Pasta is a great pantry staple for your kitchen. It’s easy to cook, inexpensive, versatile, and has a long shelf life. Unfortunately for those who have to eat gluten-free, one of the main ingredients in most types of pasta is wheat. If you’re a pasta lover who has to switch to the gluten-free diet, you may be thinking that you’ll have to cut it out of your diet entirely. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Thanks to the ever-growing awareness of gluten intolerance and the popularity of gluten-free diets, more and more companies are producing pastas that are safe for people who eat gluten-free. And they aren’t just limited to one or two types of pasta, either. Gluten-free pasta is available in many different brands, shapes, and even flavors. There are even gluten-free and low-carb options for anyone with gluten intolerance trying to cut their carb intake or follow the keto diet. If you want to add some boxes, bags, or packs of gluten-free pasta to your pantry, here are a few we recommend.
What to Consider in Gluten-Free Pasta
Here are a few things to think about before buying gluten-free pasta:
- Main Ingredients: Several main ingredients can substitute for wheat in gluten-free pastas. The most common are rice, corn, quinoa, chickpea, or a blend of grains that don’t contain wheat, barley, or rye. Rice, especially brown rice, is the most popular since it’s mild and chewy, and brown rice contains extra fiber and other nutrients. Other people prefer the corn-based pasta for its brighter yellow color, soft, buttery corn taste, and slightly grainier texture. Chickpea gluten-free pasta has seen a recent increase in attention since it’s high in protein, low in carbs, and full of fiber, and is thus healthier and more filling. It has a chewy texture with a slight chickpea taste. Quinoa pasta also contains several beneficial vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, though not everyone enjoys its nutty flavor and grainier texture. Multigrain gluten-free pastas are considered closest to traditional wheat pasta in both taste and texture, though their nutritional value varies depending on which grains its comprised of. If you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, be sure to read multigrain gluten-free pasta labels carefully, as they run a higher risk of cross-contamination than other types. There are also egg noodles, which tend to be naturally gluten-free, and soba or buckwheat gluten-free noodles, though the latter isn’t as common.
- Shape: When it comes to gluten-free pasta, there are more types and shapes available than ever. Common types like spaghetti, penne, and fettuccini will be easier to find, of course, but there’s plenty of other choices. Spiral and elbow-shaped noodles for pasta salads, shell noodles that are easier to scoop, ziti, and caserecce noodles are good for one-pot pasta dishes. You can even find lasagna noodles, so you can still enjoy a nice meat or veggie lasagna recipe or fun, unique shapes to make into macaroni and cheese for kids.
- Quantity: It’s worth bearing in mind ahead of time how many boxes, bags, or packets of gluten-free pasta you want to buy. While there are multiple servings in one box, a single box probably isn’t going to do the trick if you’re cooking for the whole family or a big event. That said, since pasta does have a long shelf life, stocking up on multiple boxes or bags can go a long way if you’re only buying for yourself or you and your significant other. (Note that boxes tend to be better for keeping pasta fresh unless the bag has a resealable tab.) And if you do buy pasta and cook for a big family, sets of three or more boxes or bags of gluten-free pasta or variety packs are great for cost efficiency and diversity.
Top Choice: BARILLA Gluten-Free Penne
Gluten-free pasta made from corn and rice that tastes so good, you won’t be able to tell it isn’t traditional wheat pasta. The mild flavor is suitable for a whole range of dishes, from alfredo to meat sauce to oil and cheese, or whatever other sauce or ingredient combination. This pasta easily cooks to al dente style for a texture as well as flavor that feels like the “real” thing. Made with non-GMO ingredients, this pasta is cooked in an entirely gluten-free facility to avoid accidental cross-contamination, so it’s completely safe for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. This pasta is also free of peanuts, lactose, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, and soy, ensuring it’s suitable for a number of other dietary restrictions as well as vegetarians and vegans. Each box contains about six servings. Best of all, there are six different types and shapes of this pasta to choose between, including lasagna noodles.
BARILLA Gluten Free Penne Pasta (pack of 8)
Gluten-free pasta with a taste and texture that will feel like regular wheat pasta.
Best Low-Carb: Banza Chickpea Pasta
If you’re eating gluten-free and trying to watch your carb intake or otherwise cut down on them, you probably think you have to eliminate pasta altogether from your diet. This chickpea-based pasta, however, offers you the opportunity to enjoy your favorite pasta dish without going overboard on carbs. Thanks to the chickpea base, this gluten-free pasta has more protein, more fiber, and half the net carbs (per serving) compared to most traditional and gluten-free pastas. Easy to cook, it’s non-GMO, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly, as well as low glycemic. And it comes available in four combinations of possible traditional pasta shapes, from penne to shells to ziti, even wheel-shaped and alphabet pasta, and more. Purchase a pack of three or six, depending on your needs and the size of your household. Either way, you’ll receive three different shapes of pasta, with a choice of three different combinations.
Banza Chickpea Pasta, Variety Pack (2 Penne/2 Rotini/2 Shells) - Gluten Free Healthy Pasta, High Protein, Lower Carb and Non-GMO - 8 oz (Pack of 6)
A chickpea-based gluten-free pasta that is both higher in fiber and protein and lower in carbs than most.
Best Organic: Jovial Penne Rigate Gluten-Free Pasta
Eating gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to neglect eating healthy in other aspects of your life, too. If you’re someone trying to live a green lifestyle and eat organic food whenever possible, this is the pasta for you. Made from brown rice, it’s 100% certified organic and non-GMO verified, as well as made in a gluten-free facility. The two ingredients are organic brown rice and water, so you’ll always know exactly what you’re putting into your body when you eat it. This means that this pasta isn’t just gluten-free; it also doesn’t contain any of the most common allergens; milk, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, or tree nuts. It’s also vegetarian and vegan. This pasta is crafted in a gluten-free facility by many traditional pasta-making methods such as slow drying and pressing through bronze dies, so you’ll never feel like you’re missing out on wheat pasta. It cooks the same as wheat pasta as well, and the mild rice flavor means it pairs well with various sauces and toppings. Each serving contains an impressive 57 grams of heart-healthy whole grains. It’s available in packs of three, six, or nine boxes, in three different shapes (penne, spiral, and caserecce).
Jovial Whole Grain Brown Rice Pasta Variety Pack (Rigate, Fusilli, Caserecce) - Whole Grain Pasta, Organic Pasta, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Brown Rice Pasta, Made in Italy - 12 Oz, 3 Pack
This 100% organic and non-GMO certified pasta is gluten-free and overall allergen-friendly.
Best Egg Noodles: Gluten-Free Double Yolk Egg Noodles
Egg noodles are known for their yellow color, thick texture, and unique, savory flavor. If you’re eating gluten-free and want to enjoy these aspects in your pasta, consider these medium egg noodles. All the ingredients are gluten-free: white rice flour, tapioca starch, millet flour, dried egg yolk, xanthan gum, and water. Twice the usual amount of egg yolk is added to these noodles, which gives them a richer, fuller, and more savory taste. And they only take about half as much time to cook as regular pasta. (Instructions are printed on the back of the bag.) Each bag contains 10 ounces of noodles, five servings per bag, and you can purchase one, two, four, or six bags at a time. Note that these egg noodles are processed in a facility that also processes wheat, so if you’re highly sensitive to gluten, there is a slight risk of cross-contamination.
Gluten Free Noodles Amish Wedding Foods Double Yolk Medium Egg Noodle 10 oz Bag (One Bag)
A bag of classic egg noodles, made without wheat flour and twice the egg yolk for a richer flavor.