Gluten Free Pasta: What to Know Before Buying, Our Favorite Recipes, and More!

Gluten Free Pasta: What to Know Before Buying, Our Favorite Recipes, and More!

Although traditional pasta is usually made using wheat flour, there are a variety of gluten free alternatives.

When you don’t have the time or energy to cook a complicated dish for dinner, pasta is a simple solution. In about 10 minutes you can boil a box of pasta to perfection then toss in your favorites like grilled chicken, steamed vegetables, and grated cheese.

If you follow a gluten free diet, you may think pasta is off limits. While traditional pasta is typically made with wheat flour, there are gluten free alternatives.

In this article, we’ll explore the subject of gluten free pasta in greater depth. You’ll learn how it’s made and what ingredients are used in addition to learning some simple tips for cooking with gluten free pasta. You’ll also receive a collection of 5 delicious recipes to enjoy featuring Schär pasta products.

What Do You Need to Know About Gluten Free Pasta?

The gluten free diet is the only effective treatment for celiac disease. Following the gluten free diet results in complete relief from symptoms for most patients, but it does come with some challenges. Though there are plenty of naturally gluten free foods like meat, fruits, and vegetables, sometimes you just want to cook something easy. The good news is that gluten free versions do exist for most convenience foods, but you have to be smart about shopping.

Gluten free pasta comes in bags and boxes, much like regular pasta. The main difference, of course, is in the ingredients. Pasta can be made from most gluten free grains, including rice, corn, and buckwheat as well as other alternatives like quinoa. Different ingredients yield different flavors and textures, so you should try out a variety of gluten free pastas to see which you like best.

When shopping for gluten free pasta, you need to follow the same rules you do for buying other gluten free foods. Always check the information on the package to make sure the food is safe for consumption. Check the allergen warning for wheat and double-check the ingredients for obvious and hidden sources of gluten. the product might sport a “Certified Gluten Free” seal to make your job even easier. Once you have chosen your pasta, all that’s left is to learn how to cook it.

Tips for Cooking with Gluten Free Pasta

If you’ve done much gluten free cooking, you already know that it can get a little complicated sometimes. Gluten free flours like almond flour and coconut flour simply don’t respond the same way as wheat flour and trying to convert a regular recipe to gluten free can quickly turn into a nightmare.

The good news is that cooking gluten free pasta is pretty straight forward. There are, however, a few things you should know to make sure you prepare your pasta correctly.

Here are some tips for cooking with gluten free pasta:

  • Pay attention to the amount called for in the recipe. If you take two equal-sized boxes of gluten free and regular pasta, you’ll find that the gluten free version weighs less. Instead of subbing ounce-for-ounce of gluten free pasta, refer to the information on the box to sub an equal number of servings.
  • Fill your pot 2/3 full of water. Gluten free pasta tends to expand more than regular pasta during cooking, and it creates a lot of foam, so leave yourself some extra room in the pot.
  • Don’t be afraid to add a little extra salt. You should always salt your water when cooking pasta, but it is particularly important for gluten free pasta because it can be a little dull without that added flavor. Use about 2 tablespoons per pound of gluten free pasta.
  • Stir often during the first few minutes of cooking. Gluten free pasta is much starchier than regular, so the noodles have a tendency to stick together. Stir every 30 seconds during the first few minutes of cooking and add a drizzle of olive oil to help keep the noodles from clinging.
  • Don’t overcook your noodles. Gluten free pasta may take more or less time than regular pasta to cook, depending on the ingredients. Set a timer for 2 minutes less than the recommended cook time and taste test the pasta at that point. You want to drain it when it is al dente – tender but with a slight bite.
  • Sauce your pasta immediately after draining. If you make the mistake of letting your gluten free pasta sit in the colander after draining, it could continue cooking and may become mushy. Instead, transfer it back to the pot immediately and add your sauce.
  • Use more sauce than you think you need. Gluten free pasta dishes can sometimes come out seeming dry, so don’t be afraid to add extra sauce! The noodles will absorb some of the sauce as they cool, and the starch in the pasta may cause the sauce to thicken.
  • Add a little cooking water to your dish. Because gluten free pasta is so starchy, you may need to add a little moisture to keep the sauce from thickening too much. You can either add a little of the cooking water or just don’t shake as much water out of the pasta when draining it.

If you’re not sure where to start with gluten free pasta, try a dedicated gluten free brand like Schär. Schär offers three boxed pasta varieties – fusilli, penne, and spaghetti – that can be used to whip up everything from a simple spaghetti and meat sauce to a delicious pasta entrée.

Try These 5 Gluten Free Pasta Recipes

A single box of gluten free pasta represents a wealth of recipe possibilities. Tossing cooked gluten free pasta with butter or pesto is a recipe for a quick and tasty meal, or you can add other ingredients to turn it into a true dining experience. If you’re looking for something extraordinary, try one of the recipes below:

1. Ratatouille Spaghetti

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (12-ounce) box Schär gluten free spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Stir in the zucchini, eggplant, red pepper, and garlic – sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, balsamic vinegar, and gluten free spaghetti.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the spaghetti is al dente and the sauce thickened.
  6. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated parmesan.

2. Creamy Fusilli Alfredo

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) box Schär gluten free fusilli pasta
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Add the fusilli pasta and cook to al dente, according to the package directions.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid – set the pasta aside.
  4. Add the reserved liquid back to the pot and heat it over medium-high heat.
  5. When the water is simmering, add the butter two tablespoons at a time, letting each piece melt before adding the next.
  6. Whisk in the parmesan cheese a little at a time, letting each addition melt before adding more.
  7. When the sauce is thick and creamy, toss in the drained fusilli pasta.
  8. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, then serve hot with more parmesan cheese.

3. Caesar Pasta Salad with Crunchy Chickpeas

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces Schär gluten free penne pasta
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes, fresh
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • ½ cup nonfat milk or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves minced garlic

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Drain the chickpeas, rinse them well, and pat them dry – spread them on the baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder, and oregano then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir until evenly coated then roast for 15 minutes until crispy. Set aside to cool.
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to boil then add the penne pasta.
  6. Cook to al dente according to the package directions then drain and rinse with cool water.
  7. Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Toss in the cooked pasta and ¾ of the chickpeas until well combined.
  9. Add the remaining ingredients to a blender and blend into a smooth dressing.
  10. Toss the dressing with the salad then top with the remaining chickpeas to serve.

4. Spicy Sausage Pasta 

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) box Schär gluten free fusilli pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces gluten free sausage links, sliced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the pasta.
  2. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions then drain and set aside, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil.
  4. Stir in the sausage and cook until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes, then stir in the onion.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes then pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan.
  6. Add the garlic and tomatoes then stir in the cream cheese, parmesan, and the ½ cup of reserved cooking liquid.
  7. Stir until the cheese has melted then stir in the pasta and serve immediately.

5. Sesame Ginger Noodles

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup minced ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red chilies
  • 1 (12-ounce) package Schär gluten free spaghetti
  • 5 cups baby bok choy, chopped coarsely
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, maple syrup, ginger, sesame oil, chilies, and garlic in a bowl.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil then add the spaghetti.
  3. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package directions then drain and set aside.
  4. Pour the sauce into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Toss in the baby bok choy and green onion then reduce the heat to low.
  6. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat with the sauce then serve immediately.

Though traditional pasta is a no-go for celiac sufferers, there are plenty of options for gluten free pasta that you are free to enjoy! Stock up on Schär fusilli, penne, or spaghetti and whip up a delicious pasta dinner for the whole family to enjoy.