Best Gluten-Free Pasta

We taste tested them
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By Ray Prince, GadgetReview.com

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Choosing the best gluten-free pasta could mean the difference between a drab affair and a tasty, hearty, and nutrition-packed meal. Our evaluation focused on flavor, texture (mouth feel), ingredients, protein/fiber/carb content, safety (GMO-free, other additives, etc.)

After more than 8 hours of cooking and tasting, our top pick goes to the Banza Chickpea Gluten Free Pasta. This chickpea-based pasta rocks with a dynamic nutritional profile (more than twice the protein and 30% fewer carbs than traditional pasta. Its texture is also to die for, finger length with a springy/twirling shape and crunchy texture that retains sauce very well. Keep reading to learn more about the Banza Chickpea Gluten Free Pasta and five others that made the grade.

#1 Banza Chickpea Gluten-Free Pasta - Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: This gluten-free pasta comes in a variety pack and contains more than twice the protein and 30% fewer carbs per serving of regular pasta, making it a healthier alternative.

Pros

  • High protein and fiber

  • Vegan and GMO-free

  • Great for diabetics (low glycemic value)

Cons 

  • High cost

  • More on the doughy and pasta side

Our favorite feature with this pasta is its macro makeup. It is great for gluten free diets with a nice balance of protein, fiber, and carbs compared to regular pasta. For comparison, this pasta has 23g of protein per serving (vs. 13g for traditional pasta). It also has a low glycemic value, meaning it does not cause a sudden and faster spike in insulin levels,  great for diabetics.

While tasting, this pasta was very flavorful, a bit more doughy and pasta than traditional pasta. Note, texture can be played with somewhat, depending on how long it sits in boiling water to the desired firmness. It also tasted similar to regular wheat pasta with a tinge of chickpea. Kudos for being vegan and GMO-free. Standing for genetically modified organisms, this pasta promises natural ingredients, not ones created or modified in a laboratory which can cause adverse health effects.

#2 Papa Vince Low Gluten-Free Pasta - Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: Thanks to this gluten-free pasta's tumminia wheat and high fiber content, it is a great choice for people with sensitive stomachs.

Pros

  • Crunchy texture

  • Holds onto sauce really well

  • GMO and additive-free

Cons 

  • High cost

  • Individually pasta size may be too long for children

This gluten-free pasta contains tasty tumminia flour, which is a wheat derivative that is very easy on stomachs. It also offers a very wheaty flavor and finger-length, springy,  and twisting shape that retain pasta sauces much more heavily than our #1 pick Banza Chickpea. Gluten-Free Pasta Saving precious pasta sauce makes this a winner in our book.

On the health side, this gluten-free pasta is very high in fiber at six grams a serving, roughly five or six times more than traditional pasta. It also contains zero grams of sugar and ranks low on the glycemic index, which works for people with diabetes. Note, each serving as much less protein (7g) than our #1 pick (23g). Kudos for being GMO and additive-free, which has been known to cause health defects. Also, be sure to check out Gadget Review’s list of the best pasta makers if you’re interested in DIY project.

#3 Barilla Sampler Pack Gluten Free Pasta - Best Variety

WHY WE LIKE IT: This gluten-free pasta is made of count and rice with a smooth texture, a great choice for people preferring a less pasty and "sticky" pasta.

Pros

  • Great variety (3 pasta styles)

  • Smooth textured and flavorful

  • GMO-free ingredients

Cons 

  • Not as nutritious as chickpea pasta

  • Some elbows were not hollow and failed to cook correctly

Thanks to this gluten-free pasta's corn and rice composition, its taste and texture is pretty diversified. It offers a very tasty, traditional pasta taste. Its texture sits more on the smooth side with even consistency. Bonus points for being vegan and GMO-free, manufactured in a gluten-free food production facility in Italy.

This gf pasta’s texture can be al dente (crunchy) or mushy, depending on the amount of time spent in boiled water. Though it is mouthwatering, corn and rice gluten-free pasta do not offer the same nutritional benefits as our #1 pick Banza, a chickpea-based pasta with 23g of protein per serving. Look to this brand if you are looking for variety, with a three-pack coming in rotini, penne, and elbow styles.

#4 Barilla Gluten Free Pasta Spaghetti - Best on a Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: This gluten-free spaghetti is derived from non-GMO, Kosher, and allergen-free durum wheat, making it a great choice for people with these sensitivities.

Pros

  • Delicious corn and rice blend

  • Cooks in 10 minutes or less

  • Non-GMO and Kosher certified

Cons 

  • Not as easy to consume by younger children

  • Lower nutritional value compared to others

This low glycemic  gluten-free pasta is made using corn and rice, offering a classic pasta taste with a smooth texture, enough to roll onto forks smoothly before every bite. Plus, it is egg-free, making this product safe for vegans and vegetarians.

Note, although this gluten-free pasta is quick to cook and flavorful, its nutritional value per serving is less than Banka's chickpea and even traditional pasta, with low fiber (1 gram) and protein (4 grams). These numbers are on par with Barilla gluten free elbows pasta.

