So you’ve gone gluten-free. Maybe you’ve had to hear the difficult news that you or a loved-one have been diagnosed with celiac disease. Meaning gluten triggers dangerous and painful symptoms in your gut.
Or perhaps you or your doctor have decided that the cramping and bloating you’re used to after eating your favorite wheat-based food is just not worth it anymore.
Giving up gluten might be the best decision for you or your loved-one’s health. But that doesn’t make it easy.
Having children who cannot eat gluten is especially challenging. It’s astonishing just how many candies, cereals and ready-meals for kids contain gluten.
On top of that, your other loved-ones may complain if the gluten-free version of their favorite food is not up-to-scratch. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to accommodate everyone and then ending up with a lacklustre and disappointing meal.
But there is one thing that is guaranteed to make your life easier: gluten-free pasta!
There’s nothing better than that warm, comforting feeling after a hearty bowl of pasta. And the advances made in gluten-free pasta production over the last few years make it one of the best options for a hassle-free and tasty meal.
In fact, there are so many options that it can be hard to choose! Below we’ve made a list of our tried-and-tested favorites. Hopefully it will make deciding on your new go-to pasta just a little bit easier.
BEST LOW-CALORIE OPTION
Palmini Low Carb Linguine is a lovely option if you’re looking to eat a little healthier without giving up your pasta. A single serving has a mere twenty calories and only four grams of carbs. So we can have our cake and eat it too!
The ingredients list is reassuringly short: water, salt, sliced hearts-of-palm and citric acid. That’s it! And yet the pasta tastes like the real thing.
Especially if served up with your favorite sauce – since the consistency of the noodles allow them to hold liquids well.
This is a great choice if you enjoy al-dente pasta. Once heated up, the noodles are squishy in your mouth, but still a little firm.
- Keto friendly – won’t knock you out of ketosis.
- Ready in minutes – doesn’t need to be cooked.
- Vegan and Paleo – single option for different dinner-party guests.
- Sustainably produced – guilt-free munching!
- Noodles are short – individual noodles only measure at about four inches each.
Shirataki pastas are made from a root-vegetable, konjac, that grows in parts of East and South-East Asia.
Konjac is very fibrous and holds water. This means that instead of using loads of unnecessary refined carbs in your pasta-meal, you can opt for healthy, vegetable-based noodles.
Skinny have come up with shirataki noodles that are uncannily similar to the instant ramen you know and love.
It’s a fabulous option if you’re looking for something quick and convenient. Why spend an hour at a hot stove, when you could have a satisfying meal in minutes?
Just like with conventional ramen, Skinny Shirataki Noodles can be ready at the snap of your fingers. But this brand doesn’t come with a long list of additives and flavorings.
You’ll be able to create the flavor you prefer and avoid taking in unnecessary salt, sugar and preservatives.
- Long noodles – Perfect for slurping!
- Deceptively high in fibre – Up your fibre intake without gnawing on vegetables.
- Made locally in the US – Cut down on your carbon footprint and support local business.
- Initial smell – the noodles naturally smell like kelp before rinsing.
Best option for people with celiac disease or allergies:
Jovial Farfalle is a fantastic choice when you need to be sure that eating your pasta dish will not cause a dangerous reaction. It’s made in an environment that only deals with gluten-free food-production.
The end-product is certifiably gluten-free and guaranteed to contain less than ten PPM (‘parts per million’, indicating how many gluten parts are present in-ratio to other ingredients).
Excellent news if you (or someone you’re cooking for) have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. The FDA states that twenty PPM can be considered completely gluten-free.
A product with only ten PPM means you can be doubly assured that your pasta-dish won’t cause a reaction.
Jovial Farfell is also free from: milk, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, eggs, peanuts. Making it a tremendously safe option for dinner-parties, or for cooking for children.
- Tastes and looks like conventional pasta – Perfect for picky eaters or fussy kids.
- Made with whole grain rice – Good for your gut.
- 100% organic – Worry-free mealtimes!
- Learning curve – Takes a few tries to understand how to cook in the way you’d like.
Barilla is the crème-de-la-crème of gluten-free brands and their penne definitely deserves a chef’s kiss. It tastes remarkably similar to conventional pastas. It cooks in a similar way too.
So making your favorite recipe is a breeze: simply replace regular pasta with Barilla Penne and you’re good to go.
