The 10 Best Gluten-Free Pastas of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Enjoy the classic Italian dish with these alternatives

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If you stroll down the pasta aisle at the grocery store these days, you’re sure to find various types of gluten-free pastas in all shapes and sizes. Many brands, both traditional pasta makers and new ones, now offer gluten-free pasta to accommodate those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance

Gluten-free pastas are made from a wide variety of ingredients. Some are bean- and legume-based, made from ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, and beans. Others are made from gluten-free grains like corn and quinoa. You can also find other gluten- and grain-free pastas made from almond flour, cassava flour, and even hearts of palm.

While these products are excellent substitutes for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you may find yourself gravitating to gluten-free pasta even if you have no issues digesting gluten. Many of the gluten-free pastas are higher in dietary fiber and protein than regular wheat pasta, making them a healthy and satisfying choice for when you’re craving a big bowl of spaghetti.

Here are the best gluten-free pastas on the market.

Best Overall: Garofalo Gluten Free Penne Rigate

Garofalo Gluten Free Penne Rigate

For pasta that looks, feels, and tastes like real Italian pasta, try Garofalo Gluten-Free Penne Rigate. Founded in 1789, Garofolo knows good pasta! It’s a leading pasta brand in Italy, and they also make excellent gluten-free pasta.

Their penne rigate is made from a carefully selected blend of corn, brown rice, and quinoa flours. Processed in the same way as their regular pasta, their gluten-free offerings are made for optimal cooking and have the ability to hold on to sauces.

You can also find other gluten-free pasta shapes, like spaghetti, linguine, and casarecce. Compared to their durum wheat semolina pastas, Garofalo’s gluten-free pasta has slightly less calories but also less fiber and protein per serving.

Best Budget: Barilla Red Lentil, Rotini

Barilla Red Lentil, Rotini

Sometimes, gluten-free products are priced like specialty products. Popular grocery store brand Barilla now makes gluten-free offerings that are easy to find and less expensive than many others on the market. Barilla Red Lentil Rotini is a great gluten-free pasta that also packs a lot of nutritional value.

Barilla makes this gluten-free pasta with just one ingredient, red lentil flour. A 2-ounce serving is a great source of protein at 13 grams, and dietary fiber at 6 grams. It’s also a good source of some micronutrients, including iron and potassium.

You can find Barilla Red Lentil Pasta in two other shapes: penne and spaghetti. Their legume-based line of pastas includes chickpea pasta, too.

Best Tasting: ZENB Yellow Pea Penne Pasta

ZENB Penne Pasta

ZENB Yellow Pea Penne is a gluten-free pasta that tastes great AND packs the nutritional benefits of a legume-based pasta. It has a similar color and texture as regular wheat pasta and cooks up perfectly al dente.

Made from 100 percent yellow peas, this gluten-free pasta includes yellow pea skin, so it’s an excellent source of dietary fiber. A 2-ounce serving of ZENB penne provides 7 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein at 200 calories.

You can also pick from two other shapes of ZENB pasta: elbows and rotini. You can use any of the shapes for warm pasta dishes, soups, and pasta salads.

Best Tasting, Runner Up: Le Veneziane Italian Fettucce

Le Veneziane Italian Fettucce

We couldn’t choose just one, so Veneziane Italian Fettucce makes the list as our best-tasting runner-up for gluten-free pasta. A product of Italy, this gluten-free pasta is made from 100 percent Italian corn. You can also find this corn-based pasta in other popular shapes, like spaghetti and penne rigate.

This gluten-free pasta is not quite as nutrient-dense as some others on this list. A 2-ounce serving has 200 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. Venezian gluten-free pasta is an excellent option if you want an authentic-tasting pasta with a similar nutritional profile to regular wheat pasta.

Best Spaghetti: Bionaturae Rice and Lentil Spaghetti

Bionaturae Rice and Lentil Spaghetti

When you’re craving classic spaghetti and meatballs—but gluten-free—reach for a box of Bionaturae spaghetti. This certified gluten-free pasta is also certified organic and non-GMO. It’s allergen-friendly because it’s made in a dedicated kitchen free of gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, fish, and milk.

Bionaturae spaghetti is made from brown rice flour, white rice flour, and lentil flour. Each 2-ounce serving has 2 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein.

The product of Italy, Bionaturae also comes in other pasta shapes, like elbows, fusilli, and rigatoni. All of their pastas are made from the same blend of rice flours and red lentil flour.

Best Allergen-Free: Jovial Grain-Free Cassava Penne Rigate

Jovial Grain-Free Cassava Penne Rigate

Jovial Cassava Pasta is made with just one ingredient, cassava flour, so it’s allergen-friendly. It’s made in a dedicated gluten-free facility, and is completely free of milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy.

Cassava is a gluten-free, starchy vegetable native to South America. Because of the high starch content, cassava is a good base for many gluten-free products, including chips and tortillas. Cassava is also paleo-diet-friendly.

Jovial Cassava Pasta is USDA organic, certified gluten-free, non-GMO certified, and grain-free. A 2-ounce serving contains 200 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 0 grams of protein.

Best Low-Carb: Palmini Hearts of Palm Pasta

Palmini Hearts of Palm Pasta

If you follow a low-carbohydrate diet, try Palmini Low Carb Linguine. It’s made from hearts of palm, a vegetable harvested from the inner core of certain palm trees. Hearts of palm are naturally low in carbohydrates and calories.

