands my whole family enjoy!
Barilla: Barilla pasta is a staple in most households, but did you know they make a variety of gluten-free pasta options that taste just as yummy?! They have gluten free penne, spaghetti, and elbows that don't get mushy or slimy and your family won't be able to tell they aren't eating the gluten-containing variety! They also make chickpea pasta and red lentil pasta that are gluten free and come in different shapes, including rotini and penne. And if you're in the mood for lasagna, they've got you covered with their flat oven-ready lasagne noodles! I've also noticed that with most Barilla gluten-free pasta varieties, 8 minutes of cooking is just about perfect every single time. If you're allergic to corn, I'd stick with te chickpea and lentil varieties because the traditional gluten free pasta is made with corn flour and rice flour.
Ronzoni: Ronzoni is another household brand with a great tasting gluten free pasta that passes the texture test. Whether you want rotini, penne, elbows, spaghetti, or thin spaghetti, Ronzoni has you covered. They also have a cauliflower pasta that I haven't tried yet, but if it's anything like their other gluten free pastas, it will be delicious!
Tinkyada: Gluten free pasta that is made with brown rice...yes please! This brown rice pasta comes in a variety of shapes, including lasagna noodles that pass the taste and texture test! For lasagna rollups and a traditional lasagne noodle look, Tinkyada is the brand to reach for. If you're looking for a whole grain gluten free pasta, this is one of the best brands on the market!
Trader Joe's: Speaking of whole grain gluten free pasta, TJ's brown rice and quinoa fusilli pasta is must try! It's made with brown rice flour and quinoa and tastes like a traditional wheat pasta. It is al dente perfection and a favorite in the gluten free community! They also have a great fresh pasta in the refrigerated section that tastes like it came from a fancy Italian restaurant.
CoraBella: This was an accidental find a couple of summers ago at a local grocery store in Delaware that has become a pantry staple in my house! I loved the shape of the red lentil strozzapreti pasta, so I bought it on a whim and quickly fell in love with its texture and taste! CoraBella also makes green pea, chickpea, and 3-beans pasta varieties if you're looking to shake up your flavor palate!
Jovial: I accidentally stumbled upon Jovial Gluten Free Manicotti at Walmart, and it turned out to be an amazing find! While I haven't tried all Jovial pastas, there are a few I do like, and the manicotti is one of the keepers! Boil them for 4 minutes and then stuff them with whatever you like and finish cooking them in the oven! The egg tagliatelle and shells are also great! My hubby said the shells taste so much like regular pasta he never would have guessed they were gluten free! And don't forget to grab some of the lasagne noodles if you're planning to make a lasagna soon. I've learned that the trick to Jovial pastas is to cook them exactly as directly because they can become "gummy" if cooked too long.
Explore Cuisine: This brand really has some unique pasta options that are delicious! The edamame spaghetti is low carb, full of fiber, loaded with protein, and tastes really good. And the oven-ready green lentil lasagne noodles make an incredible lasagna that your whole family will love! My hubby said he never would have known it was gluten free if I hadn't told him! We used the green lentil penne for a delicious Greek pasta salad that tasted even better the next day! Oh, and don't forget to give the black bean pasta a try for a healthy gluten free dish with a unique flavor.
Heartland: The only thing I've tried from this brand is the gluten free oven-ready lasagne noodles. You can pick them up at Walmart or on Amazon, and they cook to the perfect texture, just like regular pasta! I always keep these stocked in my pantry for an easy weeknight meal I can throw together in minutes.
Banza: Banza is a pasta made from chickpeas, and it's my absolute favorite for different shapes and amazing taste and texture every time! Just make sure you cook it al dente for pasta perfection.
Fresh Pasta: Whole Foods has fresh pasta in the refrigerated section and Trader Joe's has some too! Costco and Target also have a refrigerated fresh cheese tortellini that pass the texture and taste tests.
Lotus Foods: Lotus has gluten free ramen noodles and rice noodles that are fantastic. Again, cook according to package directions and check out their website for some Asian inspired noodle recipes.
Dining Out: If you find yourself craving pasta and not wanting to cook, Olive Garden, Carrabba's, Martini Italian Bistro in Louisville, KY, and Romano's Macaroni Grill have delicious gluten-sensitive pasta dishes on their menus! And Fazoli's just came out with a gluten free pasta dinner too.
If I didn't mention a brand, chances are they didn't pass the taste and texture test, which is really important in gluten free cooking. If there's a brand you love that I didn't talk about, let me know so I can give it a try!