Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gluten Free Products

There are a lot of gluten-free products out there now. After trying quite a few, I thought it might be helpful to those just starting out on a gluten-free diet to list brands which I think are worth eating or avoiding.

Schar and Archer Farms
Consistency and texture are usually my biggest issues with gluten-free pastas. I honestly think that if you swapped these out with real pasta, most people couldn't tell the difference. Tastes great and has the same bite as pasta does. Made with rice and corn flour.

DeBoles: This is also made with rice and corn flour, but the texture is very gritty/grainy, similar to whole wheat pasta. It's not intolerable but doesn't feel like pasta.

Least Favorite:  
Tofu Shirataki: The smell alone is enough to turn you off. It's made from the "root of the Konnyaku - a member of the yam family and tofu." This is usually found in the fridge section of the supermarket, because much like tofu, it has water packaged with it. It smells horrible and has a really rubbery texture. I could only handle a few bites before throwing it out.

Quinoa Pasta: Very chewy, rubbery texture. I threw most of this out as well.

Obviously,  you can stick with potato/corn based chips. But if you love pita chips and saltines as much as I do, you need alternatives.

FoodShouldTasteGood. I loved this brand even before I started gluten free, so it's a nice perk that I can still eat it. Their chips have great flavors, my favorite of which are Multigrain and Olive.

Riceworks: These are dense chips made from whole grain rice. Great taste, great cruchiness

Veggie Chips: There are a lot of brands of these so it's hard to narrow it down. They're easily identifiable by their tri-colored chips (off-white, orange and green). The flavors are fairly subtle, mostly just salty, which is what I tend to look for in a chip.

Least Favorites:
Glutino crackers: Texture reminds me of a stale cracker

Natural Nectar Cracklebread: It's like eating salty, flaky, airy crust.


BAKING PRODUCTS: It's tricky rating gluten-free flours because it really depends on what you use it for. For example, coconut or almond flour may be great in a cookie recipe, but not so good in a crumble or cake recipe. I've heard that Cup 4 Cup flour, created by Thomas Keller, is the best one out there right now, but haven't had a chance to try it because it's quite pricey ($20 for 3lbs) and is only available at a few places, like Williams-Sonoma.

Gluten Free Bisquick: I made drop biscuits with these, not pancakes, so my rating is only based on that test. The results were more cake-like than biscuit, both in texture and taste. Perfectly edible as long as you're not expecting a traditional biscuit.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust: (I made pizza and foccacia with this) This comes with its own yeast packet. Rise time is very short. I wasn't a huge fan of the consistency or the flavor, but it's definitely edible.

I'd love to hear opinions of other products which I may not have had a chance to try yet, so feel free to post other brands you'd recommend!

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