Looking for gluten-free pasta recipes to cook for your family? Look no further than this dietitian-made comprehensive guide to gluten-free pasta!
Before my diagnosis with celiac disease, I never understood why people liked pasta that much. My mom would make spaghetti and I would eat it… but it was never a favorite. Maybe it was my body trying to tell me something… because I also never really liked bread…
Then I was diagnosed with celiac disease and over time, started to really enjoy gluten-free pasta. Today? I’m here to share with you all things gluten-free pasta. From what it is, the best ones to buy, how to make it, how to balance it into a gluten-free diet, plus many gluten-free pasta recipes to inspire you!
P.s. This blog post was sponsored by Taste Republic. A fresh certified gluten-free pasta company that also sells grain-free and vegan options as well. Their mission is to make sure everyone can enjoy pasta that actually tastes like pasta – no matter their dietary restrictions. And they do a great job at that, their gluten-free tortelloni is one of my ultimate pasta favorites so when they wanted to partner on this post, I was ecstatic. More on their delicious pasta later!
But first, were you ever taught how to identify gluten properly on a food label? If not, sign up for my FREE USA Food Label-Reading Class where I show you EXACTLY what you need to look for on a food label to stay celiac-safe in the USA. Stop stressing over grocery shopping in just 4-simple steps with this FREE training!
When talking about gluten-free pasta, it’s important to know what pasta is. According to dictionary.com, pasta is a dish originating from Italy usually made from unleavened wheat-based dough that is mixed with flour and eggs. Then it’s molded into different shapes, boiled/baked, and enjoyed.
There are two types of pasta, fresh and dried. Fresh pasta is the pasta that is most easily made at home. Once made into shapes, it takes a lot less time to cook than dried pasta.
While many kinds of pasta today originate from Italy, I also want to acknowledge that many countries have their own traditional and cultural pasta too.
That said because it is often made with wheat flour, pasta usually contains gluten. This brings me to the next important topic…
Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, contaminated oats, and wheat. It may be helpful to remember the acronym “BROW” when trying to remember what foods have gluten.
In baked goods, gluten holds things together working as a binding agent. It gives texture and chew to foods.
Most people can safely eat gluten. However, some people have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease which means they need to avoid gluten. It can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea and nausea as well as nonintestinal symptoms such as rashes, headaches, or joint pain.
Because it is typically made with wheat flour, pasta is not typically gluten-free. It can also be made with rye and barley or flavored with them (though rare), and that would make it no longer gluten-free as well.
And it’s not just the ingredients you might find in pasta that make it no longer gluten-free, cooking methods can also render it unsafe for those avoiding gluten. If you have celiac for example, cross-contact with gluten can contaminate gluten-free foods to unsafe levels.
Cross-contact is when food that doesn’t contain a specific allergenic protein, comes into contact with a food that does contain that allergenic protein, and now is no longer free from that allergenic protein.
That was a mouthful but with gluten, this can look like cooking gluten-filled pasta in a pot of water and then cooking gluten-free pasta in that same water after the gluten-filled pasta. This would make the gluten-free pasta no longer gluten-free because it was contaminated in the gluten-filled pasta water. This could happen in a home or restaurant setting and if you have celiac, these points of cross-contact should be managed.
Now that we know that not all pasta is gluten-free, we can talk about which gluten-free pasta is the best to use in recipes. For the most part, the type of pasta you use is going to depend on the recipe you’re making and what you want from the recipe.
Below are some of my favorite options and why. Fair warning, this is all based on my own opinion as a dietitian specializing in celiac and as a person who’s been living with celiac disease for over 10 years. As always, assess the suitability and safety of options for yourself.
We can’t talk about the best gluten-free pasta recipes without talking about boxed gluten-free mac and cheese. There’s a lot you can make with gluten-free boxed mac and cheese. However, my favorite way to enjoy it is “as is” with hot sauce.
My favorite gluten-free boxed mac and cheese is by Annies. Make sure you’re getting their gluten-free one because they also sell gluten-filled versions. It’s absolutely delicious to me. I also like the Banza boxed mac and cheese, both the vegan and normal gluten-free ones are yummy and have decent protein and fiber in them.
Lastly, this is going to be a controversial statement but I do not like Kraft’s gluten-free macaroni and cheese. It tastes like plastic to me…but I know some people really like it so don’t be afraid to give it a try.
The best gluten-free pasta to enjoy if you’re looking to boost gluten-free fiber and protein in your recipe is bean pasta. This is pasta that has been made from beans and thus has most of the benefits of beans.