The pasta is made with only two main ingredients: corn and rice. Yet the penne have a very pleasing texture – they are pleasingly firm between your teeth at first and then melt in your mouth after a few chews. Gourmet perfection!
- Certified to be gluten-free – All the deliciousness, none of the digestive distress.
- Available in bulk – Never run out.
- Works well in baked dishes – Mac ’n’ Cheese, please!
- A little pricier than wheat pastas – not as cheap as your standard box of conventional pasta.
Best High-protein Option
The blood-sugar spike after eating a carb-heavy pasta dish, can lead to restlessness or grogginess – and probably regret too! Dieticians know that adding protein to a meal can slow digestion, thereby curbing a blood-sugar spike.
This is where Banza Chickpea comes out on top. It’s free from heavy, processed carbs and packs a hefty protein-punch!
With an astonishing twenty-three grams of protein per serving, this pasta will deliver about the same amount of protein as three eggs! (Most eggs have between six and seven grams of protein).
It also comes in a variety of shapes. You can choose between penne, rotini and shells. The shells are particularly good for cooking for kids.
They’re cute enough to please the fussiest eater, and also hold their shapes well after cooking. Meaning adult diners can enjoy sauce-based dishes without compromise!
- Endorsed by the New York Times – So you know it’s good quality.
- Very filling – A little goes a long way, saving you both calories and money.
- Protein promotes muscle growth – And bigger muscles burn more calories.
- Creates foam when boiling – You’ll have to spend a little while longer cleaning your pots.
Best Box Of Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Living without gluten is challenging enough – living without mac ‘n’ cheese too would be cruel and unusual punishment! Fortunately, Annie’s has come to the rescue! A must-have for a busy parent, it’s ready to enjoy in well under fifteen minutes.
And your kids won’t even notice that the macaroni is not the wheat-variety.
Annie’s has done an exceptional job of recreating the comforting texture and uncomplicated taste we associate with wheat macaroni. But without the negative consequence of gluten added to the mix.
- Comes with real cheese – Kids are guaranteed to finish their dinner, maybe even lick their plates clean!
- High in nutrients for growing bodies – Up your family’s calcium intake without a fuss.
- No synthetic colors or artificial flavors – Clean-eating made easy.
- Serving sizes might be small for some – Annie’s is quite rich and creamy so the recommended serving size isn’t very large.
Cappello’s has a unique approach to gluten-free pasta. Instead of using any grain or soy, they opt for a mesmerizing combination of almond-flour and eggs.
The results speak for themselves: a pot of this fettuccine is simply scrumptious. We’ve found ourselves eating these noodles straight from the pot once or twice!
The warm, comforting flavor is pretty darn close to conventional pastas – but minus all the added nasties you’d rather do without.
To top this off, Cappelo’s cooks from frozen in under two minutes. Remarkably fast for frozen pasta. You could easily keep a bag in the fridge and throw it on the stove for last-minute dinner guests. Stress-free and effortless.
- Paleo-friendly – Dinner parties are a breeze with one of the few fettuccines checking this box.
- Eggs are from cage-free chickens – Support ethical farming and enjoy guilt-free meals.
- Only a 150 calories per serving size – Satisfy your carb-craving in a healthy way
- Must be stored in the freezer – Capello’s will spoil if stored in the fridge or pantry for too long
There’s nothing quite like twirly a satisfying forkful of saucy spaghetti. Natural Heaven is the perfect option if you want to enjoy your pasta-dish without that overfull, regretful state that comes after a big bowl of spaghetti bolognaise.
The biggest selling point for these lovely little noodles is that they are based on just one simple ingredient: hearts-of-palm.
Meaning they are naturally high in fibre and quite low in calories. At only seventy calories a pop, you can afford to indulge on this one.
- Doesn’t need to be cooked – Just warm up and serve – no more panicking at impromptu dinner parties.
- 100% plant ingredients – Make a healthy choice without compromising on taste.
- Low on the glycaemic index – Won’t cause a post-meal slump.
- Not flavorful on its own – The spaghetti will soak up any flavoring you add to it but will taste bland eaten by itself.
Best Low Calorie Option
Another shirataki option made from konjac, Miracle Noodle’s angel hair pasta bowled us over. Remarkably, a recommended serving size contains a mere five calories and no carbs at all!
