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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Jovial Foods

Gluten-Free Pasta Victory

Dr. Gourmet Reviews Jovial Foods Gluten-Free Lasagna PastaIt's been about five and half years now since I was forced to stop eating any foods containing gluten. It hasn't been all that big a deal, but I am good in the kitchen and learned what did and didn't work pretty quickly. Pizza is probably the only thing left that is really difficult for me (both making my own dough and going out for pizza). There are so many good bread products on the market now, and even travel is getting easier with more places having gluten free breads.

The pastas have not been quite as good, but I keep trying different products without great success. Most of the rice and brown rice pastas are terrible. They shatter if cooked too long and there is such a narrow point of doneness that one second they are undercooked and the next moment all you have is a pot full of pasta bits. Quinoa pastas are generally reliable and easier to cook (about the only pasta I use often is Ancient Harvest linguine and penne). Most quinoa products are, however, inconsistent, with firmer pastas being better but shapes like fusilli and shells coming apart in the boiling water.

I spied two gluten free pasta shapes that I almost never see - lasagna and egg noodles. In five years we have tested a few of the former, but never the latter. The lasagna noodles have been the worst of all the pasta choices so I was not hopeful when I pulled the Jovial brand off of the shelf at Whole Foods. The numbers looked good, with 2 grams of fiber in a 2 ounce serving. There are more calories in gluten free pastas by about 1/3, but that is simply par for the course. The tag line of "inherently good" was offensive, but what the heck?

Jovial Foods lasagna breaks up in the packageThis is an amazing pasta (not sure that it is inherently good but someone made it good). Plain and simple it delivers on every count. I made lasagna twice and the taste and texture are spot on. The pasta did not shatter after over an hour baking in the oven with tomato sauce, eggplant and cheese. It was chewy without being tough and had a nice, slightly nutty flavor. The noodles even held up well to leftovers, and reheating the lasagna in the microwave turned out quite well.

The packaging is inherently bad, however. The noodles come in a box that is less than tightly packed so the noodles were mostly in pieces (see picture above). It's a shame that a company so smart in the kitchen is so dumb in the packing department.

Dr. Gourmet Reviews Jovial Foods' Tagliatelle Gluten-Free PastaThe tagliatelle egg noodles are equally good, but the packaging is much better. They come wound loosely in nests, making them pretty easy to portion out for dinner. They take a little longer to cook in boiling water than most rice pastas, but they hold up well and will be perfect for your next bowl of chicken noodle soup.

I am heading back to the store for more of their pasta and to see how well their fusilli holds up (the real test of a good pasta dough).

You can order their products online here:

And here are a few great recipes for you to use the pasta in:

Vegetarian Lasagna
Lasagna with Eggplant
Chicken Noodle Soup

Update, 10/16/14: We just tested their penne pasta in our Root Vegetable Pasta recipe (picture on the recipe page) and found the penne to be excellent as well. Cooks up with great texture, reheats well, even freezes well (as does the lasagna noodles.

First posted: October 10, 2014