Which is the healthiest gluten-free pasta?

Gluten-free diets are becoming increasingly popular, even among people who do not have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. Some choose to go gluten-free for perceived health benefits, while others simply prefer the taste and texture of gluten-free grains. Whatever the reason, finding healthy gluten-free pasta options is important for maintaining a balanced diet. But with so many varieties on the market, how do you know which one is the healthiest choice?

What makes gluten-free pasta healthy?

When evaluating the healthiness of gluten-free pasta, there are a few key factors to consider:


Ideally, gluten-free pasta should be made from whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat or corn. These provide more nutrients like fiber, protein and healthy fats compared to refined, white grain flours. The fewer ingredients, the better. Opt for brands with just one or two whole food ingredients.

Processing method

Gluten-free pasta made using traditional artisanal techniques like extrusion or bronze die cutting tend to better preserve nutrients compared to mass-produced varieties. Handmade styles are pressed through perforated dies that maintain the pasta’s texture.

Nutritional profile

When comparing nutrition labels, look for gluten-free pasta higher in fiber and protein with lower net carbs. More fiber improves digestion and heart health. Amino acids from plant-based proteins support muscle growth and healthy aging.


Choose certified organic pasta when possible to avoid pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, and GMOs.


Trusted third-party certifications like Certified Gluten-Free, Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Certified Vegan labels help verify quality standards.

Factors affecting gluten-free pasta healthiness

Added sugars

Some gluten-free pasta contains added sugars to improve the flavor and texture. Added sugars from cane syrup, brown rice syrup, or corn syrup can increase calorie count without adding any nutritional value.


Xanthan gum, guar gum, and other stabilizers are commonly added to gluten-free pasta to mimic the chewy texture of traditional wheat pasta. They allow the pasta to hold its shape when cooked. While generally recognized as safe, some people find gums and stabilizers hard to digest. Opting for pasta with just single-ingredient whole grains avoids unnecessary additives.


Many mass-produced gluten-free pasta varieties are enriched with vitamins and minerals like folic acid, niacin, and iron. While enrichments replace some nutrients lost in processing, getting vitamins naturally from whole foods is preferable.

Cooking method

The cooking instructions impact the glycemic index of pasta. Undercooked pasta with a firm, al dente texture has a lower GI. Fully cooked, mushy pasta causes a sharper spike in blood sugar. Prepare gluten-free pasta al dente to reduce its impact on blood sugar.

Top 6 healthiest gluten-free pasta brands

Based on nutritional content, ingredients, and manufacturing process, here are 6 top brands for healthy gluten-free pasta:

1. Jovial Foods Organic Gluten Free Pasta

– Made from organic brown rice flour and organic rice flour
– Cooked in artisanal tradition using bronze dies
– Non-GMO, Kosher, and Certified Gluten-Free
– 7g protein and 3g fiber per 2 oz serving
– No gums or stabilizers

2. Barilla Gluten Free Pasta

– Uses corn and rice flour
– Higher protein at 10g per 2 oz serving
– Non-GMO Project Verified
– Lower net carbs compared to traditional pasta
– Includes egg white for protein

3. Banza Chickpea Pasta

– Main ingredient is chickpeas
– 25g protein and 10g fiber per serving
– Certified Gluten-Free
– 2g net carbs per serving
– No gums or stabilizers

4. Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta

– Made from organic quinoa flour
– 6g protein and 3g fiber per 2 oz serving
– Non-GMO Project Verified
– Certified Kosher and Vegan

5. Tinkyada Pasta Joy Organic Brown Rice Pasta

– Organic whole grain brown rice flour
– 5g protein and 2g fiber per 2 oz serving
– Kosher, non-GMO, vegan
– Uses triple extrusion for texture
– No additives or preservatives

6. Liviva Organic Red Lentil Rotini

– Made from one ingredient: organic red lentil flour
– 18g protein and 10g fiber per serving
– Certified USDA Organic
– Vegan and non-GMO
– Rich amino acid profile

What to look for when buying gluten-free pasta

Follow these simple tips when shopping for the healthiest gluten-free pasta:

Check the ingredients list

Ideally, pasta should contain just one or two whole food ingredients like brown rice, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, buckwheat, or corn. Avoid additives and unnecessary enrichments.

