(Photo: Instagram @coeliacvegetarian)
We’re at peak spiralizer right now — look on Instagram or Pinterest, and you’ll find recipes for gluten-free noodle-shaped vegetables smothered in pasta sauce and cheese to make up for the lack of al dente. The trick to enjoying zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash is to avoid comparing them to their gluten-filled counterparts — they’re delicious because they’re fresh vegetables, but they’ll never compare to a bowl of cacio e pepe. Here are some of our favorite gluten-free noodles that have a bit of chew to them, tried and tested by the Bobbi Brown team:
Edamame beans are great sources of fiber and protein, and this green spaghetti-shaped pasta made of beans and water cooks al dente so that you can get the whole-mouth feel that you crave when you want a bowl of pasta. This vegan and gluten-free pasta will absorb the flavor of any broth that you cook it in, but it also pairs nicely with curry sauce.
We’re about to blow your mind: this is a zero-calorie pasta, and it’s soy- and gluten-free. The slightly translucent noodles, kept fresh in water, are made from glucomannan, which is an indigestible dietary fiber (it passes right through you!) made from the root of the konjac plant (like the facial sponges). Full disclosure: They have an odor when you first open the bag, which is why it’s important to follow the instructions to rinse and boil them before further preparations. Even though the pasta comes in shapes like Angel Hair, we recommend sticking to Asian dishes like pad thai and cold sesame noodles since it has a slightly rubbery quality.
Tofu shirataki noodles are also made from the konjac plant, but the addition of tofu adds an al dente texture for only 20 calories. Try adding your favorite meat or cheese sauce to the pasta after cooking. The tofu helps the yam-based noodles stick to the sauce a little more.
Finding decent gluten-free substitutes for your favorite wheat-based products can get expensive real fast. Luckily for all of us, bargain-friendly Trader Joe’s has entered the gluten-free pasta game. This brown rice and quinoa pasta has a nutty taste and al dente texture. Prepare it however you’d normally prepare fusilli — like in your heartiest casseroles, in a picnic-friendly pasta salad, or in Mom’s chicken noodle soup.
Rice vermicelli — aka rice noodles — has been used in Asian cuisine, like in Vietnamese pho soup, for centuries. Traditionally, vermicelli is made with white rice, but this variety packs in the nutrients with brown rice. If making pho is beyond your scope of culinary skill, just add the noodles to your favorite soup for some extra thickening. Or try this traditional Chinese dish: make a rice noodle salad with some vinegar, soy sauce, and cucumber slices. It’s an incredibly refreshing dish on a hot summer day.
Kelp noodles look like rice vermicelli and have a similar glutinous texture, but they have the added nutritional benefit of seaweed. The best part of these noodles is that you don’t even need to cook them before eating them. Theoretically, you could slurp them cold right out of the plastic bag, but we recommend tossing them into a stir-fry.
We didn’t forget about our macrobiotic enthusiasts. Buckwheat is inherently gluten-free because it’s made from the seed of a plant related to rhubarb, but most buckwheat soba noodles are actually partially made with wheat flour, too. These soba noodles, however, are made with only buckwheat flour, which means you can use them for Japanese-style or any dishes that require spaghetti-shaped pasta.
Because we can’t imagine life without fettuccine alfredo. Cappello’s almond flour-based fettuccine isn’t vegan (it has egg), but it’s low on the glycemic index and still tastes buttery. The Colorado-based brand isn’t cheap, but this is exactly what you should be serving at any dinner parties you’re hosting — your guests won’t even realize that it’s gluten-free!
If you still crave mac and cheese from a box —go for the best kind. Annie’s Homegrown has a gluten-free version of your childhood favorite and the milk and cheese come from cows not treated with growth hormones. If you’re feeling real fancy, add some truffle oil or truffle shavings on top.