My favorite bean pasta is Banza pasta because it’s easy to find in stores. It’s a chickpea pasta that in my opinion, resembles the flavors of whole-grain pasta. That said, the texture is noticeably different.
Just be careful when shopping for bean pasta because not all of them are gluten-free. For example, Brami Lupini Bean Pasta is made with lupini beans and semolina flour, which is wheat flour. So always be sure to check the label to ensure the pasta you’re buying is gluten-free. If you need help with this, check out my FREE gluten-free USA-label reading class.
Additionally, when preparing gluten-free pasta recipes, you might often need noodles to add to dishes. Remember, all noodles are pasta but not all pasta is noodles. To learn more about the difference, check out this article.
My favorite gluten-free noodles to buy are Lotus Foods gluten-free noodles. They’ve got delicious ramen, pad thai, and more.
When buying noodles, you’ll want to make sure you’re buying the right kind for each recipe. For example, you wouldn’t use ramen for Japachae and you wouldn’t glass noodles for GF ramen.
If your gluten-free pasta recipe calls for Tortelloni, I’ve got the best option for you! Tortelloni are typically vegetarian, primarily made with cheeses, herbs and vegetables. They are traditionally much larger than tortellini and are typically served in a simple, light sauce.
It’s different from tortellini which are small, ring-shaped filled pasta (typically about the size of a thimble) that are usually stuffed with meat and served in a broth. Which is different from ravioli because of its shape. Ravioli is more pillow-like.
In the 10 years, I’ve had celiac disease, the best gluten-free tortelloni, and ravioli I’ve made at home has been the ones you can buy from Taste Republic. Full disclosure, they are sponsoring this blog post but they’d be listed as my favorite even if they weren’t.
Their tortelloni (and really all of their pasta that I’ve tried) is soft and pillowy. Bonus? It has 2g of fiber per serving and cooks in ~3 minutes- which honestly, is perfect for my celiac ADHD mind.
And sometimes, if I’m really looking for comfort, I’ll just enjoy their tortelloni with a little bit of butter… it’s that good. If you’re looking for gluten-free tortelloni, definitely try them out FIRST!
If you’re looking to cook brown rice pasta in your gluten-free pasta recipes, my absolute favorite is made by Jovial. Their brown rice pasta is a gluten-free whole grain option that offers 2g of fiber and tastes a lot like normal pasta.
They also come in lots of fun shapes that are perfect for different recipes. One of my favorite things to do when it comes to cooking pasta recipes is to choose a new shape to make a recipe with and this brand is perfect to do that with.
If the gluten-free pasta recipe is calling for dried pasta and you want pasta that is most alike to gluten-filled pasta, my favorite is made by Barilla.
Pasta made from beans is also usually dried so if you’re looking for the best dried gluten-free pasta that will add fiber and protein, check out that pasta. However, the texture and flavor are definitely not similar to gluten-filled pasta.
What about the best gluten-free fresh pasta? Again, Taste Republic takes the cake. I mean it’s literally written on their website “fresh pasta can be gluten-free and still have the same amazing taste and texture as “regular” pasta. That’s the standard each of our products has to meet before ever making its way to your plate”. If you’ve ever tried their pasta, then you know that they meet that standard every time.
And yes, their fettuccine is ready to eat in just 2-3 minutes of boiling. PLUS, you can cook it straight from the freezer. And if you’re low on freezer space (like every other celiac I know), it keeps in your fridge for 5 days after arriving at your home.
Honestly, dried pasta is great but if you can have fresh pasta in your freezer to prepare whenever – that’s really the move. Find out where you can by Taste Republic here!
Now that we know pasta isn’t always gluten-free and which gluten-free pasta is best to use in recipes, let’s talk about how to actually cook with GF pasta. If you’ve been gluten-free for a while you know that cooking isn’t always as simple as swapping gluten-free options for gluten-filled options.
However, in the case of gluten-free pasta, it often is almost as simple if not as simple as just swapping gluten-filled pasta for gluten-free pasta. That said, often cooking times, textures, and flavors vary slightly between gluten-filled and gluten-free pasta so be sure you’re factoring that into your recipes.
That said, gluten-free pasta recipes might taste funny depending on the type of gluten-free pasta you swap in. This is where paying attention to the type of gluten-free pasta you’re using is important.
Bean-based pasta tends to have a nuttier flavor and in some cases, can be slightly bitter. In my opinion, the flavor is a lot like whole wheat pasta so use it like you would whole wheat pasta.
