Published November 1, 2013. From Cook’s Illustrated.
We stomached plenty of mushy, gritty, and bland noodles to find a superior gluten-free pasta.
Gluten is the protein matrix that gives wheat noodles their structure and pleasant chew. The challenge for gluten-free pasta manufacturers is to achieve a similar structure and chew with grains that lack the specific proteins necessary to form this matrix. We tasted eight products made variously with rice, corn, and quinoa, first tossed with olive oil and then with tomato sauce.
Unfortunately, most samples absolutely failed to meet our standards for spaghetti. They were “mushy” and “gritty”; worse, they tasted “bland” and sometimes “fishy,” and tomato sauce provided only minimal distraction. But there was a lone standout that tasters found “clean”-tasting and “springy”—impressively close to regular spaghetti.
Looking to the product labels for an explanation, we made a few discoveries. For starters, corn-based products (including those misleadingly labeled as “quinoa” pasta but made mostly from corn) were universally bad. Tasters panned not only their “boiled corn muffin” flavor but also their gummy, clumpy texture—a criticism… read more
Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread
RECOMMENDED – WINNER
$3.99 for 12 oz ($0.33 per oz) Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta, Spaghetti
Thanks to a relatively high combined total of fiber and protein and a low, slow drying process, these “delicate and thin” brown rice strands were “springy” and “clean”-tasting with none of the gumminess or off-flavors that plagued other brands.
RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
$4.39 for 8 oz ($0.55 per oz) Andean Dream Gluten & Corn Free Quinoa Pasta, Spaghetti
Several tasters noted that this “slightly translucent,” “plastic”-looking rice and quinoa pasta was “rubbery,” like “plastic” or “Twizzlers,” and a few noted that its generally “neutral,” “bland” flavor took on a “fishy,” “ashy” aftertaste when eaten plain. At least tomato sauce camouflaged some of those off-flavors.