Everything You Need To Know About Gluten-Free Pasta
These gluten-free pastas are made with simple ingredients so you can create allergy-friendly comfort food recipes the whole family will love. Keep reading to learn why gluten-free noodles are healthy, how to cook them, find easy recipes, and more!
Italian Comfort Food for All
Pasta is known as a classic comfort food. From lasagna, to alfredo, spaghetti, and everything in between, there’s a recipe for every occasion, and they’re a weekly staple in many households. However, pasta made out of wheat isn’t always a great option for those with gluten intolerances. This means that more often than not, those who are gluten-free have to refrain from eating some of their foods. So, not wanting anyone to miss out on the delicious flavors of Italian cuisine, we at DeLallo decided to change that with the introduction of our gluten-free pastas!
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about gluten-free pasta.
Why Eat Gluten Free?
From food allergies, to gluten intolerances, lifestyle choices, and more, there are plenty of reasons why you might consider eating gluten free. If you’ve been considering making the switch or are just curious as to why it might be beneficial, take a look at the 3 most common reasons below!
- Allergies - Although not inherently unhealthy, gluten cannot be properly digested with those who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease. For these people, the consumption of gluten triggers an immune response in the small intestine which can negatively impact the lining of their small intestine and prevent the proper absorption of nutrients which leads to gastric distress.
- Intolerances - Less severe than a gluten allergy, those who suffer from gluten intolerances often become bloated and experience belly pain after eating gluten-containing foods such as regular pasta.
- Lifestyle Choices - For others, the decision to go gluten free could be due to lifestyle choices rather than allergies or intolerances in which case one would decrease the amount of gluten consumed based on personal preferences rather than dietary needs.
What is Gluten-Free Pasta?
Coming in all the classic pasta shapes and sizes you love, gluten-free pasta noodles are those that have been made without wheat or any other gluten-containing ingredients by replacing them with corn, rice, and even potato flour. As a result, it maintains a taste and texture nearly identical to the past you know and love while being suitable for those with gluten-intolerances!
Our pastas come in a wide variety of options including gnocchi, lasagna, penne, fusilli, orzo, and spaghetti noodles. Apart from the gnocchi, which is made out of potato and rice flours, each shape is made out of a corn and rice blend or just whole grain rice to meet all your dietary needs.
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Healthier?
Although there is some controversy regarding the health benefits of these pastas, the truth is they can all be included in a healthy diet. The healthiest option depends on you and your specific dietary needs. For instance, both brown and white rice pastas are great for your digestive system. White rice is easy to digest, where brown rice contains the bran and the germ of the grain, which contribute to it having more nutrients and a higher fiber content. While generally beneficial, those who are healing their digestive system due to newly diagnosed Celiac disease or another similar digestive issue might have a harder time digesting the brown rice until they are completely healed. Similarly, based on how an individual tolerates various beans and legumes, the best choice can vary. Overall, as long as they can be easily digested, all gluten free noodles are healthy.
Does Gluten-Free Pasta Cook the Same as Regular Pasta?
As with regular pasta, gluten-free noodles should be cooked according to package instructions, and the process is very similar no matter which type you choose. However, there are just a few tips you’ll want to be aware of before you start cooking based on the type of noodles you choose.
Tips for Cooking Gluten-Free Pasta
- Make sure you’re using a LARGE pot. There will be foam, but that’s normal!
- Always add salt, never oil.
- Once the pasta is in the boiling pot of water, be sure to give it a good stir. Then, keep stirring every few minutes so the pasta doesn’t stick together. You heard us! Stir, and stir some more.
- Cook time varies depending on the type of gluten-free pasta you are cooking; rice, corn, or legume. Be sure to check the pasta (taste and color) after about 6 minutes. Some pastas cook in less than 6 minutes while others take more than 10 minutes. For instance, chickpea pasta cooks in about 7 minutes (al dente) while brown rice pasta takes a little longer due to the whole grain. Regardless, you want the gluten free pasta to be cooked thoroughly but not be too soft or spongy. The last thing you want is goopy pasta which gives gluten free pasta a bad rap. .
- Just like regular noodles, you’ll want to drain the pasta, never rinse. Unless the instructions specify to do so. This is common when cooking quinoa pasta due to the distinct flavor or residue.
- Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the cooking water. Gluten-free pasta does absorb the liquid and dry out quite fast if it is not used in a sauce right away. To prevent it from drying out, we like to add part of the cooking water back to the pot with the drained pasta. This helps loosen it and break up any clumps of pasta before adding the sauce.
Common Myths About Gluten-Free Pasta
Gluten-free is healthier. While it is a better option for those with wheat intolerances, gluten-free pasta is not necessarily any more or less healthy than other pasta types. In fact, the nutrient profiles remain very similar! The only thing that changes is the ingredient list.
Gluten-free means low-carb. While some gluten-free pasta alternatives are low carb, this is not true for all. Any noodle made out of a vegetable is considered to be low carb and often tastes very different from the original version. However, alternatives like our gluten-free noodles are made by replacing one carb source with another so the flavor profile and carb content remains largely the same.
It's hard to cook. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Gluten free pasta can be cooked just as easily as wheat pasta. Thanks to our unique blend of corn and rice, there’s no risk of mushy pasta. The only difference is that the whole grain rice pasta may take a bit longer to cook as the grain must be broken down. For the best results, never rinse the pasta after cooking, and add a generous amount of salt to the water before boiling.
It tastes bad. The truth is, gluten-free pasta is nearly identical to regular pasta noodles! In fact, in blind taste tests most people we’ve cooked for tend to prefer the gluten-free noodles. Overall, the only differences reported are that gluten free varieties are slightly grainier and have a more hearty, nutty flavor that pairs deliciously with any sauce.
The Best Gluten-Free Pasta Dishes
This blog post was written in collaboration with Lindsey Cotter of @cottercrunch.