Taste panel gives gluten-free pasta good marks
While it may be popular to avoid gluten these days, it's a requirement for those with celiac disease or gluten allergies. When name-brand pastamakers started rolling out gluten-free options, we knew it was time to see how they tasted. Gluten is the protein mixture that provides the elasticity in foods, mainly breads and grains. Local grocery stores are beginning to offer more options for gluten-sensitive consumers, including the seven brands of pasta we found. The noodles were made from ingredients including corn, brown rice and quinoa. A couple of the brands could fool even the pickiest eaters and likely will put a smile on the faces of pasta lovers on gluten-restrictive diets.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
© 2013 Tampa Bay Times
(out of 100)
Blend Penne 76
Corn & Rice
|One judge described these as "little smoke stacks" that had a pleasant "chewy" factor. The penne noodles were sturdy, but not overly so. "They would be great with sausage and tomato sauce," said one judge. While the plain pasta was bland, judges had no problem figuring ways to make it into a delicious meal. "With a hint of olive oil and fresh basil, this would be yummy," said one. "I wouldn't miss gluten if I had to eat this," said another.||This pasta was a bit more tender, but would still support a hearty sauce. Judges liked the taste, saying it was mild in graininess with a "very approachable nutty flavor." A couple said they couldn't tell the difference between this and the regular penne pasta they cook at home. "If you can get past the blandness of a lot of these brands, you can make a great meal," said one.||"This seems like the real thing," said one judge of the Heartland pasta. Judges appreciated the sturdiness of the pasta as well as the mild flavor. Like the Jovial brand, panelists said these noodles had a slight nutty flavor. "It has a nice texture and a taste that isn't bad," said one. "I think kids would like this because of its consistency and because it doesn't have any kind of aftertaste," said another. "Bring on the Parmesan cheese."|
|All four judges said yes.||Three of the four judges said yes.||Three of the four judges said yes.|
|Shopping information||$1.39 for an 8-ounce package from Publix.||$4.59 for a 12-ounce package from the Fresh Market.||$2.69 for a 12-ounce package from Sweetbay.|
Ancient Harvest Quinoa Corn-Quinoa Blend Elbows ($3.89 for 8 ounces from Sweetbay, 24 points); Sam Mills Corn Pasta Elbows ($1.84 for 16 ounces from Walmart, 26 points); Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Spirals ($2.82 for 16 ounces from Walmart, 22 points); and Hodgson Mill Penne Brown Rice Pasta ($2.64 for 8 ounces from Walmart, 28 points).
Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Wayne Conery, manager of the R-Bar on Treasure Island; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. All pastas were tasted blind.
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|Serving size||5 ounces (dry)||5 ounces (dry)||5 ounces (dry)|
|Fat/Fiber||1g / 1g||2g / 2g||1g / 1g|
|Sugars/Sodium||0g / 0mg||0g / 0mg||0g / 0mg|
|Carbs/Protein||45g / 3g||43g / 5g||45g / 3g|