Brown rice pasta can have a strong nutty and even slightly bitter flavor and falls into the same category as bean pasta. I usually choose to use it in my recipes where I would enjoy whole wheat pasta to.
Corn-based pasta often has a very strong corn flavor so keep that in mind. However, when Many any of these flours are blended together in a gluten-free flour blend, the strong flavors can be masked so when in doubt, choose pasta made with a mix of flour and starches.
Ultimately, to make gluten-free pasta taste better in the recipes, choose the right pasta and make sure your gluten-free sauces/flavorings are strong enough to carry the dish.
When cooking gluten-free pasta recipes, you’ll need to be mindful that gluten-free pasta often cooks differently than regular pasta. This largely depends on the type of pasta that you’re using.
Fresh gluten-free pasta like that from Taste Republic, cooks a lot faster than boxed pasta. Boasting a ~3-minute cooking time. This is a little less than the average cooking time for gluten-filled fresh pasta which is usually done at ~4 minutes.
You’ll find that a lot of gluten-free pasta follows that pattern and is typically cooked a lot faster than gluten-filled options. As a celiac who lives in a shared home, I notice that my gluten-free dried pasta always cooks faster than my partner’s gluten-filled pasta.
Varied cooking times aside, you’ll also find that some gluten-free pasta is foamier and stickier than gluten-filled pasta. This means I have to stir my gluten-free pasta occasionally as it cooks but my partner doesn’t have to stir his.
Lastly, gluten-free pasta can act differently texture-wise when cooked. Some fall apart more easily than others and some are better leftovers than others. For example, I’ve found that bean-based pasta does not maintain its integrity as well as Barilla gluten-free pasta.
Ultimately, check the cooking directions on the pasta box or refer to the company website for more directions on how to prepare their pasta, as it likely is different from gluten-filled directions.
As I’ve mentioned above, when cooking gluten-free pasta recipes, the type of pasta you use will change the results of your recipe. And types of pasta are based on what it’s made from and whether or not it’s fresh or dried.
Gluten-free pasta can be made from gluten-free flour blends that include gluten-free grains like rice and corn. These blends can also include gums like xanthan gum, and starches like potato starch. Lastly, they can also be made of other creative ingredients like beans and sweet potatoes.
Before we get into gluten-free pasta recipes to inspire you, I think it’s important to talk about whether or not gluten-free pasta is healthy. Often the immediate advice given to newly diagnosed celiacs is to only buy fresh unpackaged gluten-free food. This can lead to a lot of guilt and shame when you go to buy products that have a food label (including gluten-free pasta).
I’m holding so much space for anyone struggling with this kind of food guilt and shame around managing celiac. In the autoimmune sphere, there’s a lot of pressure to avoid processed foods and it can make the weight of trying to feed ourselves that much harder.
So first, it’s important to understand that “healthy” is a subjective term and looks different for different people. While yes, fruits and vegetables offer many nutritional benefits, they aren’t the only way to eat healthily. We have to look at where we are and what we need to determine what healthy means for us.
And what’s “healthy” can also change by meal and day based on our changing needs. On a particularly challenging day where eating regular meals feel like a chore, just eating enough can be considered healthy – and if pasta helps you get there, that’s totally valid.
On another day, when you have more mental space to focus on your meals, adding in fruits and vegetables can be healthy. Or when you realize you haven’t eaten anything since breakfast and have the urge to just push through until dinner, taking the time to stop and make a quick bowl of ~3-minute tortelloni from Taste Republic can be healthy.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to our food choices and habits, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and get caught up in mainstream wellness culture, and I hope that you’re able to be more gentle with yourself as you figure out what healthy looks like for you.
And when it comes to gluten-free pasta, it can absolutely have a place in a healthy gluten-free diet. It can be a healthy option for those looking for quick gluten-free meals. It can be considered healthy if you’re choosing a bean pasta that’s boosting fiber and protein in your meal. It can be considered healthy if you’re balancing your pasta dish with vegetables, protein, and fats.
I learn best through examples so let’s look at some examples of balanced gluten-free pasta recipes and meals. Please keep in mind that the below examples are not all-inclusive and may not be applicable to you. They are for educational purposes only and if you have any questions about how to balance your own gluten-free diet, consult your healthcare team.
