When you remove gluten from your diet, the first few weeks can be pretty stressful as you go through the stages of grieving what was likely the staple of your diet (even though maybe you didn’t realise it!). You will go to make dinner and do a little freak out as you realise all the meals you know how to make, you can’t have any more!
Well heres my super secret tip to making good gluten-free food: find healthy replacements for the foods you used to love. It’s all about making healthy swaps and upgrading your diet. There is always a way around food allergies and intolerances, and as you’ll see by looking around the recipes here on The Vedge, thats the theme of most of my recipes – creating healthier versions of traditional foods.
For me, pasta was a regular on my plate. Italian is tied with mexican for my favourite cuisine, and I loved making veggie pasta and ate giant bowl-fulls at a time.
When I found out I had celiac and had to get rid of pasta, I was at a bit of a loss for a while as to what I could replace it with. I tried a few gluten-free pastas from the supermarket, but they were gluey and weird tasting – they tasted like they were gluten-free. So I gave up for a long time, then I started buying this organic rice + quinoa pasta from the health food shop – it was perfect! I could eat my beloved pasta again. And then I found out I couldn’t eat grains any more. Boo. So the search went on. I’ve tried ’em all, and now heres my tried-and-tested gluten-free pasta guide for you.
1. Spaghetti, Fettuccini, Macaroni or Penne: Rice + Quinoa pasta substitutes
This is the best tasting combination for gf pasta that I have found. As long as you can tolerate grains, this is the one I’d be eating. That said, I think people with celiac should be careful with consuming grains, particularly for 6 – 12 months after diagnosis, as with some people they can cause a gluten-type immune response in the body – this is the case for me and I no longer eat rice or quinoa. This is especially true if you have removed gluten from your diet but aren’t getting better. One day I will try them again!
2. Spaghetti, Linguine, Ribbons: Zucchini, Squash or other veggie noodles
Okay, let’s be real: zucchini noodles taste nothing like real pasta. But if you’re a real veggie lover, then you’ll be able to appreciate these for what they are. I like yellow squash noodles better than zucchini. Carrot noodles are also great and have a little more crunch – or you can try steaming them for a few minutes. Sweet potato noodles are also supposed to be good with a little maple syrup but I haven’t tried it yet. For spaghetti or ribbons, use a spiralizer like this. For ribbons, you could use a vegetable peeler. For linguine, thinly slice the zucchini lengthways, then slice into to create long strips.
3. Rice Noodles: Kelp Noodles
Made just from sea vegetables, kelp noodles are best as a substitute for rice noodles in things like soups, wraps, peanut noodles etc. Buy here.
4. Mung Bean Noodles
Bean noodles are a recent discovery for me. I’ve been avoiding trying them for awhile, but then one day I thought ‘why the hell not’. I’m glad I did because they are not too bad at all! They don’t taste like gluten pasta, but they have a nice texture and hold up when topped sauce and parmesan.
5. Lasagna Sheets or cannelloni: Sliced Eggplant or Zucchini
For an idea on how I do this, check out my Eggplant Lasagna recipe. Basically you slice the eggplant, then bake or cook on a pan until soft and use as normal lasagna sheets.
Here are some recipes to use with your pasta!