Catalyst Cooks

Make. Food. Happen!

The Gluten Free, Vegan Pasta Experiment May 23, 2010

Here at Catalyst Cooks, it’s the beginning of Pasta Week! 
(although I reserve the right to diverge from the topic… big cooking week ahead!)

I have been doing some research to prepare for the food strategy at Parley Lake Winery this summer.  I am investigating the possibility of making gluten-free, vegan pasta salads, to make sure that celiacs or gluten-intolerants have something good to choose for their winery picnic.  So I did some research on the internet to find gluten-free pasta recipes.

I got pretty frustrated with the recipes I found- when I searched on rice or garbanzo flour, most recipes included some wheat flour.  When I searched on gluten-free, most recipes included egg.  When I searched for Vegan, the recipes were not gluten-free.   So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

The three flours I used to make pasta: Garbanzo/Fava on the left (gluten free), Semolina in the middle (what the Italians use; has gluten) and Rice Flour on the right (gluten-free).

I got out my special flour collection… I’ve learned that rice flour, if stored properly, can last almost indefinitely.  However, Garbanzo flour should be stored in the freezer and then it will last a year.  I got a lot of good information on this topic from the Perfect Pantry.

I decided to experiment with the simplest of ingredients for the pasta: 3 parts flour and (roughly) one part water. 

Rice Flour Pasta dough coming together

I dumped the flour on the table in a mound, and made a well.  I gradually added the water into the well and used my finger to turn the water in the center of the well to slowly integrate the flour.  

As the simple dough came together, I began to knead it and add more water or flour as needed so that it became a solid ball.

Knead 10-15 minutes or until the flour has been completely integrated and the dough is dry.

I continued to knead until the dough was pliable yet dry to the touch, and added olive oil toward the end of the kneading process. 

I found that the rice flour required just a little oil; and the garbanzo flour needed quite a bit- it was a very gummy dough and the olive oil reduced that gummy texture.

The next step in the process is to roll the dough into tubes, to make orecchiette (which I think is the easiest shape to make and doesn’t require any special tools).  The important part of this process is for the size of the tube to be uniform, in order to get uniformly shaped pasta at the end.

After the tube was rolled out, I cut uniform sections with a dull knife.

After the tubes are formed, I cut them into uniform sections (a finger length will result in about an inch-wide piece of pasta, smaller will be smaller.)

Garbanzo Flour tubes cut into sections

Next, I squeezed them into small discs.

Rice Flour Gluten Free Pasta

Garbanzo Gluten-Free Pasta (raw)

Because this pasta does not have egg or dairy products in it, it can be stored once it is fully dried (on a drying rack) to be boiled later.  However, it can also be cooked right away! 

If you cook your pasta right away, it doesn’t take very long- boil it only until it rises to the top of the pot.

This pasta's done boiling!

Then you get to eat it!

Cooked Vegan, Gluten-free Garbanzo pasta- ready for sauce and eating!

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5 Responses to “The Gluten Free, Vegan Pasta Experiment”

  1. DebZ Says:

    AWESOME!!! You really cook!

  2. Lloyd Nace Says:

    Maybe you heard a recent article on NPR about how young people are cooking more for themselves rather than eating out. Both economics and concern about food quality seem to be the drivers. You seem to be right on the trend, you “edge-of-enveloper” you. Great to see you exploring the Veggie side of the world as well!
    Lloyd Nace

  3. Teri L. Says:

    Wow, Jenny! That is exciting – There are a couple tricks cooking gluten free, but sounds like you have the noodles mastered. I would love to be closer for a sample. You are doing great things, keep it up! I live for healthy food and someone trying to accomodate me dietary needs is amazing! Teri

    • Jen Antila Says:

      Awesome! Thank you!
      Also- for the winery this summer, I’d like to offer some sort of cured meat (like a small salami) for the picnic lunches… let’s talk!

  4. Jennifer Says:

    This a great post. My partner got me a pasta maker for my birthday so I can make my own gf pasta. I’m a LONG time vegan and only recently found out I have Celiac disease, so this transition has had a steep learning curve. I’m finding gf recipes and vegan recipes and very few overlap.

    Do you think gf (or any) pasta could be mixed in a stand mixer before feeding into a pasta machine? I can’t do a lot of kneading by hand or standing so I was hoping to automate the process a little bit and I’m too frustrated by recent failures to experiment yet 🙂


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