Example 1: You just got home from a long day at work and thinking about getting dinner on the table feels impossible. Any kind of gluten-free pasta can be a healthy part of dinner if it’s making the difference between you skipping dinner and eating anything at all. In this case, it could be healthy to cook a ~3-minute bowl of Taste Republic Ravioli and call it a night.
Example 2: You have strong texture preferences with your food. Because of that, you don’t like bean pasta and prefer alternatives that taste more like normal pasta. So you cook some fresh gluten-free Taste Republic Fettuccine pasta which has 3g of fiber. You serve it with chicken breast (tofu or beans could work too) for protein to help you stay full and a side of steamed veggies for more fiber and nutrients.
Example 3: You don’t have strong texture preferences but love how convenient dried pasta is for quick dinners. You make a bowl of bean-based gluten-free pasta which provides a source of fiber and protein, and you top it with your favorite sauce. You might throw in a side dish along with the bean pasta if it isn’t satisfying enough on its own.
Another way to boost nutrients in pasta dishes if you have the space for it is by boiling your pasta with a lucky iron fish (affiliate link) which will fortify it with iron. You could also sprinkle ground flax seeds, hemp hearts, or chia seeds on top of your pasta to boost other essential micronutrients that are important for celiac. Lastly, you could blend some extra veggies into your pasta sauce to boost veggie intake or add plain collagen to boost protein intake. These are not requirements for pasta dishes to be healthy but other creative ways to support nutrition if you have the capacity to consider them or if they sound feasible and enjoyable for you.
What’s also important to note is that one day you might be in a season of being able to look at a pasta dish and add more veggies and protein and another day you might be in a season where eating buttered noodles is all you can manage. Be flexible and gentle with yourself as you navigate the different contexts around health and your needs.
Now that we’ve got the details of pasta out of the way, let’s get into gluten-free pasta recipes you should try.
In the following sections, I’ll be sharing with you dietitian-approved gluten-free recipes for making your own gluten-free fresh pasta, baking pasta, and cooking pasta into one-pot dishes.
To kick off the gluten-free pasta recipes you should try, we’re talking all things fresh pasta. As I’ve mentioned, you can buy dried and fresh pasta – but you can also make it too. There are lots of recipes on the internet for gluten-free pasta. Below are a few of my favorites.
This Fresh Pasta Recipe by the Loopy Whisk only requires 3 ingredients: gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, and eggs. The catch? You’ll need a pasta machine. Additionally, the fresh pasta will take anywhere from 4-8 minutes to cook.
That said, this recipe does include directions for preparing the fresh pasta or drying it for future use!
This Gluten-Free Potato Gnocchi Recipe by Elizabeth Barbone at Serious Eats is another gluten-free pasta recipe to try. If you’re not familiar, gnocchi is a pillowy pasta that can easily be made fresh at home.
For this recipe, you will need potatoes, white rice flour, sweet rice flour (yes they are different), eggs, and salt. You will not need any special equipment like other pasta-making recipes.
This guide to making Gluten-Free Ravioli by Laurel at Darn Good Veggies is another fun fresh gluten-free pasta recipe to try. All you’ll need is a gluten-free flour blend, eggs, and salt plus whatever you want to fill the ravioli with!
And remember, if you really want fresh pasta but don’t want to do all of the work of making it, Taste Republic sells absolutely drool-worthy options (including ravioli)!
Not in the mood to make your own pasta but instead, want gluten-free pasta recipes to serve as a meal? Gluten-free Pasta Bake Recipes are a must-try. Essentially, all the are is a baked pasta dish topped with sauce and melted cheese. Yum.
Really, I like to make pasta bakes when I’m sick of the same old pasta recipes made on the stovetop. This just adds an exciting flare that makes what I’m eating feel less monotonous without changing up the recipes too much.
That said most of these recipes contain dairy so if you’re lactose intolerant with celiac too (like I was for many years), you may want to skip some of the recipes. Or you can swap the dairy for dairy-free versions or in some cases, omit it.
This No-Boil Pasta Bake by Unbound Wellness is gluten-free and perfect for gluten-free pasta lovers. General guidance on how the recipe is made, general ingredients in the recipe, benefits of some of the ingredients in the recipe, what to serve the recipe with, and how to balance nutrition in this recipe.
This Gluten-Free 5 Ingredient Baked Ziti made by The Real Food Dietitians is a great option for people overwhelmed by long lists of ingredients in recipes. All you’ll need is gluten-free dried pasta, ground meat, GF pasta sauce, shredded cheese, and Italian seasoning.
