Are all wasabi peas gluten free?

Quick Answer

Most wasabi peas are gluten free, but it’s important to check the ingredients list for wheat, barley, rye or oats, which are sources of gluten. Some wasabi peas may contain wheat flour or malt extract from barley, making them not gluten free. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, look for wasabi peas specifically labeled “gluten free” to ensure they don’t contain any gluten sources.

Ingredients in Wasabi Peas

The main ingredients in wasabi peas are:

  • Peas – Peas themselves do not contain gluten.
  • Rice flour – Rice flour is naturally gluten free.
  • Wasabi – Pure wasabi is gluten free, but some commercial wasabi contains wheat flour as a thickener.
  • Vegetable oil – Oils like canola, sunflower and soybean oil are gluten free.
  • Salt – Table salt is gluten free.
  • Flavorings – Gluten free flavors like onion, garlic and ginger are commonly used.

Potential sources of gluten that may be added include:

  • Wheat flour – Added to help peas stick to seasoning.
  • Malt extract or malt vinegar – Derived from barley.
  • Soy sauce – May contain wheat.
  • Teriyaki sauce – Often contains soy sauce.

Cross-Contamination Risk

Even if the ingredients look gluten free, there is a chance of cross-contamination at the factory if gluten sources are used on the same equipment. Some brands test their finished products to ensure no traces of gluten. Look for a “gluten free” claim and certification by organizations like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).

Reading the Ingredients List

To identify possible gluten sources, read the full ingredients list on the package. Watch out for terms like:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Malt
  • Oats (unless certified gluten free)
  • Soy sauce
  • Teriyaki

Call or email the manufacturer if you see any ambiguous ingredients that could contain gluten.

Gluten Free Brands

Here are some brands that offer gluten free wasabi peas:

  • Blue Diamond Nut Thins – Roasted Wasabi Soy Sauce flavor
  • World Peas – Wasabi peas
  • Bantam Bagels – Wasabi Pea Crunch snack
  • Snack Factory – Pretzel Crisps Wasabi & Soy Sauce flavor
  • Wildfish Snacks – Organic Wasabi Edamame Soybeans

Always verify that the specific product you are buying is labeled gluten free, as ingredients can change. Some brands also make gluten-containing flavors.

Making Your Own Gluten Free Wasabi Peas

You can make your own gluten free wasabi peas at home with:

  • Dried green peas
  • Rice flour
  • Wasabi powder
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil

Simply toss the peas in the rice flour, wasabi powder and salt, then bake until crispy. This ensures no hidden gluten sources. You can experiment with gluten free soy sauce or other flavorings.

Precautions for Celiac Disease

People with celiac disease need to take extra care to avoid even small amounts of gluten:

  • Use dedicated gluten free facilities – Some brands produce gluten free items on shared lines.
  • Limit cross-contact – Wash hands and surfaces after handling regular wasabi peas.
  • Check medications – Prescription drugs may contain gluten as inactive ingredients.

Consuming gluten can damage the small intestine and cause symptoms like diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain in those with celiac disease.

Gluten Sensitivity

People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also react to small amounts of gluten. Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Depression
  • Skin rashes
  • Cognitive dysfunction

So those with gluten sensitivity should also take care to choose gluten free wasabi peas and avoid cross-contact.

Bottom Line

Many popular wasabi peas are gluten free, but some contain gluten sources like wheat flour or malt extract. Read ingredients lists carefully and look for a “gluten free” label for assurance. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use extra caution to avoid even traces of gluten when choosing snacks. Making your own gluten free wasabi peas is the safest option.

Brand Gluten Free? Key Gluten Ingredients
Blue Diamond Nut Thins Yes None
World Peas Yes None
Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Yes* None *check label
Trader Joe’s No Wheat flour
Specially Selected No Malt extract

The Bottom Line

Checking ingredients lists carefully and looking for “gluten free” labels is the best way to find gluten free wasabi peas. Many popular brands offer gluten free flavors, but some wasabi peas contain hidden gluten from ingredients like wheat flour or malt extract. Making your own at home with peas, rice flour and wasabi powder ensures no cross-contamination. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should take extra precautions when choosing snacks to avoid reactions. Overall, there are many great gluten free options for enjoying the unique flavor of wasabi peas.

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