Giving Up Gluten, Part 2: Like molten bicycle spokes

Giving Up Gluten, Part 2: Like molten bicycle spokes

When one person in the family goes gluten free, everyone to one degree or another is going to have to get on board, right?

My kids eat a lot of pasta; my husband loves pasta… pasta is going to be a tough one. I know boiling another pot for two types of pasta doesn’t take a lot of work, but with all of the adjustments I already make to accommodate my kids, I feel like one more meal modification might break me. I would like to think we could all just eat the same thing. And really, how bad can gluten free pasta be?


Years ago I made the switch to whole wheat pasta which was never any good, but I felt like a criminal if I fed my kids anything white. More recently, we started eating 100% Spelt pasta by Pantanella which we all agree is excellent and from what I gather a healthier choice than the whole wheat pasta. I can also get everyone to eat a Quinoa and Kamut pasta by Eden Organic, but these still contain gluten. Upping the ante yet again in my quest to cut out all gluten I tried GoGo Rice and Quinoa Spaghetti. What follows is the twitter feed between my husband and two others on the subject.

@andrewpyper: Rice pasta, masquerading as real pasta, is – how shall I put it? unconvincing.
@alisonpick: @andrewpyper You can see into my kitchen?
@trevor_cole : @alisonpick @andrewpyper Gummy.
@andrewpyper : @trevor_cole @alisonpick Yes. And heavy. Like molten bicycle spokes
@alisonpick @andrewpyper @trevor_cole Tonight’s lesson: no matter how much garlic and fresh herbs you add, rice pasta will always equal molten spokes.
@andrewpyper: @alisonpick @trevor_cole We have learned the same lesson. A universal lesson…

As you can see, rice pasta received a failing grade, at least from these three critics, to say nothing of my two pint sized critics. My advice? Skip the rice pasta altogether and pick up a spaghetti squash. Sorry rice pasta, but you just don’t taste very good. Spaghetti squash on the other hand has a very mild flavor, a light texture and does a fine job acting as a noodle without the depressing gummy texture that rice pasta yields. That is, if you cook it properly. You don’t want an over cooked spaghetti squash.


Spaghetti Squash preparation:

Slice the spaghetti squash lengthwise. This sounds easy, but this squash has some thick skin; you’ll need a sharp knife. Or, you can try what my mother recommends ( she can’t get into them even with a sharp knife ) and toss it off the second floor balcony. I wish I was joking. Place the cut (or smashed) squash cut side down on a baking sheet and poke holes in the skin to allow steam to escape. My mother also suggests using a hand drill to make the holes, but that’s where I draw the line. Bake it in the oven at 375 for 25 – 35 minutes depending on the size. Check it periodically to ensure you aren’t over cooking. The squash pictured here was done at 25 minutes. Cooked properly, you can take a fork and drag it through the flesh to get long spaghetti like strands, cooked too long and you might as well make a soup. With a large spoon scoop the squash and top it off with your favorite sauce.

If you’ve had gluten free noodle success, do let me know what your secret is. I’m all ears.

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  1. Brenda
    March 15, 12:13 Reply

    Try Gogo Quinoa brand – they make quinoa and rice noodles that are very good.
    I made a GF Buckwheat Round bread yesterday that was surprisingly good. The recipe can be found on the Canadian House and Home website.
    I recommend you check out La Tartine Gourmande and Cannelle Vanille – very innovative, inspiring and delicious GF.
    Good luck with your journey.

  2. Heidi Pyper
    March 16, 08:46 Reply

    Thank you for the suggestions and for reading. I need to be innovative and inspired!
    Canelle and Vanille looks gorgeous as does Tartine Gourmande. I have a feeling that I’ll be spending a lot there.

  3. Dana Schwartz
    March 18, 20:39 Reply

    Oh, I can so relate to your pasta woes! When my daughter (now almost 5) was diagnosed with celiac at 3, I had some serious issues with brown rice pasta – Looking back I’m sure it was because I overcooked it, all too easy to do. But it doesn’t have to be bad! Jovial and Tinkyada are great tasting brands, as long as you are very careful not to overcook, meaning test the pasta after about HALF the recommended cooking time. And keep testing every minute after.

    But even better than brown rice pasta, to me, are other kinds – Quinoa is gluten free (though perhaps not the brand you were trying) and I love the brands Schar (awesome!) and Bionature (made in Italy!). Those are a combo of rice, potato, and corn.

    The biggest thing for me, and my family, was TIME. It takes time to get used to gluten free pasta. I truly think you are rewiring your taste buds, But now, we LOVE GF pasta and cook it much more frequently than in those first months, um, year.

    I have a post on my blog all about pasta, including recommended brands, if you’re interested take a peek 🙂

    Good luck!

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  6. Erin
    October 22, 22:01 Reply

    We have tried every GF pasta imaginable and most have been really disappointing. But pasta my kids voted #1 was Trader Joe’s brown rice penne. I serve it all the time to kids and adults who are over for play dates and it disappears. Don’t overcook it — it gets gummy — but al dente it’s our favorite.

  7. Jean
    March 23, 02:07 Reply

    Our favorite is Catelli brand linguine (think it is a Canadian company), their gluten free is made with white rice, brown rice, corn (non GMO), and quinoa. I’ve found that one key is to try to not make any more than you can eat at one meal as it will suck up any liquid in the surrounding sauce and sometimes turn really hard even then. And the lady’s tip about checking it for doneness frequently.

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