Palmini comes fresh, packed in either a can or a pouch. When you try palmini, it’s important to drain and rinse the noodles well before you add sauce and eat them. Rinsing the hearts of palm noodles changes the taste and texture, and the result is a  taste that more closely resembles traditional pasta.

One serving of Palmini has 4 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and just 20 calories. It’s a unique and interesting alternative to pasta for when you want to limit your carbohydrate intake.

Best High-Protein: Modern Table Complete Protein Lentil Pasta

Modern Table Complete Protein Lentil Pasta

Legumes are one of the best foods to eat for plant-based protein. Modern Table's Complete Protein Pasta makes for delicious protein-powered pasta, made with both lentil and pea protein powder.

This gluten-free pasta has 11 grams of protein per 2-ounce serving. What sets it apart from other legume-based options is that it's considered a complete protein, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids. This pasta is also a good source of fiber, with 3 grams per 2-ounce serving.

You can purchase Modern Table Complete Protein Lentil Pasta in different shapes like rotini, elbows, and spirals. It’s certified gluten-free and non-GMO Project verified.

Best Mac and Cheese: Banza Chickpea Mac and Cheese

Banza Chickpea Mac and Cheese

Boxed mac and cheese is the ultimate nostalgic comfort food, and now you can have it gluten-free! Banza Mac and Cheese is tasty and easy to make, just like those of your favorite childhood brands.

Banza is one of the leaders in gluten-free pasta, making many pasta shape varieties from chickpeas. One serving of their prepared mac and cheese packs 20 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber.  It looks and cooks up like regular boxed mac and cheese, so you have a quick and easy meal option with this in your pantry.

Banza Mac and Cheese comes in a variety of shapes and flavors—elbows, shells, classic cheddar, and white cheddar—and is non-GMO.

Best Frozen Fresh Pasta: Cappello’s Almond Flour Fettuccine

Cappello’s Almond Flour Fettuccine

When you have a preference for fresh pasta instead of dried, try Cappello’s Gluten-Free Fettuccine. Find their fresh almond flour pasta in the frozen section next time you’re grocery shopping, and you won’t be disappointed.

In addition to being gluten-free, Cappello’s Fettuccine is also grain-, soy-, and dairy-free, non-GMO, and paleo-friendly. It’s made with just a handful of simple ingredients like almond flour and eggs. A ¾ cup serving has 1 gram of fiber and 5 grams of protein.

This pasta is incredibly quick to prepare—just pop it in boiling water for 1 minute and 45 seconds. Top it with your favorite gluten-free sauces for a satisfying and easy meal.

Final Verdict

ZENB Yellow Pea Penne Pasta (view at ZENB) is the best of both worlds because it tastes great and packs a nutritional punch. The noodles cook up perfectly al dente like traditional wheat pasta, and you reap the benefits of a protein and fiber boost in your pasta dinners.

What to Look for in Gluten-Free Pasta

Base Ingredient

Since there are all sorts of ingredients used to make gluten-free pasta, make a note of what the base ingredient(s) are. If you’re allergic or intolerant to other foods besides gluten, carefully read the ingredients list to make sure your pasta is free of allergens. Depending on your dietary preferences, you may want a pasta with more protein and fiber, such as the bean- and legume-based products.

Shape and Texture

It’s important to choose the best shape and texture of gluten-free pasta depending on how you are going to use it. Some gluten-free pasta shapes, such as penne and ziti, are better suited for thick, chunky sauces. Others, like spaghetti, are best for thinner and creamy sauces and pestos.

FAQs

Is gluten-free pasta healthy?

The nutritional value of gluten-free pasta varies greatly and depends on what the base ingredient is. Some gluten-free pasta options are quite nutrient-dense, such as the ones made from beans and legumes. These varieties are usually an excellent source of fiber and protein.

Gluten-free pastas that are made from starchy base ingredients tend to be lower in protein and fiber than regular wheat pasta, and can be higher in carbohydrates. 

Depending on your dietary preferences, be sure to read the ingredients list and nutrition facts panel to help you choose the best gluten-free pasta for you. Plus, it’s always a good idea to add low calorie, high fiber vegetables to any type of pasta for added nutrition!

Do you need to rinse gluten-free pasta after boiling?

Most gluten-free pastas shouldn’t be rinsed after boiling, similar to regular wheat pasta. When you rinse pasta, the water flushes away the starches that were released during cooking. These starches are important as they allow pasta sauce to stick properly. However, some varieties are better rinsed, so be sure to check the box for cooking instructions.

If you are making hearts of palm pasta, we recommend rinsing and draining these low-carb noodles before cooking with them. This prep step helps the noodles lose some of their hearts of palm flavor and makes them taste and feel more like regular pasta.

What Experts Say

For anyone who has a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, gluten-free pasta offers a convenient option for mealtime. I’m a big believer in promoting a plant-based diet, and gluten-free pastas that are made with beans or legumes help people get more pulses in their diet. Plus, the new 2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend eating pulses, aka chickpeas, beans and lentils, at least 1-3 times per week. — Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, founder of Greenletes 

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Alex Aldeborgh is a Registered Dietitian with experience in counseling clients with celiac disease and gluten-free diets. She has also personally tried many gluten-free pastas in her own cooking and recipe development for her blog. She would happily purchase and eat any of the gluten-free pastas on this list and recommend them to family, friends, and clients. 

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5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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