It’s also soy free, grain free and wheat free. A no-brainer for those of us looking to cut down on conventional flour-based products.
- Soaks up liquids – You can add whatever you like to it to create the tastes you love.
- Curly and springy – Meaning eating it with chopsticks is a breeze, but you could twirl it around a fork just as easily.
- The noodles themselves have a high water-content – You’ll feel full and satisfied without bloating or heaviness.
- Doesn’t contain protein – You will need to add a protein source if you want to prepare a balanced meal.
Garofalo is a cult-classic in the gluten-free world. And for good reason! It’s an excellent option if you’re looking for that authentic, artisanal taste in your pasta dishes.
This casarecce is virtually indistinguishable from wheat pastas. A godsend if you’re cooking for someone of celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but don’t wish to draw attention to their condition.
The main ingredients are corn, rice and quinoa. You don’t have to worry about decoding a long list of complicated ingredients.
A single serving contains zero trans-fats, zero saturated-fats and only one gram of sugar! The perfect option for a night of authentic Italian cuisine, without the regret of overindulgence that comes the next morning.
- Cooking process is similar to wheat pastas – No wasting time figuring out how to cook it to your liking.
- Casarecce hold their shape perfectly – Perfect for flavorful sauce-based dishes. Versatile – Works in pasta salads, pasta bakes or with sauces, so you can have a different meal every day.
- Sells out fast – Garofalo is popular and you’ll need to move fast once it’s in stock.
Best Gluten Free Pasta
Only a few short years ago, pasta-lovers had to contend with the dearth of gluten-free products. Today the options are endless! That’s wonderful. But it can feel overwhelming at times. Educating yourself about gluten-free pastas is key to making the right choice.
Gluten-free cooking can also be high stakes if you are caring for family, friends or children who could have a harmful reaction to gluten particles. You can use our buyer’s guide to inform yourself before deciding on a product.
What Gluten-free Pasta Is Made Of
There are several different kinds these days, but the main ones are: shirataki pastas made from konjac, pastas made from chickpeas or other pulses and legumes, and pastas made from corn and rice flour.
Since there is no gluten in these pastas to give the noodles that spring, slightly elastic texture, xanthan gum is a very common ingredient too. It’s a thickening agent and a stabilizer and keeps the other ingredients from separating.
The Type Of Gluten-free Pasta That’s Right For You
It’s wise to consider your personal goals when choosing. If you are cooking for a loved-one with celiac disease, for example, it’s very important to choose a brand that is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
The product should also be certified as gluten-free and contain less than twenty PPM gluten.
If your goal is weight loss, trying the very low-calorie shirataki options is a good shout. You could also focus on pastas made from pulses or legumes since they are so high in protein. Protein keeps you fuller for longer and aids in muscle growth.
If an authentic, Italian-style feel is your biggest priority, a pricier brand made with a non-wheat flour would be a good choice.
Gluten-free Pasta And The Ketogenic Diet
Since we typically associate high-carb foods with wheat flour, it’s understandable that many people falsely believe that all gluten-free pastas are appropriate on the keto diet. The keto diet advises eating a very, very low amount of carbohydrate, or ‘carbs’.
Carbs are certainly not bad for you: like fat and protein, your body needs this macronutrient to function. But some people do lose weight by restricting carbs.
Many of the most popular gluten-free pastas are high in carbs and won’t work with these diets. That’s because they are made of other foods that are high in crabs, like pulses, beans, rice and corn.
The keto diet advises you to become ketogenic (to have such a low amount of carbs in your body, that your body stops burning sugars for energy and starts burning fat). Eating pastas made from non-wheat flours will stop this process from occurring.
But opting for shirataki noodles will work: they are made from a plant that is so high in water and fibre it’s also naturally very low in carbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Gluten-free Pasta Healthy?
If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, yes: gluten-free pasta is healthy for you. Some gluten-free pastas are made with the Asian root-vegetable, konjac, and are naturally very high in fibre, making them a healthy choice.
Other gluten-free pastas are made with chickpeas or other legumes – so they are very high in protein and therefore a healthy choice.
Do You Need To Rinse Gluten-free Pasta After Boiling?
Yes. It’s not an essential step, but it improves the consistency of many popular gluten-free pastas and keeps the noodles' shells from sticking together.