Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gluten Free Reviews: Pasta, Mac and Cheese, and Pretzels

Some of you all know that I've been gluten free for about a year now. I have fructose malapsorption, which means I don't have the enzymes required to break down fructose. It's a little like lactose intolerance, if only in some of the ways it effects digestion (both result from a lack of enzymes) and in some of the symptoms. I'm open to questions (you can email me at welcomingspirit [at] gmail [dot] com or ask them in the comments area), but of course I'm no doctor and can only really speak from personal experience.

One of the hardest things for me in giving up gluten was that I had been a bonified pasta addict. I'm talking eating pasta several times a week. I went cold turkey when I cut out gluten, and for the first few weeks ate a lot of rice and meats. And corn based products.

Product: bionaturae Organic Gluten Free Pastas
A big step to returning to my pasta-devouring ways was made when a colleague who's daughter has Celiac introduced me to the bionaturae line of pastas. She said that of the products her family had tried, their pastas held their form the best, and had a great texture. I totally understood what she meant, many gluten free pastas fall apart and have slimy feel to them. Gluten acts as a bonding agent, so it made a lot of sense. I completely recommend the bionaturae line - my favorite is the fusilli.
Found at: Whole Foods, Amazon.com, specialty stores
Price: about $5.50 a bag at Whole Foods, bulk at Amazon gets closer to $3.50 a bag

Product: Glutino's Gluten Free Pretzels
I went on a shopping spree at Whole Foods having heard that they have a really great selection of gluten free foods, and that they clearly label their gluten free products. I took a chance on the Glutino pretzels. First thing I did when I got to my car was rip open the bag and try one of the Pretzel Twists (in the red bag). I'm not going to lie. I literally had tears of joy in my eyes after I tasted it. They totally nailed the pretzel taste and texture, and even had the buttery undertones that are in really good pretzels. I prefer the Twists over the other kinds I've tired.
Found at: Whole Foods, Target, Specialty stores
Price: Big bag, around $8. Smaller bag, I think $3.50

Product: Annie's Rice Pasta and Chedder (aka Mac and Cheese)
I've been a long time fan of Annie's products - homegrown, organic, cute bunny on the package. So, I was delighted to find they'd made a gluten free mac and cheese, and even more delighted that I found it at my local Target!! The taste is good, true to the Kraft flavor, and is made about the same way - cook the pasta, and add a packet of cheesey stuff with milk to the cooked pasta. I don't know if gluten eating people will like it as much as I did, my boyfriend reported that it was not the same. Meh, I'm not trying the Kraft variety to run a taste test ;-)
Found at: Target, Amazon.com
Price: about $1.85 a box at Target, $2.18 a box in bulk at Amazon (you have to buy 12)

Those are a few of the gluten free highlights from my past few months of experimenting. I've got some decent dinner rolls I need to review (threw out the package), and some other items that have been exceptional.

Do you have any gluten free favorites?

5 comments:

Annie's said...

Glad you enjoyed the mac & cheese. We have a new gluten-free mac & cheese that will be available soon as well as some new gluten free bunny cookies! http://www.annies.com/glutenfree

Paula said...

Wow, how nice of the folks at Annie's to stop by! Thanks for the link :)

pimpologyk said...

I recently came across this website that had a mac and cheese recipe that was decent.

http://www.egluten.com/

Does anyone have any decent gluten free apple pie recipes?

greenspell said...

Visiting from Lady Bloggers, and of course, I gravitated toward a food post! ;) Yum.

rita said...

I had a gluten free pizza at a restaurant in WI and it was wonderful. I asked who made the crust and they said French Meadow Bakery. It's so good even my husband and son are eating it and can't telll the difference from a regular pizza. I give it a 10!