Best Gluten-Free Substitutions: Pasta Brands
Choosing the best tasting gluten-free pasta at the store when there are so many options available can be a challenge, but I've tested a number of brands and selected my top four choices to share.
These brands can hold up against any sauce you can put on them and make mushy gluten-free pasta dinners a thing of the past.
No matter what brand you choose, if you want great results, it's important to remember these two tips when cooking gluten-free pasta.
- Don't Overcook: I have noticed with all gluten-free brands, a matter of minutes can make the difference between delectable or overcooked, so watch your pasta carefully and test its doneness often.
- Watch Your Portions: Rarely, and perhaps only by sheer luck, does a gluten-free pasta reheat well. Considering portions is important; cook too little and someone goes hungry, cook too much and the trash can gets a gelatinous pasta meal. There are a couple of tricks to saving some brands of gluten-free pasta for reheating, which I'll share below.
Best Tasting Gluten-Free Pasta Brands
Based on taste, texture, versatility, availability, and price, these are my favorite gluten-free pastas.
#1 – Barilla Gluten-Free Pasta
At only $2 a box, Barilla gluten-free pasta is not only a great deal, it tastes amazing, too! This corn-based pasta holds up well in both sauces and salads. It has a slight corn flavor but paired with a robust sauce, my family didn’t notice! I often choose this pasta because it has a slightly firmer texture than other brands I have tried, and it is easy to find in the pasta aisle of major grocery stores.
This is also one of the few types of pasta that doesn’t congeal so it can be reheated the next day. If I plan on saving this for leftovers, I combine it with the sauce before placing it in a sealed container in the fridge.
Another benefit of this pasta is it makes awesome pasta salad. Just be mindful to make plenty of sauce. The downside to this pasta when making pasta salad is it can be too firm and taste dried out the next day if not well coated in dressing.
#2 -Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Pasta
Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of gluten-free pasta cuts: fusilli, elbow macaroni, penne, spaghetti, and rigatoni.
Growing up in an Italian household, I learned that the shape of the pasta affected the overall taste of the dish, so having a number of cuts to choose from is a great start to a successful meal.
Trader Joe’s Brown Rice and Quinoa Pasta and Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta are a regular part of our dinners. And at $2.99 and $1.99 respectively, pasta night can still be budget-friendly!
Although I am often leery of pasta brands that are only brown rice-based, as they have a tendency to congeal, these pasta blends keep their shape and consistency nicely throughout a meal.
I cook both until they are slightly underdone. The firmness softens a little when the sauce is added, creating the perfect pasta texture. If immediately used for pasta salad, these both work well and keep their softness even after refrigeration.
#3 – Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta
Similar in taste and texture to Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta, Tinkyada pasta is soft without being gummy. Their packaging even boasts “good consistent texture, not mushy”; however, I do find that the suggested cooking time of 14-15 minutes is too long for my taste, so I drain it after 12 minutes.
Tinkyada comes in a variety of pasta and spaghetti shapes, great for any pasta dish! I found this pasta at both Walmart and Whole Foods for between $3.16 and $4.99 depending on the variety. It's a little more expensive than other brown rice pastas but more readily available through major grocery chain, and Tinkyada consistently provides a quality product.
#4 – Aldi Live G Free Pasta
I have tried and enjoyed a plethora of Aldi’s Live G Free (gluten-free) products, and with the low price of only $1.29, I thought I would finally try their Gluten-Free Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa pasta. It did not disappoint!
Although this is another brown rice/quinoa blend pasta, I found it more reminiscent of a corn-based pasta (which they also make). With a firm and slightly dry texture, I can reheat this the next day in the sauce of my choosing. It also holds up in pasta salad but can dry out easily.
This is a great pasta to add to chicken noodle soup, too! I usually prepare my soup in the crockpot, then about 20 minutes before serving, I cook up a pot of pasta separately. To serve, I place a heap of pasta in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the soup on top. Voila! Delicious gluten-free chicken noodle soup!
Expand Your Recipe Repertoire
With so many gluten-free pasta choices available, there is one for every palate and occasion. Need a new pasta recipe to try? We have great selection of pasta recipes including pasta pie, pasta salads, pasta primavera, baked pastas and many more. Gluten-free has never tasted so good!
About the author: Contributing author Jennifer Partridge is an artist, teacher, home school mom and experienced cook who has perfected a delicious gluten-free lifestyle. Look for her advice, recipes and gluten-free substitutions throughout the site.