Personally, I’m not usually a fan of recipes that require you to use multiple dishes (which is why there’s a whole section of recipes after this pasta bake section dedicated to one-pot pasta recipes), but because there are only 5 ingredients, this recipe feels very manageable.
This Gluten-Free Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake made by Yummy Bowl looks delicious. Perfect for when you need a comforting cheesy dinner. To make it you’ll need parsley, milk, heavy cream, gluten-free shredded cheese and parmesan, gluten-free pasta, chicken, butter, gluten-free flour, and cooking spray.
Balance it out by making it with bean pasta to boost protein and fiber, or by serving it with a side salad or steamed veggies. Alternatively, just enjoy it as is for a comforting meal.
This Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole made by Small Farm Big Life is another yummy pasta bake to try. All you’ll need to make it is oil, onions, garlic, chicken, spices, marinara sauce, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, GF pasta, and cheese.
Add some frozen veggies into the casserole or serve with a side of veggies to balance it out. You could also use bean pasta in the recipe to boost protein and fiber. If you want to go the traditional route, serve it with a side of gluten-free Schar toast for extra fiber too.
This GF Vegan Pasta Bake with Mushrooms made by Ela Vegan is another fun gluten-free pasta recipe to try. You’ll need gluten-free pasta, mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, GF veggie broth, garlic, coconut milk, spiced, and GF vegan cheese/cheese sauce.
Alternatively, this recipe would be really flavorful without the vegan cheese. You could also serve it with a pesto of pasta sauce and it’d still be tasty.
Other gluten-free pasta recipes to try are one-pot recipes. These tend to be very ADHD friendly too, so if you have celiac and ADHD, this is your section! Of course, anyone is welcome to enjoy the benefits of these recipes too!
My Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup only requires one pot to make and is super popular in my house. While it requires only one pot, I usually split the recipe into two and make one gluten-free and one gluten-filled for people in my house because… have you seen the prices of gluten-free pasta? I’m not sharing when my partner can eat pasta that costs literally <$1 lol.
To make this gluten-free chicken noodle soup you’ll need oil, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken, bay leaves, GF chicken broth, GF dried pasta, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. The ingredient list is almost too long for my own attention span but I promise you, it’s delicious -plus clean up is super easy as it only uses one pot.
This Gluten-Free Linguini Bolognese by Taste Republic requires one pot and is absolutely delicious. You’ll need fresh gluten-free linguini (like the linguini Taste Republic sells), onions, garlic, spinach, olive oil, ground beef, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, and spices.
With there only being 4 steps to making this dish, it makes up for the long(ish) ingredient list. (I say long(ish) because if a recipe ingredient list is too long my eyes will glaze over but I might just be weird like that…). Reduce cooking time and make plant-focused by swapping ground beef for canned beans.
This One Pot Taco Pasta Recipe made by What Molly Made isn’t written to be gluten-free but the author did use gluten-free brown rice pasta and the rest of the ingredients can easily be bought gluten-free.
To make it, you’ll need gluten-free rotini, oil, onions, garlic, ground beef, spices, salsa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice. It’s a long(ish) list of ingredients but remember, it’s all going in one pot so it’s not as overwhelming as it might look.
This One-Pot Veggie Pasta by The Rustic Foodie is one of many gluten-free pasta recipes to try! It’s got tons of colorful veggies and flavor all made in one pot.
This recipe only takes 30 minutes to make. The best part, if you don’t like one of the vegetables used, you can substitute it for one of your favorites! Boost nutrition, fiber, and protein by adding in some canned beans!
This Creamy Gluten-Free Tortelloni Soup by Taste Republic is made in a dutch oven, and that’s it. Making clean up easy. For this recipe, you will need gluten-free tortelloni, oil, sausage, onion, garlic, arrowroot powder, chicken broth, tomato sauce, kale, greek yogurt, and spices.
If you don’t like kale, broccoli or cauliflower is a great swap – but may require a little more cooking time. You could also boost protein and fiber by adding in beans.
Gluten-free pasta recipes can be a delicious part of a balanced gluten-free diet. Pay attention to your needs when balancing gluten-free pasta into your diet. Making sure to factor in your mental and physical needs. While also honoring your taste and texture preferences.
Thank you Taste Republic for generously sponsoring this blog post. It’s always a pleasure to be able to work with brands that I love like this. If you’re looking to try out fresh delicious gluten-free pasta in your recipes, definitely check them out. It truly doesn’t get better than enjoying gluten-free pasta in <3 minutes of cooking. Click here to find Taste Republic near you!