Going gluten-free has never been easier. There are cookies, crackers, sauces, cereals, and many more grocery store items that now proudly wear a gluten-free label. However, as many people who shop for these items know, they typically come with a long list of ingredients and a big price tag. The same goes for gluten-free pastas, which are only available in select varieties anyway. I become bored with the corn, quinoa, and brown rice blends. I wanted a fresh, satisfying, yet simple alternative to the heavily processed, dried options at the store. Here are three gluten-free pasta options:
1. Spaghetti Squash
By far my favorite, spaghetti squash offers an amazing texture and taste compared to conventional pastas. Plus, it is easier to digest, higher in nutrients, and lower in calories than most packaged pastas. What you need to do is peel and cut the squash, glaze it with oil, and roast it until tender. Then, using a fork or potato masher, gently press the squash down until the “noodles” begin separating. You will see the “noodles” immediately. Continue this until the squash is completely broken down into the “noodles.” Add your favorite pasta sauce and serve warm. I recommend a nice tomato-based sauce with Italian spices.
Perhaps one of the most beloved options for raw foodies, zucchinis are another great choice for gluten-free pasta because they are nutrient-dense and delicious. You can spiralize them (using a spiralizer) or peel into thin or thick noodles. These raw noodles work great with both raw and cooked sauces and can even be tossed directly into soups. The best option here is definitely to serve these with a pesto sauce. These firm noodles hold their texture, but will become softer in warm sauces or soups. The greatest part though is that one zucchini can make enough pasta for two to four people in the time it takes to spiral or peel — talk about saving time and money!
3. Bean Sprouts
These nutritional powerhouses are oftentimes overlooked because they cook very quickly and lose their texture. Their high water content means any boiling or steaming will drastically alter their appeal, making them limp and tasteless rather quickly. However, if served raw or added to the dish just a few moments before serving, they are actually quite satisfying as a pasta replacement. The dishes that work best with this option are stir-fries and soups. Just remember not to add all the bean sprouts in the beginning — you can add these fresh to each portion served to maintain quality.
Think outside of the pasta aisle! Noodle options abound; you don’t have to be stuck with highly processed, highly packaged, dehydrated ones. Also, while a spiralizer makes things easier, it is not essential to creating your own gluten-free pasta. You can have pasta at home with nothing more than a peeler. Try these options for a change and then get creating your own new noodles. Remember, many different vegetables, like beets, carrots, and even asparagus can be made into pasta using the method in option one.
Image source: Raw Vegan Zucchini Marinara Pasta