I had given up on pasta. Since that initial diagnosis of gluten and soy sensitivity, I’ve tried every organic gluten free, soy free pasta available at my local markets and the results were so dismal that I finally threw up my hands and said, “Pasta is just out.”
Don’t ever doubt that miracles do happen, because I’ve surely experienced one this week, sitting down with low hopes to a dish of a gluten free pasta brand that just debuted at my local natural foods store.
The pasta is greyish out of the box, and I was surprised to see it turn so pale once cooked. Looks almost like…well, pasta. I take a bite. Gosh, it isn’t grainy. I take two, three bites. Where’s the weird aftertaste? I don’t taste one. Hey, this tastes kind of good. Twirl, twirl, munch, munch. Hey…with my sauce…this tastes really pretty good! I’ll be darned. I’m eating pasta!
|I won’t keep you in suspense. My miraculous discovery, the totally passable organic gluten free pasta brand, is called Jovial and I’m definitely feeling pretty jolly about it. Jovial pasta is made of organic brown rice flour and water. It’s not only certified gluten free, but it’s vegan, it’s kosher and, in a single twirl, it’s blown the competition away, away, away as far as I’m concerned.||
I have to wonder if the fact that this product is made in Italy has something to do with this pasta being as close to semolina/wheat pasta in texture and taste as any I’ve ever tried. Apparently, Jovial makes ‘regular’ pasta, too. They know what they are doing, clearly. I’ve got a fanciful picture in my mind of master Italian noodle makers tasting the products of the competition and shouting curses in dismay. What Jovial has done is to divine a recipe that avoids so many of the errors you’ll find in other brands, the errors that have likely turned many gluten free diners permanently off pasta. If this is you and you’re willing to give a plate of spaghetti one more try, I think you’re going to be very pleasantly surprised.
My Take On Other Gluten Free Pasta Brands
I, for one, didn’t ever want to try a rice-based pasta again after eating Tinkyada. Some people swear by it, but for me, the grainy texture was not palatable and the overall flavor reminded me of soap.
We gave Mrs. Leeper’s corn-based pasta several chances to win us over, but it was either like glue or like pick-up-sticks and the aftertaste was reminiscent of the plastic it’s packaged in. It wasn’t as bad as Tinkyada’s, but it wasn’t good enough for me to keep serving.
With a loving nod to the wonderful crops of South America, I was all ready to embrace the quinoa pasta produced by Ancient Harvest. But it tasted like fungus and cardboard, and I ate exactly three bites of it before pushing my plate away.
I’ve never tried the DeBoles pastas that I came across because they either weren’t organic or they contained an ingredient I’m allergic to. There was another brand that had eggs in it – not for vegans. I know there were others, but I don’t remember them and if I did, I feel I can safely forget the sensory mementos of their yucky tastes and textures now that I’ve found that happy brand: Jovial!
I realize this post sounds like I’ve been hired to do PR for this company. I give you my word, this is coming straight from my gleeful heart and happy stomach and I couldn’t wait to write this to share some very good news with pasta lovers who have had to part with something they love for lack of palatable options.
Is It As Good As Semolina Pasta?
Wish I could say yes, but I remember all too well the delight of freshly made wheat pasta and this definitely can’t compare. Fresh pasta is pretty much always going to be superior in every way to the dried product. Can Jovial’s gluten free pasta compare to a dried wheat-based pasta? If I could give a mathematical equation, I would say that this pasta is about 80% as good as a good dried wheat pasta. 80% is pretty amazing when I consider that if I applied this same equation to any other gf pasta I’d be saying it was about 0%-40% as good as wheat pasta. To put it another way, I’d call Jovial’s noodles at least twice as good as anybody else’s on the gluten free scene.
What Did We Make For Dinner Tonight?
The above photo, taken just moments ago, was of the two pastas I served for dinner…yes, I was excited enough to make two pastas. One is sauced with a fresh tomato puree loaded with sauteed crooknecks, spinach, mushrooms and herbs. The other is crowned with a quick pesto made of our spinach and parsley combined with pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Both dishes were very tasty – the pesto was particularly peppy. The pasta itself is the gluten free cappellini, wonderfully thin, limber and toothsome. I’ve got a box of fusilli in the pantry, too, and I am dreaming of pasta salad…
Frequent readers know that we keep packaged product spending to a very bare minimum here, but when you are raised on noodles, knowing you can’t ever have them again is quite sad. For all my efforts to make everything I possibly can from scratch, I have not been able to come to grips with homemade gluten free pasta and, for now, will have to leave that to whomever the genius was that put this on my plate. Nutritionally, pasta is not a powerhouse food and this brown rice-based pasta stacks up pretty equivalently with non-enriched wheat pasta. It’s got 5 grams of protein, 43 of carbohydrates and a little iron in it.
It’s not something I have ever eaten frequently, preferring to go for whole grains in their purest form most of the time. Good old organic long grain brown rice will continue to take pride of place in terms of what we buy at the store and serve in our home, and I can talk polenta with your mamma mia, but how nice it is to know that when I want to get out the red-checked tablecloth and have an Italian feast of summer vegetables and rich tomato-based sauces, the pasta will no longer be absent. In short, it’s a treat I’m really thankful for and I hope this news will brighten your week in the kitchen and at the table.
If you try Jovial gluten free pasta, I’d love to know if it’s hit you like a revelation as it has me. Disagree? Ready to defend another gluten free pasta brand with all your heart? Your comments, and stories of your struggles with nice and nasty noodles, are welcome, too!
Get 100+ fantastic vegan, gluten free, soy free recipes all in one place in The Vegan Reader Cookbook, all for the affordable cost of $9.95. Get this downloadable cookbook today and gain the skills you need to make staples like rice and almond milk, vegan cheese and gluten free breads from scratch, and so much more! Save money and eat better than you ever have in your life. This cookbook is based on 20 years of vegan cooking on our family farm! We’re sharing our best recipes with you, in one easy, affordable, downloadable book. Read More!