Going gluten-free can be tough at first, but with a little guidance and some helpful tips, you will soon be on your way to eating healthier and taking care of your dietary needs without losing out on taste. If you love your pasta, there’s no need to give up on it. Simply replace the kind made from refined and processed wheat flour, and instead, choose from the non-wheat variety that is slowly becoming available at grocery stores and supermarkets across the nation.
We tell you which gluten-free varieties of pasta are healthy and tasty, with suggestions on what flavors and textures to expect, which shapes to buy and how to cook them.
1. Buckwheat Pasta
This is a tasty option that has a bold, nutty flavor and chewy texture. Pick shapes like spaghetti and fusilli, because these will hold their shape well and won’t stick together, and cook in Asian-style sauces, stir-fries or cheese sauces.
2. Corn Pasta
If you like popcorn, you’re going to love corn pasta because it has the best texture, firm and with a good bite. The best variety is a blend of corn-quinoa pasta. Choose shapes like elbows or rotelle, which look like little wheels with spokes. Perfect for baked pasta dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, it also makes for a good choice to cook dishes that require to be tossed in cream, cheese, or pesto sauces. You should avoid using it in pasta salads, because it gets tough when cooled.
3. Potato Pasta
Everyone’s favorite spud is also a good choice when it comes to pasta, lending it a tender texture and neutral flavor. Look for varieties that have a blend of potato and rice, or corn. Choose long strands, such as fettuccine and spaghetti, both of which will benefit from potato pasta’s tenderness. Tastes best when cooked with light, brothy sauces that coat the strands, as this will keep them from sticking together.
4. Quinoa Pasta
The favorite ancient grain that’s been dubbed as a superfood, quinoa has a wholesome and delicious flavor, with a texture that closely resembles that of whole-wheat pasta. Ideal shapes to try are shells, rotelle or pagodas. Feel free to cook it with spicy or bold-flavored sauces that can stand up to the whole-grain flavor.
5. Rice Pasta
Like the grain itself, this pasta has a mild, neutral flavor and rather firm, though somewhat grainy texture. Again, like the grain, it easily absorbs other flavors. You would do well to select firm shapes like penne or shells so that they don’t fall apart, or get mushy if overcooked. Tastes best when cooked with tomato-based sauces that stick to the pasta.
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