Compare nutrition facts

Higher protein and fiber with lower net carbs is ideal. Watch out for hidden sugars boosting carbs without nutritional benefit.

Look for trusted labels

Labels like Certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Organic, and Certified Vegan verify quality standards.

Stick to whole grains

Whole grain gluten-free flours like brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa have more fiber and nutrients vs. refined grains.

Know your serving size

Pay attention to serving sizes, which are generally smaller for gluten-free pasta. Adjust portion sizes accordingly.

Health benefits of gluten-free pasta

Switching to gluten-free pasta offers several potential wellness advantages:

Improved digestion

Gluten-free pasta is easier to digest and less inflammatory for those sensitive to gluten proteins found in wheat.

Blood sugar control

Beans, lentils, quinoa, and chickpeas used in gluten-free pasta have a lower glycemic index, keeping blood sugar levels more stable.

Higher protein

Chickpea, lentil, edamame, or pea-based gluten-free pasta can provide 15-25g protein per serving.

More nutrients

Gluten-free whole grains like brown rice, buckwheat, and amaranth supply important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Heart health support

The fiber in gluten-free pasta can lower LDL cholesterol and improve cardiovascular wellness.

Increased energy

Complex carbohydrates from gluten-free grains provide steady energy levels rather than spikes and crashes.

Potential downsides of gluten-free pasta

However, there are some potential disadvantages to keep in mind when incorporating gluten-free pasta:

Lower fiber in refined grains

White rice flour pasta lacks the fiber benefits of whole grain varieties. Compare nutrition labels.

Less variety

There are fewer gluten-free pasta shapes and textures available compared to wheat pasta.

Contains traces of gluten

Despite being labeled gluten-free, pasta made on shared equipment may contain traces of gluten.

Higher glycemic index

Gluten-free pasta made from refined grains like white rice can spike blood sugar faster without fiber.

Higher sodium

Depending on ingredients used, some gluten-free pasta can be high in sodium. Limit intake if you have hypertension.

Grain allergies

Those with allergies to rice, corn, quinoa, or other gluten-free grains must avoid pasta made with those ingredients.

Micronutrient deficiencies

Heavy reliance on gluten-free pasta over vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins may lead to deficiencies in iron, folate, and other nutrients long-term. A balanced, varied diet is key.

Digestive issues with additives

Gums, stabilizers, and emulsifiers added to improve gluten-free pasta texture may cause gas, bloating, or diarrhea for sensitive individuals. Check labels carefully.

Higher cost

On average, gluten-free pasta costs over 200% more than regular wheat pasta, which may limit accessibility. Shop sales when possible.

Tips for cooking gluten-free pasta

Gluten-free pasta requires some special preparation and cooking techniques:

Use a large pot

Cook gluten-free pasta in a pot with at least 6 quarts capacity so it doesn’t stick together.

Add oils

Stirring in a bit of olive oil or avocado oil prevents gluten-free pasta from clumping.

Watch cooking time

Gluten-free pasta cooks faster, usually in 4 to 8 minutes. Test frequently to prevent mushiness.

Cook al dente

For better texture and lower GI, cook pasta until just slightly firm, not fully soft.

Rinse after cooking

Rinsing with cool water prevents sticking and washes away excess starches.

Avoid over-saucing

Too much sauce will make gluten-free pasta mushy. Use sparingly.

Preserve texture

Toss gluten-free pasta with sauce versus simmering directly in sauce to maintain structural integrity.

Monitor refrigeration

Store cooked gluten-free pasta in the refrigerator and eat within 3-5 days to prevent deterioration in texture.

With the right techniques and a few high quality pantry staples, preparing delicious and nutritious gluten-free pasta meals at home is easy. Experiment with different whole grain varieties to find your favorites that suit your health needs and taste preferences. Just be sure to continue to eat a balanced diet with plenty of diverse fruits, veggies, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. With so many options now available, there is a gluten-free pasta to please everyone!

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