It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
Being Celiac I must eat gluten free. So far I have not found any good [gluten free] pasta except for the Barilla brand which I think tastes so much like real pasta it is hard to tell the difference. My question is if it is OK in sodium etc as well as the taste and how your panel likes it.
Since I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2011, we have tested a lot of gluten free pastas and there are good ones on the market. (I will admit that we have not tested the Barilla brand as we haven't seen it in our local stores - but we'll keep looking for it!) The most widely available gluten-free pasta, so far as we can tell, is Ancient Harvest. These are made with corn and quinoa flours and hold up well to cooking.
On the other hand, we have had a lot of trouble with many brown rice pastas because they tend to shatter into small pieces: one second they are not done and the next they are overdone and a gloppy mess. That said, we have found that Jovial pasta is hands-down the best on the market. These are fantastic products and we now test our recipes using their pastas almost exclusively.
I am not sure how these guys do it, since their pastas are made with brown rice, but somehow they make a great pasta. Every shape we have tested has been consistently good and I especially like their fusilli and their egg tagliatelle. I wouldn't even try to make lasagna using any other gluten-free pasta.
Most pastas, whether gluten free or not, don't contain any salt so you need not worry about their sodium content. The sodium in the pasta recipes on the Dr. Gourmet website are from the other ingredients in the dish and not from the pasta itself.
Thanks for writing, and to our readers: if you know of another brand of gluten-free pasta that you like that we haven't tested, please send an email to [email protected] and tell us about it!
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS