YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST GLUTEN FREE PASTA BRANDS | Home with Willow | by Katie Emmitt

 

     If you’re just stepping into a healthier lifestyle and diet, or cutting out gluten/grains, you may be missing a lot of your old favorites! Dishes like spaghetti, fettuccini alfredo, macaroni and cheese, etc. And let’s face it – pasta is amazing! It’s a staple comfort food!  Luckily for us, in the past few years many alternative pasta brands have been cropping up at the grocery store – and they aren’t half bad! In this blog post, I’m going to share my favorites (because I’ve tried A LOT), and where to buy them. Consider this your guide to the best gluten free pasta brands!

Best Gluten Free, Grain Free Protein Pasta

YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST GLUTEN FREE PASTA BRANDS | Home with Willow | by Katie Emmitt

Hands down, my favorite gluten free, grain free, vegan, alternative pasta is Banza Protein Pasta.

     One of the more interesting types of pasta to crop up over the last couple of years is ‘Protein Pasta’. I personally love this alternative, because its a great way to get extra protein in, without having to add a protein to your meal. For example – you’re beloved spaghetti dish becomes very filling without having to add anything else to the sauce. Making a vegan alfredo out of cauliflower and potatoes? Great – it’s now got over 20 grams of protein!

There are three Popular brands of protein pasta that I’ve come across: Banza, POW!, and Explore Cuisine. 

      If you’re looking for a protein pasta, I highly recommend chickpea or lentil. Typically, they are mixed with quinoa, or a starch like tapioca. I find these to be the most palatable and versatile – they don’t have much flavor of their own, which makes pairing them with various dishes really easy.

      POW! is my second choice, and made with lentils. POW! pasta is created by Ancient Harvest. They also have a quinoa pasta made with quinoa and corn flour, however I do not recommend those! Unfortunately, they are slimy and fall apart when cooked.

     I’ve found POW! and Banza at Target, Giant, Safeway, and Whole Foods. I’ve found the best prices at Giant & Safeway (found in the health foods section, or with the gluten free foods). If you don’t find these locally, you can still get them in bulk for about $3-4 a box on Amazon (usually $2.50 or $3.00 at the store).

Explore Cuisine

     Explore Cuisine was the first protein pasta brand I ever tried – they were kind of like, the pioneers of the popular bean pasta movement! Overall, they are typically a little more expensive than POW! or Banza – even when on sale. For that reason, I haven’t bought any in a while. I will mention that the black bean and mung bean pasta (while interesting) have very strong flavors and a spongey texture. I haven’t really found great recipes to use them with (and Colin was not a fan). 

Best Gluten Free Rice Pasta

If you aren’t concerned about protein, and want something that feels very close to traditional pasta (while still being gluten free,) Tinkyada is the way to go!

     These are very close to the ‘traditional’ flavor and texture of wheat pasta – more so than the protein pastas. Most importantly, they hold up well when cooking, work in cold pasta salads, and don’t have a mushy or slimy texture. These are not grain-free – they are made with rice.  

     I’ve found these at Giant and Whole Foods – typically in the gluten free aisle!

  Best Rice Pasta for Asian Inspired Dishes

     These are the BEST for making Pad Thai, stir-fry dishes, or Thai soups. They aren’t organic, (which may be a problem for some,) but they do consist of just two ingredients: rice and water. Pro tip: put in a bowl with boiling hot water and let sit until soft so you don’t overcook them.

BEST GLUTEN FREE QUINOA PASTA

Your Guide to Healthy Alternative Pasta Brands | Home with Willow | by Katie Emmitt

     As far as quinoa pasta goes, this brand is pretty good. I’ve found that many other brands contain other ingredients like corn, which cause them to break down while cooking and become rather slimy. The Andean Dream brand contains rice flour, which helps keep the pasta together, and makes it more like your typical wheat pasta. The quinoa gives it a little bit more protein than the rice noodles I shared above. I personally found this brand to be very filling (my favorite is the Orzo).

     I have only found this brand at Whole Foods. It is competitively priced with other gluten-free pastas. 

Tips for Using Gluten Free Pasta

– Avoid pastas that contain corn. They don’t taste great, and they don’t hold up well when cooking. Unfortunately, they often become mushy and are easily overcooked.

Don’t over cook! I don’t follow the box instructions, as it typically leads to the pasta becoming overdone. The best way I’ve found to use them is to bring water to a boil, dump in the pasta, and set the timer for 4 minutes; stirring well and often so they don’t stick. Adding a little oil to the water can help too. Test after 4 minutes. They should be al dente, almost undercooked – they will continue to cook as you drain them and they stay warm.

Give the pasta plenty of room in the pot. This is more important for gluten free pasta than it is for typical wheat pasta. Give them space because they stick together very easily.

Once ready, drain, rinse, and stir in a little oil. Oil really helps to keep the gluten free pasta from sticking.

Did you enjoy this post about the best gluten free pasta brands?  Have comments or thoughts to share? Show us on Instagram #homewithwillow, or join our Facebook group!

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