#5 Cybele's Free to Eat Superfood Veggie Gluten Free Pasta - Best for Vegetarians

WHY WE LIKE IT: Thanks to this gluten-free pasta's red lentil, tomato, and red bell pepper composition, it is a great choice for veggie lovers.

Pros

  • Delicious and veggie-based

  • High protein (24 grams per serving)

  • Comes with vitamins and minerals

Cons 

  • Small boxes 

  • Overcooking may result in stickiness and pastiness 

This gluten-free pasta has a generous macro profile, with 14 grams of protein, 24 grams of fiber, and 36 grams of carbs per serving. By serving, its 24 grams of protein is top on our list, followed by the #1 pick Banza Chickpea Gluten-Free Pasta's 23 grams of protein. It also contains vitamins, including Vitamin A and Vitamin C, along with a vegan free production that does not include eggs, soy, and fish.

We like this gluten-free pasta for picky children, allowing them to eat a full serving of vegetables without looking like it. Its texture and taste is on the softer side and consistency is more noodle than gluten free penne. More noodle-like, it's a great throw-in for children’s vegetable soups. Mix it with olive oil and you are golden (no pun intended).

How We Decided 

In determining the best gluten-free pasta to buy, we explored flavor, texture (mouth feel), ingredients, protein/fiber/carb content, safety (GMO-free, other additives, etc.). Corn and rice-based pasta tend to have the mildest, more "traditional" pasta flavors, with heartier options coming by way of wheat and chickpea.

Gluten-free pasta comes in different textures, from smooth (rice and corn) to pasty and doughy (e.g. chickpea and veggie). Chickpea pasta feels more doughy and pasty in the mouth whereas traditional rice and corn options like Barilla are harder, smoother, and not leave much of an aftertaste. Some pasta is better than others when it comes to not disintegrating after staying too long in boiling water or retaining sauce within its twisted shape. As with all pasta, try to eat it immediately after cooking so that it doesn't stick together or turn into a pasty and sticky mush.

Look carefully at protein/fiber/carb content. Some gluten-free pastes are much more nutritious than others. For example, our #1 pick Banza Chickpea Gluten Free Pasta has a high protein (23 grams) and more than double the fiber of traditional pasta.

Safety is an important consideration. Look for gluten-free pasta that is GMO-free, which does not use genetically modified organisms during the production process. Other considerations may include vegan and Kosher certified ingredients, which are rooted in Jewish dietary law with rules around the use of additives and processing.

Best Gluten-Free Pasta Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider 

Texture (Mouth Feel)

Gluten-free pasta generally comes with two cooking textures - al dente or soft, which depends on the amount of time spent boiling in your cookware. However, they also come in different shapes, with chickpea and veggie-pasta having more of a crunchy consistency. Traditional rice and corn pasta like Barilla, which have more of a smooth consistency. Note, finger length and twisting shape pasta also retain sauce a bit better than smooth pasta.

Ingredients & Protein/Fiber Carb Content

The best gluten-free pasta has a balanced protein, fiber, and carb ratio. Our favorite pick on this list is the #1 pick Banza Chickpea Gluten Free Pasta, which offers more than twice the amount of protein, up to 3 times the amount of fiber, and lesser carbs than traditional pasta. Low glycemic choices like the Banza Chickpea and the #2 pick Papa Vince Low are also easier to digest and do not spike sugar levels, perfect for diabetics. Our #5 pick Cybele's Free to Eat Superfood Veggie Gluten Free Pasta is also infused with vitamins, including Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Anyone with celiac disease can definitely benefit from this diet. 

Safety

Gluten-free foods in itself are an embodiment for safety by eliminating dough mixed with water, a substance that can inflame the intestines for sensitive people. This could result in bowel insensitivities allergies, and other forms of discomfort Other good to haves include a GMO-free composition, which bans the use of genetically modified ingredients, as well as vegan and vegetarian-friendly options.

Best Gluten-Free Pasta FAQs 

1. What's the difference between gluten-free pasta and regular pasta?

To us, the main difference comes with the texture. Gluten-free pasta tends to feel thicker with a slightly more doughy feel than regular pasta. It also absorbs a bit more sauce, which can really enhance its flavor profile.

2. Does gluten-free pasta get soft?

If gluten-free pasta is overcooked, it can become very soft. The best way to prevent this is to stir towards the second half of your boil every minute or so. Never let it sit too much towards the bottom. We also recommend using large pots to prevent the pasta from getting clumped together.

3.Is gluten-free pasta healthier?

Yes, the best gluten-free pasta recipe is typically healthier with fewer carbs and increased fiber and proteins than regular pasta. Our top two healthy options on this list, the #1 pick Banza Chickpea Gluten Free Pasta and the #6 pick Cybele's Free to Eat Gluten-Free Pasta, have an intense nutritional profile that rivals that of regular pasta.

4.What other brands do you recommend?

Although it did not make our list, we really like Jovial's gluten-free brown rice pasta, which is USDC organic certified, Vegan, and Kosher. Its thick and doughy texture is particularly appealing, which uses an organic brown rice flour and water.

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