I’ve Tried a Lot of Gluten-Free Pasta — Now, This Is the Only One I’ll Buy

updated May 1, 2019
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When you make the transition to gluten-free eating — whether for health reasons or preference — the first thing you’ll notice is that some of the store-bought foods meant to stand in for their gluten-filled counterparts don’t quite live up to your expectations.

I’ve had my fair share of gummy bread and cardboard-like pizza over the years — enough that I’d essentially written off ever finding ones I actually like — but pasta was the one food I refused to give up on. I mean, is there anything more comforting than spaghetti with butter and Parmesan? Or more crowd-pleasing than a cold macaroni salad in the summertime? Absolutely not.

So after trying dozens of brands and blends (corn/quinoa, rice/potato/corn, etc.), I finally found my one true gluten-free pasta love.

(Image credit: Jovial)

Buy: Jovial Organic Brown Rice Penne Rigate, $4 for 12 ounces at Jet

Jovial’s gluten-free brown rice pasta is hands-down the best you can buy. Made with only organic brown rice flour and water, it’s “pressed with bronze dies and slow dried for superior quality,” according to Jovial’s website. It comes in all sorts of fun shapes — fettuccine, spaghetti, capellini, caserecce, shells, elbows, fusilli, manicotti, farfalle, lasagna sheets, tagliatelle (contains eggs) — but I’m especially partial to the penne rigate, which, with its little ridges and tubular shape, is the ideal vessel for sauce.

But let’s get to what really matters here: the taste and texture. The flavor is nice and neutral, with a subtle hint of nuttiness from the brown rice, while the texture leans more firm (in that perfectly al dente way) than gummy.

Fun fact: Jovial also made our top 100 list of grocery essentials in our Kitchn 100 program.

When I first started making this, my husband didn’t know the pasta was gluten-free; later when I mentioned it was, he remarked in genuine surprise that it both tasted and behaved just like the regular stuff. I’ve since served it to friends and family, and I never feel like I have to give a “this is gluten-free pasta, by the way” disclaimer before I set it down on the table. I’m confident that no one will be distracted by an off flavor or texture, and can instead enjoy the delicious bowl of pasta in front of them.

Have you tried this pasta before? Do you have another favorite gluten-free pick? Share in the comments!